12 Actions to take when you are made redundant

12 actions to take when you are made redundant

If you or someone close to you have ever been made redundant from a job, you may have experienced the overwhelming number of emotions that ensue.

Wouldn't it be great if there was an emotional guidance manual given to you at the time of redundancy to step you through the emotions you will experience and how to manage each one of them.

There are multiple books available online with how to manage redundancy. They can be effective and help you to manage change. There are also numerous organisations available to you to talk with, support you and help guide you through - what can be - a troubling time. In my experience though, the last thing I felt like doing was reading a book or calling someone for help. 

Redundancy is becoming more a a norm these days as businesses embrace technology and downsize their staff to maximise their profits. Sometimes it can feel as though there is no job security. Even Insurance Companies are offering "redundancy clauses" these days.

You can easily be forgiven for feeling like a number and not a human being.

From my own personal experience, information and discussions with other people who have been made redundant, this blog is aimed at providing you with some personal tips that might help you to move through redundancy whilst acknowledging your emotions.

My Story

Throughout my career, I have been witness to multiple colleagues going through redundancy and a few weeks ago, several of my friends shared their recent redundancy news along with the shock waves it was sending throughout their community.

Two years ago, I was made redundant from a role that I was really invested in and passionate about. I was totally invested in my role as a facilitator - even on the morning I was made redundant.

You might often be told or hear that it is the "role" that is made redundant and not the person. In my experience however, it was me and not the role as other facilitators in my team were not made redundant. 

I had just come back to the office from having launched the company's first and largest concept retail store in Australia. I had invested countless hours training and developing staff to manage the new store effectively as well as providing feedback to the project to ease the way for future roll-outs across Australia.

I was on an emotional high from the success of the launch of the new store and in a state of joy, happiness and optimism about the future.

Within the next hour, my whole world was turned upside down.

I had heard whispers that redundancy meetings were coming - I just wasn't aware that I would be personally involved in them. Within the hour of my return to the office, I was called into a meeting room with and HR representative. My senior manager was on loudspeaker on the phone in the middle of the table - Yes! On the phone! During our greetings and "niceties" my senior manager had no idea of what I had been delivering over the past few weeks or even the fact that the new concept store had opened that morning.

To say that I felt blindsided would be an understatement. I went from an emotional high to absolute shock.

I asked numerous questions throughout the meeting to try and make sense or logic out of the situation I now found myself in. To each question I asked, I received a standard company response that was being read off a page. (I know this because the answers and the words used were lengthy and identical each time, coupled with my manager's tone and voice inflection.) There was no empathy and no appreciation for the years I had worked for the company. Before I left the meeting I was informed (I would like to say "warned") not to talk with anyone as I packed up my desk and headed home.

When you are made redundant, it is like you are leaving the company under cloak and dagger; not being able to talk with any of your colleagues. If I had chosen to resign, they probably would have had a farewell morning tea for me! 

So my emotions went like this:

9am - Joy, happiness, optimism

10am - Shocked and overwhelmed

11am - Discouragement, anger and fear with swings into freedom, happiness and elation.

As I headed home I was lucky enough to speak with my family. As I spoke with them, I became even angrier at what had transpired. I also continued to swing more heavily into positive emotions. It felt like I was on a massive emotional pendulum as I tried to weigh up the positive aspect of the situation. To say I was emotionally exhausted would be an understatement.

Over the next few weeks my swing of emotions didn't subside. I started to reach negative feelings of insecurity and unworthiness. I then hit rock bottom in the second week with feelings of grief and powerlessness.

I knew to allow these emotions to flow through me and I acknowledged them. I also knew that to move forward in my life and back into a positive state of mind, I would need to start taking action to move through these negative emotions.

It wasn't easy, and the redundancy haunted me for months. I did however manage to come through the other side OK and a lot more optimistic about the future.

Tips to help you manage redundancy.

I have spoken with numerous people that have been made redundant over the years.

Here is a list of the actions that have been taken that have helped people "recover" from redundancy.

  1. Take time off. 

Rather than just jumping straight back into a new job, take some time to re-group with yourself. Allow yourself the time to experience, acknowledge and move through your emotions. Jumping straight back into a new job can sometimes suppress the emotions you are experiencing and negative emotions may bubble to the surface during your new job. This was some of the best advise I was given and other people have shared their regret of not taking this time for themselves.

  1. Acknowledge each emotion you go through.

Emotions help us to know what we do and don't enjoy and act as a barometer for experiences in our life. Rejection, abandonment, fear, grief, embarrassment, elation, joy, happiness, empowerment may all be experienced and are completely normal. Document the various emotions you are experiencing. This can really help you to acknowledge your emotions as well as show you any patterns that are occurring such as; negative emotions being stronger or more frequent than positive emotions; seeing your positive emotions start to outweigh the negative emotions.

  1. Share your feelings with others.

Open up to the people around you. Family, friends, counselors are all great places to start. It is up to you to share how you are feeling and what you are going through because people are not mind readers. This can sometimes be really hard to do as ego and pride can get in the way. Know that people do care about you and will want to support you. Also remember to share the negative as well as the positive emotions you are experiencing with them.

  1. Try to avoid talking negatively about the company.

This can be really challenging when you experience intense negative emotions. You just feel like lashing out. Speaking negatively about the company will continue to breed and fester negativity within you. Think about if there was anything you liked about working for the company. What did you get out of this job while you were in it? If you can't think of anything nice to say, say nothing at all. 

  1. Do one nice thing for yourself each day.

During the initial days and first weeks of being made redundant, make it a mission to do one nice thing for yourself each day. For me, I listened to my favourite music, made myself go to my local coffee shop to have my morning coffee, went for walks, cooked healthy meals, watched my favourite movies, did some art work, sat in the sun, read a few novels. Each day I did just one thing that made me feel good and helped me to relax. Do different things each day and at different times. It sure beat lying on the couch eating junk food or getting drunk and feeling like crap.

  1. Be grateful for what you do have in your life. 

Start a gratitude book. Keep a daily list of all the small / simple things you are grateful for. This may include having a warm bed to sleep in, being able to hear the birds, enjoying the sunshine, reflecting on past achievements and even being grateful for the people in your life.

  1. Write down what you loved about your job and what you didn't like about your job.

This is great to do while you are going through a range of different emotions. Write down what you loved and what you didn't and then put your notes away. This has been handy for people to refer back to when they are looking for a new job. They pull this list back out when they are looking for a new job and are reminded of what they do and don't like. It can help narrow down the next job you apply for. 

  1. Catch up with family and friends.

Spend time with family and friends. Share food, good conversation and laugh a lot! Laughter is a great release of negative tension.

  1. Plan a weekend escape or holiday.

Planning a holiday or time away gives you something to look forward to. The act of going away creates new experiences for you in your life and can help you see life in a new or different perspective. It can be really refreshing.

  1. Get physical!

Play a sport, go to the gym, go for a ride, skate or run. Move your body. Let the energy pulse through your system. If being sporty isn't your thing, get your clean on! I remember cleaning out cupboards and sorting through "stuff" that I no longer used or needed. My house was spotless!

  1. What would you like to be doing?

Spend some time thinking about what you would like the next chapter of your life to look like. What is important to you in your life and in a job.

  1. Most importantly, be gentle and kind to yourself.

You will find your way forward again.

Emotional Guidance Scale 

This list outlines key emotions for you in the order of "1" being the best feelings to "22" being the most negative.

You may experience a few of these emotions right through to all of them.

There is no right or wrong emotion to have. All emotions provide us with insight into ourselves.

This scale can help you to define and acknowledge what emotion you are currently experiencing - how you are currently feeling. 

Once you are aware of how you are currently feeling, you can look to the emotion above it. You can then start to take action and work toward the better feeling emotion. 




Redundancy does happen. It can really hurt as your emotions become raw and vivid swirling all around you and through you.

You are not alone. It has happened to many people and can happen to anyone at any time. 

Many people that I have spoken with who have been made redundant have gone on to have amazing new jobs and new life experiences as new opportunities have been opened up to them.

Acknowledge your emotions - it is OK to share how you are feeling with other people.

Use the Emotional Guidance Scale to check in with yourself, identify how you are feeling and then gradually move up the scale to an emotion that feels a little better.

  • Take time off.
  • Acknowledge each emotion you are experiencing.
  • Share your feelings with friends, family and counselors.
  • Avoid talking negatively about the company.
  • Do one nice thing for yourself each day.
  • Be grateful for what you do have in your life.
  • Note down what you did and didn't like about the role you were in.
  • Catch up with friends and family.
  • Plan a weekend escape or holiday.
  • Get physical.
  • Think about what you would like to be doing in a job.
  • Be gentle and kind to yourself.


I hope that you find this insight helpful.
You might have an effective strategy that has worked for you that you would like to share.
Please feel free to leave a comment or you can contact me directly.
Wishing you much success.
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Love, Light, Joy,

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