Career — 23 August 2012
Redundant? Me!?

Let’s be honest; job hunting sucks. It’s a bit like living your life on a roller coaster.

You’ve got the highs in the form of call-backs from prospective employers, confirmed interviews, and that feeling you get when you walk out of said interview knowing you went really well.

Then you’ve got the highest-of-highs, the equivalent of that moment when you’re about to go upside down on the roller coaster, where time seems to slow for just a second or two; that’s the moment you receive that phone call from that prospective employer letting you know that, of all the other applicants, you are the best, and the job — and salary — is yours.

But for every high, there is a frustrating low. There’s the three hours you spent tweaking your résumé and working on that cover letter, effort that elicits only an automated email rejection in return. There’s the interview you meticulously prepare for a week beforehand — and which you nail on the day — that attracts only an afterthought phone call a few weeks later. And, finally, there’s the encouraging feedback and positive signs you cling onto throughout the application and interview process that ultimately come to nothing.

Like I said, job hunting sucks.

In the current climate, however, many of us are getting practice at it. Teams are downsizing; businesses are changing. What was an appropriate headcount yesterday might not be the same tomorrow. There’s an air of uncertainty out there at the moment, and for some industries (the media industry in particular), the threat of redundancy is, suddenly, a very real one.

Redundant: No longer needed or useful; superfluous

I hate that word, and its definition, but it’s one a lot of people are having to come to terms with.

If it (redundancy) happens to you, it’s easy to think your whole world is crashing down around you. “Being redundant” doesn’t help, nor does having to explain oneself as “no longer needed or useful”.

A better way to look at redundancy, however, is by treating it as a chance to show the doubters just how “needed” and “useful” you really are, or can be; that whole “one door closing, another opening” idea. Often, being made redundant is just the push some people need to pursue their dreams, or at the very least, a more satisfying work environment.

If you’re out of practice in terms of job hunting, however, getting accustomed to a daily routine can be difficult. Some advice given to me years ago went something like this: looking for a job is easy, as long as you make looking for a job, your job. Follow me?

Of course, and as I’ve said in a previous post, it’s important to take time out from such a relentless schedule of applications, cover letter writing and research, and to take stock of your progress along the way. Job-hunting may be a roller coaster, but there are plenty of other rides in the fairground.

Redundancy is not pleasant, but it’s not forever. Indeed, it could end up being just the push you needed. Sometimes, you’ve just got to get back on the roller coaster, even if it’s been 20 years since you last had a ride.

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(14) Readers Comments

  1. I’m on the merry go round right now…I’m up to 35 applications for 3 return phone calls, 2 interviews and the mind numbingly frustrating wait for followup phone calls – good or bad!

    BUT…I have to say that in my own mind, I’ve turned the experience around into a journey of self discovery. Through revising and updating my resume…I’ve gone through the whole self appraisal thing…and taken the time to recap on my progress over the years. You know what? It’s such an empowering thing to do.

    I’ve taken stock, realised that I actually have a lot more to offer than i thought. I’ve changed direction, engaged with my LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and blog communities…and discovered a world of new opportunities. All it takes is the courage to step out boldly.
    I’m getting great feedback, positive vibes, a wonderful sense of discovery…i am in a whole different place to 35 applications ago!

    Thanks for posting!

  2. Hi Tony, thanks for your comments. You’re right; taking stock of your achievements to date is empowering. It’s something too few of us take the time to do, but something that can have a really positive effect on our job hunt.

    The thing about job hunting is this: just when you think nothing is going to happen, something does!

    Best of luck with your search!

    T.

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  4. Personally the fact that I am judged “over qualified” due to my studies makes me wonder what kind of CV a company wants? A truthfull one or one which is not scary to a potential future boss? I mean studies is one thing- getting the job done is quite another!

  5. Automated email rejection? Afterthought phone call?

    Clearly you’re not from the UK!

    When you apply for a job over here part of most adverts will say “If you have not heard from us within 2 weeks of applying, you have not been successful”

    And that’s it. No emails, no phone calls, nothing. It’s extremely rare to hear back. Unless of course it’s good news.

    Most agencies, though not all, will let you know the result of an interview.

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  9. Been also on this rollercoaster for a few months now… so many applications, tweaking, writing, re writing, tweaking… lots of rejections emails, some actually personal, many automated. Aparently there are programs now that scan your resume and do the rejecting for the human recruiter.. so looking at resumes has become redundant almost. How rude and lazy… “we have so many applications for the position we just can’t possibly read them all” …and they miss out on a potential champion for the job.
    I have absolutely no faith in recruitment companies in Australia. So far I’ve found them rude, uninterested, incompetent and motivated by a good measure of greed… Sorry Tim, I’m also in (and would like to be again) Communications and probably insensed at how they could do so much better if they tried a little harder. Human resourses is not really what it’s supposed to be.

  10. Finally, someone who understands. I’m looking for work in Qld now, and I have to say the entire process is horrible. Patrick, you are spot on about recruitment companies in Australia, most of them don’t even pretend to care. Indeed the term ‘Human Resources’ is a misnomer.

  11. Thanks for your comments, Patrick and Josh, and sorry to hear your experiences with recruiters/HR representatives have not been as positive as they could be. Do you think these experiences are due to market conditions producing an imbalance between the number of available roles and the number of available people to fill those roles (thus potentially not allowing that same level of service), or do you think it’s more a reflection of the recruitment/HR industry as a whole?

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  13. I hail from the council estates of Sunderland in the north east of England. I grew up surrounded by job loss & redundancy. When I was a teenager – during Thatcher’s premiership, the unemployment rate in my hometown was 22%. I never had a career plan. It was simply a case of finding work – any work – to bring money into the household. Since moving to other parts of the country that have had a much cushier time of it than Sunderland, I now passionately believe that everyone should have a stint having experienced job loss. And that’s without the eye watering redundancy packages offered by some organisations. A company doesn’t need to give anything more than the statutory minimum so anyone lucky enough to receive more than this is very lucky. Instead experience life as I and many of my neighbours experienced it during’s Thatcher’s term of office: Having zilch income, no jobs in the community (and I mean none, not even packing shelves at a supermarket), no assets & no one to bail you out. Since those dire days, I have always thought that employment’s about supply and demand: If a person cultivates skills that are in demand & targets the right organisations, they’ll get work. Whilst living on the breadline in the UK is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, job loss teaches a person humility & empathy. And, as a result of a job loss experience, they can be much nicer people to be around. People who have been lucky enough not to experience it are very very lucky. Anyone who’s been in full employment throughout a recession are very lucky. And despite being brought up in a community that was broken due to unending job loss and having to deal with much social deprivation, nevertheless I am better off than my parents’ generation who went through the Great Depression of the 1920s & 1930s, World War & rationing. The Welfare State wasn’t created until 1948 in the UK. No matter how tough my life gets, it’s still better than the lives of my parents.

  14. I am coming into this a long time after it was posted but I was made redundant yesterday. I’d been with the company for nearly 3 years and really wanted to get more experience before ultimately moving to a new industry. Now I’m facing chasing a dream in a new industry but I know it will be a hard slog. I feel worried that I will have to fall back to an area where I have more experience. I’m only 24 hours in and it is hard. I also get upset at the insensitive comments friends and family make. Just because I get a payout doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter/hurt me.

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