Parting is such sweet sorrow

Losing
your job has long been considered one of the most stressful events that life
can hurl at you. But is it really so bad? Jane Lewis reports on new findings

When
you think of redundancy, you are likely to put it up there with death and divorce
on the personal trauma stakes. But a new survey conducted by career consultancy
Drake Beam Morin (DBM) has found that, contrary to popular opinion, redundancy
does not automatically mean stress, strained relationships or financial ruin
for families – even if it is the main breadwinner who has lost their job.

The
upbeat survey, which polled more than 3,000 middle managers and senior
executives aged between 30 and 50, all currently in "career
transition", indicates that job loss is no longer the apocalyptic
experience it once was.

Good
advantage

Redundancy
has lost much of its social stigma and, in the era of the portfolio career, can
be easily turned to good advantage. "Employees are getting better at handling
job loss and accepting that career transition is part and parcel of working
life," says Tony Gould, managing director of DBM UK.

The
vast majority of respondents also claimed the event had caused few ripples at
home. In fact, only 17 per cent reported problems with their relationships as a
result and a hefty 39 per cent said the redundancy had actually had a healthy
"strengthening" effect.

Strong
economy

No
doubt the strong economy has played a role in this. As DBM reports, "Over
the past few decades, we have seen a rise in the stock market, as well as an
increase in house prices, which has given people greater equity than ever
before."

Fewer
than 3 per cent of respondents said they were "very concerned" about
the financial implications of redundancy. Thirty per cent said they felt
"comfortable". This was particularly pronounced in the UK, where only
37 per cent of respondents said they had reduced their household spending,
compared with 46 per cent of the global sample.

Fading
fear factor

This
may be because of the greater uptake and broadened scope of new personal
finance options in the UK. As Keith Onslow of Charcol Insurance Brokers says,
"We’ve seen a significant rise in the number of people buying accident,
sickness and unemployment insurance, which would support DBM’s findings that
redundancy no longer holds the fear factor of yesteryear."

With
blacker economic clouds continuing to threaten, it will be interesting to see
if the optimistic tone of this survey stands the test of time.

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