Chris Welford: Redundancy “it’s not about bouncing back”

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There’s a lot of it around. Some people say it’s a fact of modern life and a risk of being employed in the first place but it’s no less upsetting just because it’s commonly experienced! We are encouraged to take it in our stride and bounce back in the sure and certain knowledge that what doesn’t kill us can only make us stronger.

The fact is that redundancy is a deeply personal experience. No amount of sanitised, corporate language can disguise this. Being made redundant happens to real people who have hopes, fears and dreams “ people like you and me and the people we love and care about. Simply stating that it’s the post that is redundant and not the person is denying the issue; whether it’s said to you or whether you say it to yourself.

The experience is fundamentally one of rejection and there’s a degree of hurt and bruising that everyone feels. Being rejected is one of our deepest human fears. Hurt has to heal and healing can take time. Being made redundant at some level also represents a loss of control, albeit often a temporary one. We have different needs to be in control. As individuals, we respond to ambiguity in a more or less positive way depending on who we are and what our life script is.

We once recognised this in our language and we offered career counselling. Now the words have changed and the emphasis is on dealing briskly with the issue. We talk of career transition as if all people need is a hasty reconnection with employment opportunities or we use that awful term – outplacement.

Any good career counselor will tell you that dealing with redundancy is about recognising stages of transition. It’s about psychological adjustment. To move from one stage to another requires letting go. The most disturbing phase is in the middle as the past has gone but the future has yet to come. But the stage in the middle can also be the most creative and enlightening as new ideas are explored and the mind becomes freed in the belief that there is nothing to lose.

So it’s not about bouncing back“ quickly or slowly. It’s about moving forward and that’s so much easier with a bit of professional support.

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About Chris Welford

Chris leads Serco Consulting’s Organisational Psychology and Change service line and is a Chartered member of the CIPD, a member of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and the European Coaching and Mentoring Council (EMCC) and an experienced management consultant and coach.

He holds a BSc. (Hons) in Psychology, an MA in Law and Employment Relations (Dist.), post graduate qualifications in Business and Executive Coaching and has over 20 years of HRM experience.

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