Unfortunately, most people have lost a job in one way or another over the course of their career; they have either been let go before the end of their probation, fired or made redundant. It seems the way of the world where no job is guaranteed for life anymore. But, how do you go about surviving redundancy when it isn’t in your career plan?

This isn’t a topic I would generally blog about as I do prefer to write about happier more upbeat things but I have been made redundant in the past and do know it is a horrible and unsettling time in anyone’s life. I got through it, and most people do, but I also know if I could go back to 2008 when it was happening I wish I had done a little bit more to protect myself, been a little bit more selfish and also reached the best possible outcome for me! Here are some of the things I would have done differently…

Understood my rights

I had never been in a position where I might lose my job before. I’d always left jobs of my own free will so I didn’t have a clue what procedures my employer should have followed or what rights I had as an employee. If you are ever given redundancy notice, I would highly recommend you know your rights inside and out. If you are in the UK contact the Citizens Advise Bureau and check the Government website on redundancy procedures. Your employer must adhere to a strict set of guidelines so that they treat the employee reasonably this includes giving the employee lots of notice that redundancy is possible, giving employees time to look for other jobs, offering alternative roles in the company etc. If you know your rights and the company know you are aware of your rights they are less likely to mistreat you.

Didn’t panic

I was quite shocked when I was told I was being made redundant, I was only 24 and was not very good at standing up for myself. I wish I hadn’t panicked in the initial meeting and accepted what I was being told. If you tend to feel like this, I would recommend bringing someone level-headed or with more experience to come to the meeting with you. You are allowed to take in a representative so do if you feel you need some support. You will probably feel a whole mixture of emotions when you are going through redundancy so try hard not to let this override your usual pragmatic outlook. If you feel overwhelmed ask to take more time thinking through what you want to say before meeting again.

Fought for the best redundancy package

I wish I had fought harder for a better redundancy package. By the time I left, I just wanted to get out of there despite knowing that I had the right to a better deal. Although you might not have the strength to fight for a good deal for yourself make sure you do at least get enough to make your life more comfortable in the months that follow redundancy. By knowing your rights and not panicking you should be in an excellent position to negotiate. Do remember that you can negotiate if you think you deserve more from the company for the level of service you provided them when you were worked there.

Thought about what I wanted

This I did do to some degree. After being made redundant, I moved into a full-time personal assistant role which I thought was a significant career step for me. What I didn’t do was think through what I was going to do with the redundancy package I received. Blame it on me being young! I would recommend you make a clear plan and also take the opportunity to think about what you want from your personal life and career. You never know this horrible experience might turn out to the be the best thing that happened to you!