Redundancy. It’s such a horrible term. It describes something that is no longer needed. We were made redundant 23 years ago and we survived and thrived. We set up a business together and we have never looked back. We know you would like to wipe the imagined smug look off our faces and we can’t blame you. That stuff doesn’t seem useful to you now, yet it is proof that you will pull through.
If you were asked how you are doing, what would you say? You might say you saw it coming and had already started planning for it. Or you might say with tears in your eyes that you feel hurt, rejected, and wonder why they picked you. Maybe you would pace the room angrily, telling of all the people that should have got the chop before you because they are all useless. These are strong, understandable reactions.
How did you find out? If it was a shock the old primeval stuff kicks in, and we fight, we flee we standstill. If it was evolutionary, a gradual realisation that your role may not exist in the new order, you might have had time to adjust to it, which softens the impact. Was it a result of a strategic restructure? You might have had full sight of the train coming down the line, or was it shrouded in mist? When that mist cleared, maybe you saw it as a new opportunity. Not all change is threatening, so what can you do to find your silver lining?
You’ve ridden the change curve of denial and resistance and now….nothing. You feel stuck in the waiting room which can be a tough place to be. You will be looking for the exploration and commitment bit of the curve, but you can’t quite see it. One door has closed, but a new one hasn’t opened yet because there is so much uncertainty in the world, making it difficult to see your next step.
The waiting room can be a stressful place. It is a place of continuous disruption and instability. You feel insecure, a sense of loss, and you must break old habits. You may have tried to make your world as small as possible so that you feel in control in an alien environment. Are you dreaming of the status quo of your old job? Do you find yourself blowing out the candle that lights up the waiting room, so you don’t have to explore it or are you madly searching the walls trying to find the mythical new door?
This is a difficult phase, yet it can also be one of exploration, learning and resetting. You can light up the waiting room. The best learning comes when we are out of our comfort zone. Ask for help and support from your close friends, family, and your network of connections. The world is a friendly, supportive place. Look at those LinkedIn posts from people you have worked with who are now offering support. All connections are useful because you learn from them and create goodwill, which you can reciprocate at some point.
What are you missing to make progress? Intentional learning is an excellent way to keep you occupied in the waiting room. Research online learning, podcasts, groups you could join to fill gaps in your experience or knowledge. Learning from others is useful too. Is there somebody in the same position as you that you could talk to? Is your friend in an organisation or a job you are interested in? Can a member of your family help you draft an up to date CV and give you tips on interview technique?
Then one day, the door will open because you have made it happen. When it does, you will be the best version of yourself. In interviews, you will be able to dazzle the panel with the new skills, ideas, and perspectives you have harvested. You will be discerning about the roles you go for because you haven’t panicked, you have control over your destiny.