Career coach: dealing with redundancy

Q I’m an HR manager and I have given my best working years to my organisation, but I have just been made redundant. I am frightened about the future and don’t know what to do with my life. Can you help?

A This is a natural reaction. Most people are frightened by change, particularly if it is thrust upon them. Many of us get stuck in a job – driven by our need for security or fear of the unknown – and sometimes we need an external agent of change to create the life we want.

I suggest that you look at this change as a good opportunity to take stock of where you are in your life, and where you want to go. This is a chance for you to get the job of your dreams. But to do that, you have to know what you want to do.

Most people know what they don’t want. For example, they don’t want to worry about money, or they don’t want to be alone. But the important questions are: what do you want, and why is this important to you? Looking at what we want and desire, instead of what we don’t want, helps us to refocus. Sometimes we are so entrenched in our day-to-day lives that we don’t stop to notice that we would rather be doing something else.

It may be helpful to start with the present. Identify your strengths and your relevant experience. What did you enjoy most in each of the jobs you have had so far? What was it about the role that motivated you? It’s important to understand what makes you tick.

Next, identify what you think you’d like to do next. What would be your ideal job? This is a big question for most of us and we limit our creativity and potential by being ‘realistic’. But often, we’re not actually being realistic we are limiting ourselves with our own beliefs. So the question I’d like you to ask yourself is: ‘What would I do if I knew I could not fail?’

Focus on what makes you happy at work and what is important to you in your career. Some typical examples of career values are: challenge, making a difference, reward, recognition, autonomy, security and working with people. We are all individuals and very different. The important thing is to identify what is important to you.

Having a clear idea about what you want to do with your life will make your job hunt that much easier.

Once you understand where you are and where you want to go, create an action plan that will help you bridge the gap. You could consider using a career coach, who would be able to help you take stock, re-evaluate your options and get motivated to create the change you want in your life.

By Marielena Sabatier, executive coach and co-founder, Inspiring Potential

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