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What to expect now you’ve been made redundant

“We’re making your position redundant.” The black and white words in the email were flashing like neon lights with wailing sirens and suddenly it felt like I’d been kicked in the guts. Nothing can really prepare you for the shock that comes with being blindsided by a redundancy, but here’s what happens next — just so you know, you are completely normal.

You will get mad

My first reaction when I read the email informing me of my impending redundancy was not repeatable. I was furious. How dare they email me and not extend the courtesy of a phone call after four years of service. I catapulted my stapler across the room. I yelled at the computer and wished I’d had the insight to resign first. Screw ’em; who needs ’em? I was looking for a new job anyway.

There will be tears

Being as mad as a cut snake lasted for about 10 minutes. Once the initial shock had registered, I decided I better phone my husband and break the news to him. There was inconsolable sobbing — mine, not his. Luckily, he is skilled in understanding crying/gibberish because he got the gist of the conversation without me uttering a single word of English.

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Sheer panic sets in

As the disbelief wears off and you learn to accept there’s nothing you can do to change the situation, there will be moments of sheer panic. What if I can’t find a job? What if I’m not any good at anything else? What if I have to settle for a job I hate? What if I can’t pay the bills? What if my boss really wanted to fire me, but he didn’t have grounds to, so they called it redundancy? This is completely normal and will come in spurts.

Money may be tight

You could be wrong in assuming redundancy comes with a compensation payout and you will need to check your employment contract to see what you are entitled to. Typically, these days, unless you are with a big corporate or government company, you won’t be entitled to anything but your accrued holiday leave. In my case, I was given four weeks notice and expected to carry on like it was work as normal. Who wants to work for people who don’t want you any more?

Weekends don’t hold their usual excitement

Friday rocks around and the normal little bubble of excitement you feel as knock-off time gets closer is no longer there. Suddenly, the weekdays and weekends meld into one. You want to relax and enjoy it, but there is a nagging voice in the back of your head which constantly bleats that you’re unemployed. It plagues your thoughts and won’t go away until you secure a job.

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You may be expected to write instructions on how to do your job

My brain still struggles to comprehend this one. Even though your position has been made redundant and your employer no longer wants you, they still want you to map out what you do every day with instructions on how to do it. How does that work?

You may get emails and texts from former colleagues wanting help

You’ve got to be kidding if you think it’s all over after your last day. It’s likely you will get emails and phone calls from people you used to work with wanting to know how to log into websites or do tasks for which you were responsible. You are under no legal obligation to tell them once you have officially left the company. It can be hard to say no, especially if you were friends with these people, but it’s more important to focus on finding a new job. Perhaps your employer shouldn’t have been so quick to let you go.

There is light at the end of the tunnel

Get out of your jammies, update your CV and get yourself out there. Register with recruitment agencies, apply for jobs on Seek and don’t be scared of cold-calling or firing your CV off to employers that haven’t advertised. You never know when a manager might be looking for someone with your skills, but just hasn’t had the time to start interviewing. Chances are, being made redundant will turn out to be the best thing that has happened to you yet.

More on redundancy

11 Part-time jobs you can do while job hunting
You’re unemployed: What everyone thinks you do vs. what you actually do
21 Signs your job is on the chopping block

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