Article by Andy Salkeld
Redundancy is a pretty scary word. Sadly, far too many of us are far too familiar with the term.
I have friends who have been made redundant. I have family who have been made redundant. I myself have been made redundant. Redundancy and termination are different though.
Both sound awful. Redundancy sounds like you no longer serve a purpose; tantamount to death. Termination sounds like actual death. It’s lose-lose in that wording! It is important to know the difference though.
Redundancy is where the job is being made redundant. You, yourself, are not. The important part of redundancy is that it is about the company no longer needing the job itself, not the person. It’s not that a company doesn’t need the person, it just doesn’t need the job or anyone to do that job specifically! There is some solace in this but it’s often hard to find.
Termination on the other hand very much is about ending the contract with the individual. There’s a lot more of the individual in this one and will often be harder to reconcile with yourself in general as this one is about you.
Knowing the difference won’t help you in coping with either or the feelings that come with them. Those are the painful bit and the bit that takes the work! Those feelings are incredibly hard to handle and to work through. It would be easy to say “here’s a step by step guide to cope with it,” but sadly I can’t do that.
All I can do is tell you how I have coped with the many failures of my life. For me, it all comes down to a song. It’s a song that helped me through my darkest of times to come back again. It’s a song where the lyrics mean so much to me I now have them tattooed on my arm. They simply go:
“It’s not what I wanted. It’s not what I planned. It’s not where I thought I’d be. It’s just where I am.”
Life happens. It just does. You can plan everything out. You can prepare for every contingency. You can pour your heart and soul into something. And you can still lose. That isn’t a failure. It’s just life. And it happens!
There are things outside of your control and you need to be able to make peace with them. You need to be able to own what happens and how you feel about it rather than dwell on ‘what could have been’ or ‘what might have happened’. Focusing on the past and the future will distract you from the present, but the present is where life happens. Life is in the now!
I almost killed myself. For a period, it defined me and confined me; stopping me from living my life and moving forwards.
What is really important in life, and something I think many people are discovering amidst the global Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, is life itself! When something bad happens in life, redundancy or anything else, you have three choices:
- It can define you; or
- It can confine you; or
- It can refine you.
That is to say; you can live your life under the shadow of it always; or you can live in the fear of it happening again; or you can learn from it, grow from it and become more than you were when it happened.
I almost killed myself. For a period, it defined me and confined me; stopping me from living my life and moving forwards. Now that I’ve had time to process it, and it does take a lot of time and a lot of effort, it has refined me into something more; something I am grateful for – for once in my life!
My life changed that day. Much like my life changed when I was made redundant. I needed to spend time with myself and my feelings; to understand what I was feeling and what really mattered to me in life.
I won’t lie, it took me a year or so to come to terms with what happened in my life. Each of us needs to take the time that we need to heal in our own way. So how to cope with redundancy? Give it time. Give it thought. And choose to be more!
About the author
Andy Salkeld is just another guy. He is also a finance director, mental health advocate and author of Life is a Four-Letter Word: A Mental Health Survival Guide for Professionals – available from 14 May 2020 on amazon.co.uk.
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