I first observed redundancies (or retrenchments) in late 2008. I remember that Monday as though it were yesterday. I watched men and women pack their things into cardboard boxes and saw adult professional men sit and cry.
Since then I’d been disturbed and at times absolutely terrified by the veil of silence over redundancies— before, during and after they take place. I’d seen the good, the bad and the downright ugly. I’d seen people pivot, change and transform their lives; I’d heard stories about colleagues who’d lost their life savings, their marriages and their homes; and I’d witnessed leaders in my community admit to suicidal feelings. Redundancy is tough, confronting stuff—stuff that it’s easier to ignore rather than tackle and discuss.
Being made redundant (or retrenched) can be one of life’s most traumatic events—causing a level of stress similar to a marriage breakdown. It leaves many people asking themselves, ‘Why me?’
I knew my industry was changing. Technology was replacing people, computer systems had become more efficient than traditional processes, design tasks were being undertaken offshore in 24/7 design centres, companies were merging, consultancies were restructuring and disrupters like Uber were changing everything faster than anyone could have expected.
So, I spent over two years and more than $20,000 of my hard-earned personal savings consciously and subconsciously getting prepared for redundancy— mentally, financially and professionally.
On Monday the 7th of December 2015, I was given ‘an advice of potential redundancy’. Despite my preparations, it was a huge shock. I’ll be honest: the first 48 hours are a bit of a blur. I remember trying to hold it together, crying and receiving text messages from people saying, ‘You’ll be right’. I remember feeling empty, lost and confused. I’d just agreed to buy a house, and that afternoon I had to call the real estate agent to terminate my offer.
My friends and family remind me now that I’d said spur-of-the-moment things like, ‘I’ll be homeless’, ‘No one appreciates me’, ‘How will I cope?’ and ‘What will I do?’
Amongst the tears, anxiety, panic and self-doubt, I reached out to my thousands-strong professional and social media network and posted asking for help, with a very short message stating that I was seeking employment and freelance opportunities.
I was lucky. Within hours of receiving the retrenchment advice letter I was offered multiple jobs and was receiving endless contracting and freelance opportunities. I chose retrenchment even though relocation to another office was offered. It was then that I saw the value of investing my time and money into being ready.
‘The wound is the place where the light enters you.’ Rumi
For me, getting prepared for redundancy was time consuming and expensive. It doesn’t have to be for you, because in my book ‘Ready for Redundancy’ I share the fourteen-step process that worked for me:
1 I had dealt with what was holding me back
2 I knew my story and could answer the question ‘What’s interesting about you?’
3 I had identified my passions and priorities
4 I was underspent, not overspent
5 I’d made a rule to save at least 20 per cent of everything I earned
6 I’d created a portfolio of assets, because money follows assets
7 I’d perfected my LinkedIn profile
8 I’d asked for help
9 I had an accountability group
10 I’d focused on who I knew, as much as what I knew
11 I’d sent myself on learning expeditions
12 I had my own ‘gig economy’
13 I went out and had fun
14 I was positive—no-one likes a whinger
I can’t guarantee the fourteen steps will be as successful for you as they were for me, but I hope that they help you mentally, financially and professionally.
‘No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you’re still way ahead of everyone else who isn’t trying.’ Tony Robbins
Reflecting back, I’m very grateful for the opportunities that have arisen, the people I’ve met and the way my life has been transformed as a result of my fear.
If I hadn’t been so scared about the future, I would never have embarked on my year of buying nothing new or second-hand, nor would I have enrolled in an entrepreneur course—two things that have changed my life.
The last 365 days have been amazing – I’ve spoken in the House of Lords in London, appeared live on mainstream daytime TV, I’ve been the keynote speaker at conferences, been a regular on the radio, met some incredible people and I have a new job that I love.
If my book ‘Ready for Redundancy’ helps you, your family and your colleagues to feel positive about the future, and confident that you are ready for redundancy, then I’ve done what I set out to achieve by writing it!
‘… you can either feel sorry for yourself for treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.’ Wayne Dyer
Don’t wait. The future is now.
Sooner or later you and I are going to be replaced by technology.
Right now, research says that over 45 per cent of jobs, including high-skilled roles, are able to be fully automated in the next five to seven years, and technology is disrupting every industry from hotels to public transport. Currently 19 per cent of the workforce in Australia are either unemployed or underemployed, in the USA almost 15 per cent of the workforce are underemployed and only 13 per cent of the global workforce are said to be engaged at work.
Add to that economic slowdown, soft financial conditions and the rising cost of living and it’s easy to see why all industries and workplaces are looking for cheaper alternatives – namely, technology and automation.
Millions of people could, in the coming years, lose their jobs and be made redundant.
- Buy the book Ready for Redundancy here http://www.cyclingrachelsmith.com/ready-for-redundancy-book/
- Buy my book ‘Be Ready. The future is NOW!’ here http://www.cyclingrachelsmith.com/be-ready-the-future-is-now-book/
- Need a sensational speaker at your workplace, school, conference or business/community event? Reserve your 1 hour Ready for Redundancy or Be Ready. The future is NOW! talk today.
- Join my FREE 10 week Underspent online program – starts Monday 30th January 2017. More information here http://www.cyclingrachelsmith.com/free-10-week-underspent-online-program/ and sign up here http://www.cyclingrachelsmith.com/contact-services/