What happens if you have been a value adding employee, getting promotions and pay increments and are happy in your job but come into work one day and your department head informs the team that there are restructuring plans being formulated which means possible downsizing and redundancy in the coming quarter? And maybe your job is on the line too?
This week I share a case study of a client who had over the course of 1 year turned her career around and was finally getting the projects that she wanted and at a time of pay freeze, got a small bonus to acknowledge her contribution to the department and company.
The morning the department head broke this piece of news during a staff meeting, everyone was left dumbstruck. Many of the employees had been there since the beginning of their working life and could not imagine a life outside of this company..
Old fears based on past experience and a sense of overwhelm at having to start all over again surfaced. Where to start? What to do?
Fortunately, there was a possibility to do an inter-department transfer to those departments which were not being closed or down-sized and here is where our work began.
The actions that we planned and implemented would work even if the employee were to seek a job elsewhere.
Case Note: Greatest Insight
Clinging to past experiences and using them to predict future reactions of others creates more stress. The past is a good lesson for the future but one has to live in the present and consider new factors.
Perhaps the time to leave the department would come in about 6 month’s time. The immediate task was to start preparing by examining all our options and do research so that the shift would be one that would further one’s career without compromising other areas of one’s life.
We also decided to reframe the situation to one of reassessing what we really wanted from our career and life.
Most Helpful Ideas that we implemented
These are actual actions that we took in order to gain clarity into our needs and to make sure that each action led to the desired goal of finding a job. As the week’s went by, it emerged that while the client’s job was not being immediately made redundant, the job specification was going to change to one which would have been below the client’s expertise, experience with no real career path.
Update CV with new experience
We decided to update the CV with new experience and any new courses or projects that had not been updated.
We also highlighted the transferable skills in the executive summary section and broadened our definition of “experience” to include unpaid and volunteer work whether within the company or outside.
As a bonus, the client updated her LinkedIn profile with relevant details. The results started coming in – she received messages from 2 different head hunters for positions that were worth pursuing and a Connect from her organization also mentioned some openings within the company which were worth exploring.
Start researching new departments and the kind of work available there
The intra-net prove useful here as well. Since the client was sociable by nature, she managed to learn more from her colleagues to assess whether the new positions would match her profile before applying. (In the case of a position outside of your company, checking online job portals and LinkedIn is a good place to start.)
Start networking strategically with people who could give her more information
The time had come to start reconnecting regularly with colleagues in other departments and this was done over lunch where the client shared her department’s predicament and openly asked about the new positions and her colleagues’ perspective.
Do more affirmations based on self-esteem
Job hunting under these circumstances can deal a blow to our self confidence and self-esteem if the search takes longer than we expect to fructify into a real job interview and job offer.
It is important to keep up our moral. In this case affirmations did the trick. The point is, engage in an activity that keeps you grounded.
Use the opportunity to check for alignment in all areas of your life
The client had been in her present job for a decade and a half and there had been many changes in her life outside work. We decided to use the job situation to realign her life focus and clarify her needs with a simple exercise – What do I really want?
In this exercise, the client created a sheet with 3 columns: What I have, What I really want and Mapping based on whether the wants are doable.
After that, the client worked out 3 action steps for each mapping.
For those items that prove to be not doable, she made a list and had to think about what she had to do to make them doable or whether they were really what she wanted.
Results & Outcome:
From the time that the client started to action the above steps and improvise based on the developing situation in the department, her network had kicked in and one of her colleagues alerted her about a new position in another department where her core skills were transferrable though there were gaps.
The client decided to apply for the job with an open mind in order to refresh her interview skills which had gone rusty.
She received an interview call which went well. Her interviewer was aware of the skill gap but wanted to hire her for her existing skills. It was felt that with a bit of training, that gap could be closed.
Within a month of the initial interview, the client had a job offer with a senior designation and a pay rise. Her old department head wished her well and gave her the safety net that if she ever felt that she wanted to come back, something would be worked out.
2014 started on a note of new beginnings!
Final words: Don’t sell yourself short
When faced with redundancy, our confidence can take a hit and that can get translated into timid actions and a resume that does not showcase your core strengths.
This is a challenging time but how you get through it depends upon how you handle it. You have to be bold and sell your transferable skills if you want to convince prospective employers to take a gamble on you.
Always remember that you have a lot to offer and your years of experience has lead to your acquiring many skills that you would not have learned from simply reading books or attending courses.
Be self-assured and believe in yourself. When we exude an air of self-confidence, we give others a reason to have confidence in us.
Have you ever been in a similar situation? How did you handle it to land safely on your feet and in a new job? Do share your insights in the comments box below!
PS. Need more guidance on filling out online job applications? Click this link to learn more about this Special Report: Tips for Filling Out Online Job Applications .
Written By: Vatsala ShuklaFollow Me
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