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“I am sorry we are letting you go” – The Post Redundancy Plan

Mobbing-Dooder-Shutterstock.com_Imagine the scene, you are sitting in a room with your line manager, a representative from H.R. and perhaps a member of your trade union. You know what is about to happen and then its does……..“I am sorry we are letting you go”. You may be feeing numb, crushed and sick to your stomach. Of course you may also be in denial. You may try to rationalise the events as necessary to finally get away from a toxic self obsessed line manager. These and many more emotions are what you feel after being “let go”.

Most of us will experience this issue at some point during our working life. In fact, most of us will experience redundancy, the dreaded sack or be a victim of “downsizing” up to three times in a working lifetime. So what do we do? How do we manage the psychological fallout from not being at work? How do we jump back on the horse and get back out there into a new and job or even a different career path?

Not at Work………I am on holiday……aren’t I?

The frame of reference for many people is that not at work = being on holiday = happy days! Initially there can be a sense of elation of “I am free”. For some the release and euphoria can seriously delay the need to update the career focus & employability. Older workers (an older worker is now 40+ by the way) who have been in a job for some time, may have a lot of ground to make up in terms of a CV, interview skills, etc. Just to bring them up to the minimum expectations of employers & recruiters.

So a couple of months pass and the CV has been updated and jobs applied for – but no replies or invitations to interviews. Generally an individual may get one interview per ten applications. So this process can erode an already flagging sense of motivation, self esteem, confidence and self worth. Sadly it is common for people who have been unemployed for 12 months or longer to show signs of moderate depression, anxiety and many other mental health issues.

Eating habits may change and focus on comfort carb rich foods to help manage the negative emotions of being jobless. Stress, anxiety and negative thoughts make it hard to get a good night’s sleep, resulting in fatigue and lethargy. Dame Carol Black (2008) highlights that being unemployed doubles a person’s chance of a major depressive episode and that unemployment. It is also sadly highly associated with domestic violence and alcohol abuse. Notwithstanding the increased risk of male suicide, often because of the link to depression. Therefore being out of work can be one of the most difficult, most devastating, debilitating and distressing experiences that people go through.

Get back on the horse

The good old plan and implement model for job searching, CV’s, covering letters etc is a great place to start. Now this plan or anything that I am  about to suggest is new. There is a good reason for that, as it works. Especially if you need to get your job searching on track quickly. If you have have more time then great but for most people with bills to pay this plan will help. Many if not all employability and outplacement services will use the same model. Therefore use the services if you have access to them, if not then hopefully you can make use of the post redundancy plan on offer here.

To set you off in the right frame of mind then getting back to your core skills, abilities, knowledge and experience is key. Find out the jobs that are available and start adapting the CV according or apply on-line to get yourself moving forward. However, be clear on what you are aiming at for work, little is gained by sending CV’s out willy nilly. You need to be targeted and have a clear sense of purpose.

All this is all well and good but you may still be feeling, well, pretty angry, depressed and thoroughly hacked off with life. In this event find someone to talk to. You might not be in the mood to talk to everyone about your situation of course. However speaking with a close friend or partner can help. Once you have had the opportunity to vent your spleen, it’s time to start writing. Write about what just happened to you, how you’re feeling, how does this impact your plans and what you might do going forward. Is this time to start a business, go self employed or change career?

The goal isn’t to come up with a definitive plan or even to write anything coherently. Rather, the goal is to capture the thoughts and emotions you are experiencing right now. Principally so you won’t replay them and ruminate over and over in your mind.

The chance to rebalance your thinking about what has happened may take a few days, so just give yourself a bit of slack. Be kind with yourself, you have experienced a lot. Allow yourself the time to gather your thoughts and look forward to the next challenge

Time to put the plan in place

Okay time to get a plan in place. I am sure we all agree that none of us want to experience the unwelcome affects of unemployment. So here is my ten point plan to get you back to work in a positive and proactive way.

The Career Jump Starter Plan

  1. Find support, enlist friends and family to help you with your plans. Doing all this alone can be disheartening and demotivating. Find fellow job seekers or people who may have been “let go” by the same organisation to keep each other in good spirits. Plus the fact there will always be a friendly voice and someone to share the up’s and down’s of your job searching.
  2. Update the CV/Resume – Getting back to your core skills, abilities, knowledge and experience is key to building confidence, self esteem & self efficacy. Highlighting what you have achieved, your legacy and how your actions changed things for the better. Use the STAR model (loads of other models are available) to demonstrate situations, tasks, actions and results for your CV/Resume.
  3. Update your covering letter skills – not all job applications will need them but even if you use it for your own benefit, it will give you a chance to showcase where you add value. You can play around with your achievements and things about your career or work you are most proud of. Where you made a difference to the business etc.
  4. Find out the jobs that are available and start to adapt the CV/Resume . Be clear on what you are aiming at for work. You need to be targeted and have a clear sense of purpose for your job search.
  5. So your resume in tip-top shape, let’s turn your attention to Linked In and social media platforms. There is a great deal of support on-line for Linked In, Facebook profiles and job searching. In fact too much to summarise in a short plan. Find out what works for you, your industry and line of work. Start to find out what the movers and shakers are talking about in your area.
  6. Compile a list of companies you would like to work for. Start with five to ten, but no more than twenty for now. Once you have this list, think about people you may know at each company. Linked In can be a great help with this aspect of your plan. The company page will show the first and second degree connections you have at each one. Again check out what those folk are talking about and potential opportunities coming up in the pipeline.
  7. Get networking – Depending on your industry you may find local face-to-face networking opportunities are available to go and press the flesh and meet people. The people you speak to will remember you and what you are looking for if you can make the right impression. Practice those all important interpersonal skills and perhaps have a go at designing you personal career brand. Its all about utilising those all important rare and valuable skills that constitutes your career capital. Don’t forget to network on social media also so showcase your skills and expertise in your industry or business area.
  8. Sign up to job searching sites and don’t forget to set up alerts on each site as this will automate a lot of your search. Thus saving you both time and energy.
  9. Make a list of people you haven’t connected with in awhile and invite them to for a cup of tea or coffee. This may take you out of your comfort zone and you may well feel uncomfortable with this approach. However, I am sure you don’t want to be the worlds best kept secret – so be bold, be brave and talk to the people that can help you.
  10. Keep healthy and active. With all this intensive work you will need a healthy body and mind.

Review and Revise your Plans Regularly

After a while start to assess how things are going. Have you got interviews in the pipeline, if not have you received feedback on your CV/Resume from recruiters and HR perhaps. You will need as much feedback as possible to improve your offering. If feedback is not received after an application, then ask for it. Continue the networking activities both face to face and on-line to build a presence. Whether you are experiencing some success or not, don’t stop until you have that all important job offer in hand.

Keep up with your daily practice and keep networking. Don’t stop applying for relevant job openings. Focus on the things you can control and ignore those you can’t. Finally treat your job search like a full-time job. Pitch up every day, do the work, then wrap things up and start over the next day. Even dress the part. As sometimes when we are dressed for work our minds will help us re-frame our sense of what we need to do. We are at work after all, just a different type of work.

Of course losing your job is tough. We all manage the fallout in many different ways. However, following a plan and having people to support you will help you get back on the horse sooner than later.


Now then being out of work is tough for all the reasons listed above. Being unemployed staring at the walls hoping the phone will ring is soul destroying. However with the right support of family and friends there are lots of opportunities to help change your situation for the better. The psychological dimensions of being out of work can be difficult to overcome. Especially if your have been out of work with more than a year. Networks begin to disappear, your motivation and self effectiveness for work can begin to ebb away. However, picking yourself up and constructing a purposeful plan will help you saddle up and move on to a brighter future.

The ten point plan listed above will give you a plan to get moving. Though please feel free to add aspects that will help you and what is most appropriate for you area of work, business or industry. However, in most cases there is still a need for a CV/Resume to get toward that all important interview so you can showcase your talents and valuable skills to the organisation.

You may need to be very clear on how you add value to an organisation i.e. what do you do to make things better. Is it processes, sales or quality for example. If you don’t know what you are great how can you tell anyone about it? So practice, plan and get out there. Be brave, be bold and change your working life for the better. Drop me a line or a call if you feel it will help you along the way. All free gratis and for nothing. Just the sort of nice guy I am!


Black, C (2008) “Working for a healthier tomorrow: work and health in Britain” Dept of Work & Pensions, London

David Dean is an independent career and coaching psychologist based in Cambridge, helping to make your career and professional life a nicer place to be.

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