Last August, a week before I was due to move, my boss gathered the senior management team on a call and told us we were all at risk of redundancy. Or in official terms, our jobs were at risk.
I had two choices:
- To stay and fight for a new role
- Leave an organisation I had been with for just over five years, and an industry I had been in for nearly fifteen years.
It was an easy decision for me. Despite being in the middle of a global pandemic, I had been unhappy in my role for some time. I cared passionately about the business and those I worked with, but the job wasn’t giving me any satisfaction. I was slowly turning into a mood hoover.
I’m also a firm believer in trusting your gut. As soon as the call ended, I knew it was time to leave the organisation
In the end, there would be four whole months between that fateful call and the day I would eventually part with the company. In those four months, I busied myself getting my loose ends tied up and I began planning for the future.
Why Redundancy Doesn’t Scare Me
I wrote a blog post in early September called ‘Why Redundancy Doesn’t Scare Me‘. The long and short of it (although please feel free to read the entire post 😉) was, I get excited by change, and I love a new beginning. I was also in an ok situation when I got the call, which made the experience slightly less daunting. I didn’t have a mortgage to pay (although I did have rent and bills to consider), and I had no children to feed. So whilst being out of work still doesn’t scare me, I know that for others, even the mere thought of losing their job will be terrifying.
What I hadn’t considered during those busy four months whilst I was going through the redundancy process, was how I would feel once I left the organisation.
As a result, I’ve spent the first part of this year feeling out of sorts, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on why.
I had so much to be grateful for, with lockdown restrictions starting to ease and being able to throw myself into my new business, for starters. Yet, I felt pretty awful at times. I felt lost, lonely, and confused at best. At worst, I felt angry, let down, and betrayed.
It wasn’t until I read an article in a magazine earlier this week that I began to realise the reality of what I had been going through.
Being made redundant was like going through a bad breakup. In many ways, it was like losing a relative or a friend. So many of the feelings I had been experiencing were as a result of grief.
As much as I had time to prepare for life after my senior management career, how do you even begin to prepare for something you’ve never experienced before?
The irony is, I had plenty of people around me whom I could ask for advice. The problem was, I didn’t realise that the way I was feeling had anything to do with losing my job.
Life after being made redundant just so happened to coincide with the UK entering its third lockdown. I’d had enough of feeling trapped and not being able to see my family and friends, so it became easy to blame lockdown for how I was feeling.
The Grieving Process
Whilst I can’t put all the blame for how I was feeling on being made redundant, as lockdown has to take some of the credit for that, dealing with both issues at the same time has been bloody difficult.
I’m not writing this post today to give you the answers to any of this. Sadly, I don’t have all the answers yet. But when I do, I will certainly share them with you.
I am sure, however, that the magazine article I read earlier this week has already helped take some of the weight off my shoulders. It’s helped me begin to make sense of how I’m feeling and has given me a greater awareness of the feelings and emotions I can expect to encounter. Denial, anger, depression and acceptance are just some of the feelings/emotions you may experience throughout the process.
The irony, of course, is that the magazine I started reading this week has been sitting in my flat since January. Had I made the time to read the magazine when I first picked it up, I might’ve saved myself a hell of a lot of anxiety over the last few months.
One thing is for sure, as with a breakup and as extreme as it sounds, when you’re grieving for the loss of a loved one, there are no hard and fast rules which tell you how long you can expect to go through this feeling of loss.
Over the last five years, I’ve given this company a ridiculous amount of my blood, sweat and tears, and quite frankly, they don’t deserve any more of it (clearly I’m still at the bitter stage 😂).
Whilst I’m not going to sit here and draw a line under the grieving process as I think it’s important to ride this particular wave, I am going to mark today as the day I start focusing less on the past and more on the present.
I’d love to hear from you on the subject of redundancy. Have you been through redundancy? Or maybe you’ve supported a loved one through it? What emotions and feelings did you encounter? Did you allow yourself time and space to grieve? How did you begin to move forwards?
I’ll be back next Sunday with another post, but in the meantime, I’m off to do the one thing that makes me feel truly present, my daily yoga practice. Have a lovely week ahead.
The Mindful G x
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