I recently met an old friend of my mine who had recently been retrenched from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. He was complaining that he’d been retrenched, “merely a few months after my wedding.”
Him being the same age as I and now jobless, gave me the jitters. It proved that, with rapid development especially in technology, nobody’s job is safe.
We used to think that retrenchment was for the elderly, clearly we were wrong!
New technology, restructuring, downsizing, and other forms of cost-cutting inevitably mean that some jobs won’t exist for long because the worker is now becoming surplus to requirements in many companies.
But your redundancy need not be bad news – providing, of course, you are prepared to make the most of the opportunities.
My retrenched friend from MINICOM was clearly shocked to receive his termination notice. Because he was energetic and still fresh from the university, early retrenchment was the last thing to cross his mind.
Retrenchment should rarely come as a surprise in this day and age. By keeping yourself informed about relevant developments in your sector, you will have a pretty good idea about how the winds are blowing in the organization you are working in.
Current management literature, the media and the office grapevine are all sources of information you can use. These days, you should be prepared long before the news breaks.
Much as I believe that none of us would happily receive a retrenchment letter, we should see it as a, potentially, positive thing.
While some people might curse me for saying things, however, the truth of the matter is that, when adversity strikes, we need to face it head on.
As one door closes, another invariably opens. Being laid off can provide the encouragement you need to make a clean break – even pursue a new career path that you may not have considered previously.
Remember, whether you see any event positively or negatively is entirely your choices.
As the ancient sages taught us, our interpretation of ‘good news’ or ‘bad news’ often depends on the way we view it. View a redundancy in a positive light.
All of us fear losing our jobs but we can tackle that fear. Attempting to avoid this fear by ignoring it only gives it more power.
Fear should not be repressed and feeling our fears is the best way to control them. So if you notice that you feel anxious, be courageous enough to allow yourself to feel the fear or anxiety until it dissipates.
It’s not a nice feeling to lose your job, but you will gain little by indulging your emotions. Self-pity will not get you another job or help pay the grocery bill. By the time of your exit interview, you should have already begun to take positive action.
In preparing for the possibility of retrenchment, ask yourself, ‘what makes me professionally unique at work?’ Identify the things that make you attractive and employable.
And, if nothing special comes to mind, see what you can do to add to your professional portfolio of skills. Starting today.
The author works with RDB-IT