Wow this was a real eye opener and one I had always thought I had under control.
My name is let’s say “Mary” for this story. I am in my mid-forties and have been an HR Manger for nearly 12 years. I have been in the unpleasant business of “laying off” staff but was shocked when the axe fell on me.
I had worked for my old company for over 10 years and had been very loyal – but it was eighteen months ago when I was enticed to another company for many reasons I will not go into. What I will say though is this new opportunity was going to help develop my career and take it to that next level I so craved. So to find out that I was being made redundant was a shock to say the least.
It was just a work day like any other – I knew the company was having concerns as I had been heavily involved in lay-offs but had always been told my role was safe – I had spent months fielding rumours and dealing with very very tricky circumstances, but did not realise the situation that was about to hit me. My Manager, again let’s say “Sue” for this story, appeared at my office door and with a blank expression asked me to accompany her to her office. I knew instantly that this was it. The axe was going to fall. As I followed Sue through the office I could hear my heart beating, thumping; everything around me fell silent and when I got to her door my suspicions were confirmed. Outwardly I felt that I was totally in control and was giving off an appearance of calmness but inside my world was crumbling very very fast.
Sue thanked me for all my help and told me this was not about me personally but the position had to go (I had used these words many times myself). Sue politely asked to pack my desk up and depart today.
I can only explain that when I left that morning I got into my car and just felt numb. I couldn’t believe this had happened to me. My next reaction was – “was there something that I could have done to prevent this? Was I incompetent?” I kept playing different scenarios over and over again in my mind to find that answer.
As you can imagine the next day was just a blur –it was when it really hit me hard. As I woke that morning to have no work to go to -I had no idea what to do with myself as I had been employed for the last twenty years, I felt at a total loss.
Over the next couple of weeks I tried to keep very busy – but in the back of my mind I was mindful I still had bills to pay – phone, power, mortgage etc. Never one to shy away, I hit the recruitment agency trail. This was a nerve racking experience and I started to feel I was not good enough for the positions. I became quite anxious and nervous as money was always on my mind, I may have even come across as desperate. My whole world was consumed in finding a job – and over the coming months that is all I could talk about to anybody.
This is when I realised that since that fateful Wednesday – when you are made redundant that it is extremely personal.
It took me nearly four months to find a role after some 30 interviews and numerous applications.
The sense of elation and relief in finding a job was an enormous. I have now been employed for five months (past probation) and although it is a smaller firm I am loving the job.
Looking back at my situation I should have taken the advice that I had given to so many others during my career (take some time off and have a break) but rationality goes out the window and the feeling of self-doubt takes over.
Interestingly the more people I speak to about this experience the more I have come to realise that so many of us go through the same situation and feel the same way. I mean being made redundant is not a pleasant experience and although everyone tells you to not take it personally it is very, very hard not to. I can now say this from firsthand experience.
After hearing this story from a friend it really made me look at my role as a consultant. If you are in the market at the moment looking for that next opportunity, make sure you choose a consultant that is going to work for you, not just the agency. Make sure they are a specialist in your area and listen to what they tell you about the market. Ensure you have your resume and LinkedIn profile up to date and most of all work your network. There is definitely a job out there for everyone it is just being in the right place to find it.
Alicia Sumich – Group Manager; Business Development