Maybe who we are isn’t so much about what we do, but rather what we’re capable of when we least expect it.
– Jodi Picoult
Recently attending an event, I heard the phrase “Corporate Refugee”. Urban dictionary defines a “Corporate Refugee” as someone that has been downsized, displaced or severed from a long time corporate career.
For many of us ‘corporate refugees’ it isn’t planned and has occurred due to major restructures, downsizing, change in business strategy, or technology changes.
Loosing your role can result in a loss of stability (financially and emotionally), you may question your value and your identify and for some there will be increased stress.
Today though, I wanted to talk positively about life after redundancy and being a corporate refugee.
I would honestly say that for the first 3 years after taking my redundancy, I underwent significant change.
I’ve spoken previously about my own identity crisis and having to define who I now am. A girlfriend recently challenged me on the fact that I was still very wishy washy on this fact, especially as I was mentoring and coaching others on this subject, but still no resolution for myself.
In the last month, I finally got some clarification and immediately took actions on what else I want to do professionally.
Here’s my 5 tips on what you should do if you find you’re a corporate refugee.
1. Take the time to grieve. Some of us will go through the five traditional stages of grief and there is no right or wrong as each of us experience the process differently.
2. Take a holiday. Get away from it all by taking some time out and enjoy being with your family, your best friend or go it solo. I did this with my mum and it allowed me to start disconnecting mentally from the job. This is especially important if you were ‘living to work’ like I was and all my time had been focused on the job. Just remember not to spend your entire payout all at once though!
3. Reconnect with people. One of the things that I did was to start going for coffee with all those people I hadn’t seen professionally for some years. It’s hard to ask someone for coffee at 2am (I was on NY time and lived in Australia). Set a weekly target of how many people you will have coffee with.
4. Reflect. It’s not often that we get time to sit down and think back on our career and where we want to go next. Take stock of what you’ve achieved so far in your career. I also recommend completing our Love and Loathe worksheet. Think about all the things that you loved in your past roles and what you loathed. I do this exercise every couple of years to help guide me in my career choices.
5. Outplacement and career transition programs. Some organisations offers outplacement and career transition programs as part of the redundancy process. These services help you to review your resume; help you identify and understand your transferable skills, your interests and what drives you and support you through the job search and recruitment process.
I was treated with dignity and respect throughout the redundancy process and for me, that was just as important as understanding what was offered within the redundancy package.
I’m now nearly four years out from leaving a corporate role and whilst the changes that have occurred weren’t planned, I can honestly say that I’m loving my new life. I recently told my husband that having the time to do things on my life list gave me a real sense of accomplishment as a human being.
If you’ve been through the redundancy process, I’d love to hear from you on any tips you have and I’ll add them to the list. Perhaps you’ve done something amazing after a redundancy – inspire us by letting us know.
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