How to Help Your Partner Cope with Redundancy: Part 2

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Ah me. I never expected to become the Redundancy Poster Girl, you know. I was all set for calmer career waters until my other half got dumped in the latest redundancy wave....

Being a 'second-time-arounder' on the supportive spouse side of it, I gave you my personal suggestions for coping last week. Here are some more pointers for any of you who might be going through it too. Sadly, in the financial world, there are rather a lot of us doing so. It's how you deal with the day-to-day stuff that makes the difference between a fresh start and getting stuck in the job-seeking maelstrom.

I asked Linda Jackson, MD of career and talent consultancy Fairplace, for her top suggestions for coping with redundancy. (I've italicised Linda's advice). She kindly obliged, giving me the benefit of her experience in the business of helping people cope with change and find a new position.

Ask about redeployment opportunities. Your HR manager may not have followed your career all that closely, and so may not be aware of all your skills and talents. Construct an internal CV focusing on the impact you have made in the firm and perhaps outline any problem areas of which you are aware where you could be of use.

Good idea. All is not lost until the ink's dry on the compromise agreement. In our experience, however, it very seldom happens, largely because the decision to axe you has been taken on high, often as part of cost-cutting measures, and you're history from the moment that occurs. Companies with really good HR (and there are Oh So Few Of Them) will be receptive to creative suggestions that will help keep you in a job and make them look good at the same time. Don't give up until that ink's bone dry.

Keep learning new skills. Concentrate on what you could do better - maybe your profile in the company needed boosting, or perhaps you could have made sure that your seniors were made fully aware of your achievements and abilities. Aim never to be just a person on a list, plug any skills gaps, widen your breadth of knowledge. Be in charge.

The most successful leaders are those who can learn from every experience, positive or negative, without beating themselves up about the missteps they may have taken from time to time. Remind yourself of your skills and talents, and build on them wherever you can.

Never bad-mouth your old organisation. There will be a host of folk keen to get the gossip out of you. Consider their motives, button your lip and rise above it. If you are derogatory you'll be amazed at how fast the news travels, and it doesn't do you any good. Former employers could well put a black mark against your name, and there's no point in burning bridges, is there? New employers don't want someone with baggage - they want an upbeat professional who can do a good job, not an embittered new employee who is nursing a grudge to keep it warm.

It's unprofessional to slag off a former employer in any workplace. Doesn't mean that you are similarly constrained elsewhere, of course - and there's nothing stopping you or your partner from having a good old spleen-venting character assassination session. Just don't become a broken record (you can tell if this is happening by a sudden and massive drop-off in invitations from your friends).

Be Objective. Review everything you have attained to date: skills, achievements, qualifications, knowledge, awards, responsibilities. Consider what opportunities these match. Don't be narrow in your search - take the opportunity to think about a move into different areas which your skill-set matches.

Easier said than done when you could be feeling very blue. Boosting confidence and keeping both of you as positive as possible are pretty key here, I have found. Helping your mate believe in themselves is vital if they are to move on and into that next position. Help them to appreciate their own worth.

Stay Positive. Stay Focused. Don't go down the 'Why me?' route - far better to move on as fast as possible. It may be that you were just unlucky, or that your relationship with your manager wasn't all it should have been - or you were last in, first out, or in the wrong product area at the wrong time.

If you have a positive attitude rather than spreading gloom and despondency, then your former employers will at least admire your professionalism. They may then be better disposed to help you to network to find other opportunities. Avoid glum people - it's catching!

Next week: presentations; reviewing your life objectives; networking; communicating with family and tools to help you into that next position.

Until then - chins up, shoulders straight and remember you aren't alone....

Jane welcomes feedback and guarantees complete confidentiality to anyone who wishes to discuss employment issues with her: jcarruthers@efinancialcareers.com.

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