Redundancy: Coping after being made redundant

Dr Jennifer Ashcroft, Consultant clinical psychologist

Dr Jennifer Ashcroft
Dr Jennifer Ashcroft

Author of Anxiety: An Essential Guide (out January 2011)

The most stressful life situations are where there is a major change that you have to accommodate, for example, the birth of a baby, change of home or job, or getting married. They can be extremely positive or detracting.

The people who cope best with redundancy will be those who see it as an opportunity to do things they never had the time to do before, such as travelling, or when it parallels with some other life event. For example, people who become grandparents as they retire cope by being able to help with their grandchildren. It is almost like starting a new career.

If your identity is wrapped up with your profession and you are made redundant, you need to redefine your role. Use your old title but change it, give it a twist that might be more positive than before.

My advice is do not panic, do nothing in a rush and assume it might take a year or so to find a new direction.

Place your redundancy within the bigger context of the UK economy. There are fewer work opportunities and firms are trying to save money. Lots of other people have gone through redundancy, so you are not alone and do not take it personally.

Be proactive. Seek financial advice. If something makes you feel uncomfortable, it could be you are scared. It does not mean it is something to avoid, but something to tackle.

Create mini goals, outlining what you hope to achieve each month. Have different aspirations. What book have you never read? Get up to date with new films. Do not sit down and do nothing. Look to the future.

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