When learning and technology consultant Sarah Burgess was made redundant,
she had mixed feelings. Here she tells Personnel Today how she dealt with the
These days, most people have either experienced redundancy themselves or
know someone who has been made redundant. But until it happens, you have no
idea of what it really means.
The redundancy payment may seem great, but unless you plan meticulously, it
could soon be gone – maybe even before you find another job. Everything needs
careful planning, and unless you commit to managing your new project, you are
unlikely to get the results you want.
Last year, I was made redundant from my position as a learning and
technology consultant, and although it was what I wanted, I was unprepared for
the emotions that would follow, and for how much work I would need to put in to
find my next job.
My initial reaction was ‘Great! When will my redundancy payment be calculated?’
For me that was very important. I was 29, but would be 30 by the time I
actually left. If the calculations were made as at my leaving date, I would be
entitled to an extra 12 weeks’ pay on top of the standard payment for the 12
years I had been with the company.
Once it was confirmed that I would get the extra money, the initial elation
subsided and I started to wonder why I hadn’t got a job – was I not as good as
other people that had found employment? What about the 12 years of hard work,
didn’t they mean anything? And I conveniently ‘forgot’ that I had ticked the
box to say I wanted to be considered for redundancy.
My self-confidence took a battering and I started to think I would never
find another job. I took ad-vantage of the outplacement service provided by my
employer. I attended a self-marketing workshop and had a one-to-one session
with an outplacement consultant to develop my CV. I seemed to have the knack of
writing a CV, and the consultant told me I would have no trouble finding a job;
I was soon helping colleagues work on their CVs.
My next problem was finding a part-time job that paid similar money to the
one I was leaving and, ideally, was as flexible. I was working two days in the
office and two days at home, which fitted in well with family life. It seemed
to be an impossible challenge: I wanted to stay in training and development,
but I couldn’t find anyone who would consider me in a part-time role with the
kind of salary I was accustomed to.
During my last day of outplacement support, I decided I was going to set up
my own training and development consultancy. I was given a book on
self-employment and walked out of the door for the last time.
Soon afterwards, I met with an accountant and with the bank, and set up my
own company. Now, I just needed some work. I started networking, and soon got
six days’ facilitation work. I really enjoy facilitation, but found myself
thinking more about outplacement and how I could help other people in a similar
I wrote to the outplacement company that my previous employer used, and was
invited to its assessment centre. A couple of days later, I received a letter
to say I had been successful and they would like me to be an associate, or an
‘approved supplier’. I work through them now, helping people who are made
redundant. I am still marketing to get more associate work.
The next stage is to continue marketing to bring in clients of my own. I
have worked with a few people already, and have talked through options with
them, helped them plan their campaigns and coached them through developing a
And the best part? I love every minute of it.