Why Redundancy Was The Best Thing That Happened To MePosted in : HR Updates on 14 October 2019
In this month’s very uplifting article, Olga Pollock, HR Manager at firmus energy, discusses her personal experiences of redundancy.
The recent demise of Thomas Cook and Wrightbus has left thousands suddenly faced with an uncertain future. I personally have faced redundancy twice during my working life. The first time I was twenty-four. My job was at risk along with that of four of my colleagues when we worked for a Dot.com business at the time. I remember the mix of emotions; disbelief, panic and vulnerability. A week later my dad died unexpectedly turning my world upside down. I remember how this put things quickly into perspective and how my potential job loss seemed pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Turned out I was offered suitable alternative employment as an HR Administrator within the parent Company. This was the beginning of my HR career and I spent the next 13 plus years working for that employer.
Then in 2016 it happened again. I faced the threat of redundancy for a second time only this time my redundancy was confirmed on the nineteenth of August. After nearly seventeen years of career progression, friendships and contentment I was thrust out into the intimidating world of unemployment. I had all the usual adult responsibilities; bills; childcare costs, mortgage, car yet no immediate prospect of employment. I felt devastated, scared and under pressure yet equally determined to get back into employment as soon as possible. I grieved my old life; the job that I loved and the friends that I’d left behind but I knew I couldn’t wallow in self-pity for long. My job now was to find a new job.
I got up at the same time every morning and turned on my laptop after dropping the kids off to school. I would spend the whole day looking for vacancies, updating, tailoring and posting my CV, registering with agencies and completing application forms. It was a challenging and eye-opening experience that made me appreciate the importance of a good candidate experience. I distinguished great recruitment consultants from not-so-great ones. I appreciated feedback from those employers who acknowledged my CV and resented the ones that didn’t. I went for job interviews only to be rejected or hear nothing at all. I became dejected and frustrated on several occasions and with each knock-back I knew my only option was to dust myself off and start again. Feeling sorry for myself was simply not an option and I was fully aware that a negative mindset would come across to an interview panel.
I had to believe in myself and think positively as best I could. I recall one job interview. The job description and specification were practically written for me. I did a terrific interview and established a solid rapport with the panel. When I was unsuccessful it knocked me like a tonne of bricks. To make matters worse, the feedback was based on the fact that I didn’t talk enough about something I wasn’t even asked about. Another note to self; if the candidate asks for feedback, make sure it’s tailored to that candidate’s actual responses!
During my job-hunting period I was never so driven, focused and sharpened. I learned a level of resilience that I never knew I had. I wanted to spend my time as effectively as I could, so it was then that I was offered the opportunity to voluntarily write for Legal Island, something which I have continued and thoroughly benefited from in terms of self-development.
After what seemed like a lifetime, but in reality was around five weeks, I was fortunate enough to receive a flurry of job offers and was in the position to choose my next career move. My stubbornness had paid off!
From then until now I have had two more jobs and one interim position. I have honed new skills that come along with learning the ropes of a new job and have been out of my comfort zone on many occasions. Today I believe I am more motivated than ever and hungry for new challenges. I fully appreciate that not everyone will have shared the same experiences as mine but for me I believe it has made me a better HR practitioner, for which I have redundancy to thank for.
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