Learn the lingo and get clued up before redundancy meetings
I had no idea how drawn out a redundancy process can be and even after a month of negotiations and meetings I was pretty clueless when it came to knowing the ins and outs of the whole process. I learnt new words like ‘settlement agreement’ and ‘severance’, learnt I needed a solicitor as a legal requirement and found myself flicking through the government website nightly in an attempt to memorise my rights. While I like to think I was a clipboard and suit away from fighting true crime in the courtroom, in reality I felt overwhelmed and completely in over my head.
If you’ve found yourself in the same situation during lockdown, it’s likely your redundancy meetings will be held on video call (and trust me, you haven’t felt humiliation until you cry on a Google Hangout in front of higher management) which can make the whole thing even more draining. Friends and family told me these meetings would be about negotiating the best deal and despite bravely putting on my best bargaining face, it was hard to muster up the courage to ask for what I needed.
It’s not easy but if you can, leave emotions at the door and get real with your employers about what you require, whether it’s negotiating to keep hardware so you can search for employment, or making sure you have enough money until you find a new job.
You may feel bitter that you’ve not had time to say goodbye
In a last ditch attempt to keep hold of my job, I asked to be furloughed, requesting my redundancy was revisited once coronavirus had settled down, but my polite plea was met with a stark no. I felt like I was being rushed out the door, with no time to say goodbye to colleagues at the usual leaving drinks.
I also grew a strange sense of jealousy over coronavirus eclipsing my anxieties about redundancy, because suddenly everyone was feeling some level of anxiety. I didn’t feel I had a right to experience the stages of grief I felt over my job loss when I still had a roof over my head and didn’t know anyone who was seriously ill with Covid.
But I did have a right to feel let down and if you’ve lost your job, you do too. Because what makes a pandemic feel even scarier? Worrying about where your next pay cheque is going to come from. After the initial buzz from a redundancy payment, the prospect of searching for work when companies seem more worried about ousting people than hiring them, is a scary one.
If a pandemic does anything, it crystallises the things that are important to us. Our needs become simplified when we are most concerned about our family and friends’ wellbeing or whether we’ll be able to source basic items in the supermarket when everyone is panic buying. It might feel scary amongst the chaos of everything going on in the world, but redundancy can be an opportunity to refresh your perspective on your next steps.