Afraid to Admit You’ve Been Made Redundant?

Jan 20, 2012 by

Afraid to Admit You’ve Been Made Redundant?

Remember the Full Monty?

I can’t believe it’s almost 15 years since the film was made but, even now, many of its characters remain vivid in my mind. And while I accept it was essentially a comedy, the film offered an interesting slant on many serious subjects…

One character that sticks firmly in my mind is Gerald Cooper (played by Tom Wilkinson) –  a manager at the steel plant where the characters had been made redundant, who continued to hide from his wife that he had lost his job. Even after his notice ran out, if you recall, he would put on a suit and Mac every day, pick up his briefcase and leave the house, seemingly to go off work, trying to avoid telling his wife the truth of his situation.

Nobody is immune from redundancy…

I would have said that could never happen to me, except that it very nearly did in 1989…

The day I was made redundant was one of those when I would normally have been going out for a pint with my friends in the evening. Though I had plucked up the courage to explain to my wife what had happened, I really found the idea of facing friends difficult.

Our financial situation was going to be a little bit desperate but, despite this, my wife persuaded me to go out with my friends. In fact, she came to the pub with me, perhaps to make sure I got there!

That’s what friends are for…

The response from friends once they were aware of my situation was amazing, and, looking back, I realise that the support I had made a material difference to the way I felt; to my happiness, confidence, ability to function and outlook.

Two nights a week I was taken out for a pint and never allowed to spend my money, was offered cars to borrow and given help writing a CV – the list goes on… Encouragement was provided from my wife, family, friends and people I thought of as distant acquaintances and previous colleagues who I thought would have forgotten me.

I was out of work for roughly 3 months and, while a self-sufficient and independent character, I have no doubt that the social support I had positively affected my job hunt.

Haven’t we been here before?

Yes. This blog is similar in theme to one posted immediately before Christmas, but I believe the point is worth emphasising…

In a survey aptly named ‘Very Happy People’ it was discovered that there is one – and perhaps only one – feature that creates happiness: the strength of our social relationships.

Ironically, when under pressure for whatever reason the tendency of many of us is to withdraw and  become isolated. We focus on the problem in hand and forget to spend time with our family and friends or share our feelings with them. In other words, we are least likely to look for social support when we are most in need of it.

For me, the critical point was when, with the help of my wife, I plucked up the courage to share my plight with a few friends. As a result of their kind enquiries I talked about how I felt and what I was going to do, and all of them offered whatever help they could. Doing so broke the ice. Telling more people about my situation and exploring my feelings became easier- and though this was before the days of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks and I had no established network, one started to develop.

It took more courage than I thought it would to say to people that I had lost my job. Even worse was admitting to feelings of fear, vulnerability, financial worry and all the attendant grief of losing your job. But the reward was well worth the discomfort.

My advice then? Get out there and tell them. You will be amazed how much better it will make you feel!

What do you think?

If you’re open to sharing your experiences and thoughts, or want to share what you’ve learnt with other job-hunters, why not get in touch or post your thoughts in the comments box below?

 

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