Angela Brett from Norwich has become a poster girl for showing resilience throughout redundancy – three times running. Here she offers 13 tips to help others bounce back
In the last six or so years and three positions held, I have been made redundant from all three, in a row.
Before this situation, I worked for more than 15 years in a very stable industry. Redundancy was not a thing that happened – unless of course, you were really c*ap, I guess!
I worked in B2B and B2C sales. The targets were high, the pressure was high, and the industry was booming, so redundancy was always something you expected of someone who really ‘was a bit rubbish at their job’ rather than ever expecting anything else.
First time round…
So when I experienced redundancy for the first time, I had only been in the position at the company for 12 months, and I had seen it happen to a few others and the rumours in the office were that redundancies were being made, but I never thought it would be me, a salesperson. They need me, surely? I remember that first time. Hearing those words, I was in shock, l remember feeling sick and not knowing what to do next. Why me? What? I have done nothing wrong? Are you serious? No, surely not! The drive home was a blur – and then I just sobbed.
The days following, I was positive. Every day, get up and get on with ‘it’ – which was finding a job – looking at various options…which totalled eight weeks of searching.
I registered with recruiters – which I had never experienced before. My advice? Choose wisely, some are amazing, and some not so. This also gives you purpose for the day and forces you into a routine – imperative.
I was lucky to have a few interviews, and the day to day routine all seemed ok. Then the bad and sad days crept in. The days when I would not get dressed, not shower and not bother with ‘me’ or wanting to even try. It is strange looking back now – how from one day to the next your attitude can change. I am a glass half full, with an umbrella and sparkles on the top generally, so feeling down really does sit weird with me – a total knock to your confidence.
Then, my ‘moment of opportunity’ arose. I bumped into an old friend in the street and he asked about my current situation – and from there that conversation turned into a job opportunity which turned into an interview, a job offer and a new job – hooray! Thank goodness. I never want to go through that again…
Second time round…
After 14 months the firm started to make redundancies. They cut jobs from other departments, and I was told all would be ok for me – but sadly not! A review meeting turned into a serving of redundancy. I remember skipping the shock reaction and going straight for anger and hurt this time, almost laughing at the ridiculousness of it all.
So again, something kicked in and I got back to ‘it’. This time it felt personal, it hurt more this time, and there was a feeling of shame. ‘What could I have done to prevent it?’, ‘I was given no notice’…
Knowing the routine, I touched base with the recruiters again, and reconnected with people I knew, updated my CV and my LinkedIn profile. Again, the recruiters I knew did a great job – interviews and opportunities presented themselves. A few bad and sad days kicked in. I had a telephone interview and the feedback I had was negative, and I knew I would not get a second chance. I felt myself slipping into a mind-set of ‘I’m no good’. It had been a similar time to previously, another eight weeks of job seeking, which is exhausting, and your mental state plays evil games with you, believe me!
For whatever reason, I decided to get out of the house and exercise daily, to find my sanity – which I did. It helped, looking back, because I got in such a state of ‘I must find a job, else I am worthless!’ I could not see anything beyond that and it is not healthy!
I thought about things I wanted to do and places I wanted to work and that is when I considered volunteering for a charity, which led me to the path of finding a paid full-time position at a youth charity. Hooray! I am giving something back and I never want to go through that again…
Third time round…
Unfortunately, in March 2020 when it became apparent that Covid-19 was moving swiftly towards the UK, the charity I was working for was forced to close and in turn realised they could not survive the foreseeable: in other words, past the period of lockdown – and the organisation was forced into liquidation and the whole team were made redundant.
Three times in a row! Are you joking?!
This time, my survival mode kicked in and I was more worried about other members of the team! I had experienced redundancy and knew that I could manage my feelings to a certain point and hoped I could help others. Slightly different circumstances this time as the country was in crisis, so feelings were heightened.
Uncertainty was fear factor number one. How am I ever going to find not just employment, but something I actually want to do?
Professionally, through these times, LinkedIn has been my saviour. With the guidance of a LinkedIn professional, I updated my profile and it allowed me to keep in touch with what others were experiencing, a true community of people wanting to help and encourage each other. Guidance and advice from ‘strangers’ worked wonders because it allowed me to be myself with no fear of self-doubt, to speak freely and discover the things I wanted to achieve. Amazing!
I am so very thankful for the people who sent kind messages. Please do not ever think those messages could be trivial or unimportant, they are not, they were awesome! Thank you, everyone!
That is how I find myself today – in a fantastic place. Thanks to a message I received on LinkedIn, from a contact I had made at a networking event I had attended 12 months previously. I now have a position doing what I love within a professional firm, with the same values and culture which I enjoy very much. It is certainly a strange time to start a new job, but I have great support from a great bunch of people – the team I work with – which gives me confidence for the future.
Angela’s thoughts on resilience…
Create a routine – get showered, dressed, make breakfast, plan lunch, list tasks – no matter how small – and tick them off, giving you a purpose – and do not skip a day!
Keep your alarm on – do not get out the habit of getting up every day and ‘getting ready’ for a working day.
Fit in some exercise – 30 minutes a day will make you feel great (Try YouTube for free stuff!).
Stand up, breathe and stretch – good for your wellbeing, posture and positive mind-set.
Get in touch with someone you have not spoken to in a while – you never know where the conversation may go.
Sign up to job alerts – Indeed/CV Library/Jobs 24/Gratis Jobs.
Contact a good recruiter – I have a list and am happy to share.
Think of all the people you know who are non-work-related – can they introduce you to anyone?
Contact the LEP/Chambers of Commerce in your area for career advice.
Meet-up groups online have free webinars – join the ones that interest you.
LinkedIn – build a profile and write a bio with your professional personality in mind!
Check out Mark White on LinkedIn – a professional LinkedIn coach. He offers lots of free advice on his page that includes how to make your profile stand out when job seeking.
Be true to yourself – draw a spider diagram with you in the middle, and list all the things that are true to you. This helped me find out more of what is important to me and what natural abilities I can bring to the business that wants to employ me!
New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership has launched a Job Support Programme for those whose employment has been hit by the pandemic, signposting them to everything they need – from live job vacancies to information about retraining and starting a business.