The redundancy glitch

What happens when the position you love gets made redundant? After spending 5 years listening to stories from hundreds of people who were in exactly this situation, it was my turn.

A Friday at 3:30 I received a “don’t come Monday” letter from my employers. As a person who was the only one in the business that delivered this set of services, I thought that my role was safe.  I could never have been more wrong.

After my meeting with the Directors I packed up and left. I get the business justification for redundancy, but the worst bit for me was the human part of it.  I had good relationships with my colleagues, all of whom I liked and respected and then suddenly I was put in a situation where I didn’t see them every-day.  Aside from the role, I missed them.

I knew from many other stories that people regularly felt betrayed, detached, not good enough, unappreciated and could often take considerable time to truly heal and move to a new place or opportunity. I guess I was lucky that I had a heads up of what it can feel like & the skills to move forward.

For me though, my human experience was a combination of feeling ripped off, having no control over the decision, wondering why me, doubting that they had made a good business decision and most importantly not understanding the why. It didn’t make any logical sense at all. I knew that the skills I had and the contribution I had made both internally and externally was unique and positive.  So……. Why me?

I realised pretty quickly that there is no possible way I would ever know all of the details as to why. And in fact if I did they would not necessarily help me in my recovery process.  Sometimes we just have to be able to tolerate not knowing and the ambiguity that goes with it.

I think the single worst part of the process for me was to be at home wondering what was next, what else would come my way. I didn’t want to go on the job hunt constantly trying to match my employment needs to someone else’s agenda or wait and see what popped up.  So, I decided to create my own life in exactly the way I wanted it and as I tend to do was determined to make it happen.

My first big decision was to run my own business. I have all the contacts, skills and knew that I was resourceful enough to make it happen and make it successful.  In creating my new life there are no limits, there is only a vision that I am highly motivated to move towards and aligned with, which is increasing the humanity in workplaces.

Some things that were non-negotiables for me in creating my new life (and are hard to find in someone else’s business) were extreme flexibility (i.e for me to choose exactly who I am with and what I am doing 100% of the time, making everything a want to rather than a have to). Exceptional relationships with clients, I love working with people and organisations where we like each other, there is mutual respect and it is a true partnership not a “I’m paying the bill so you’ll do it my way kind of view”.

I like to work with people who are unafraid to question themselves, each other and the way that things are done. I absolutely want to work in an incredible culture with an unsurpassed balance of relationships and getting the job done.  I also want to be able to decide how much to charge as well as how much to give to any client at any time.  I want to work with clients that already have the view that they are for people, profit and more importantly purpose.

I knew that detail hurt my head and that I would have to be across the detail in order for the business to work. From social media planning to accounts and invoicing, I had to be willing to hurt my head a little or to outsource.  That is what I have done.  I immediately got the best team around me that I could imagine, and the most loyal one.  So my social media, accounts, invoicing, marketing and business strategy is supported by incredible humans.

I also wanted to align what I do with something that matters. So Richard Branson’s work through Virgin Unite and the B Team is just as focused on humans as mine is.  This is in the early stages but am keen to explore the collaborative options here where in a philosophical and practical way people begin to genuinely understand what Being More Human can mean to business and most importantly humans.

Have I got it sorted? Far from it, it still scares me every day (along with exciting me), the challenge at times can seem daunting, my confidence now and then wavers…………. But I know that whilst I focus on being the best version of me and on attracting the clients that I have described above, and on treating myself and others with respect, dignity and kindness that I am on the right track.

As for the redundancy, I thank the Universe every-day that someone else made this decision on my behalf, because leaving is not something that I would have had the courage for.

The best bit about this is now I can genuinely walk in someone else’s shoes and be even more effective coaching people after redundancy in a very human focused way.

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