So you’re of a ‘certain age’, have worked all your adult life, and suddenly you are confronted with redundancy. What do you do? How do you cope?
Former BBC London and Evening Standard reporter ADRIAN WARNER, left, offers his top tips on Recovering From Redundancy
For the five years or so before the London Olympics, it might have seemed to some avid consumers of local news that Adrian Warner was never off our television screens, his voice frequently heard on local and national BBC radio stations.
And then… he vanished.
After those glorious Games of 2012, Warner, a former international reporter for global sports agency Reuters and the Evening Standard’s sports news correspondent for almost a decade, was deemed to be surplus to requirements at BBC London, and was made compulsorily redundant as part of cost-cutting at the Corporation five years ago.
In Recovering from Redundancy: a guide to surviving a layoff and changing your life, Warner writes candidly about how tough it was, in his 50s, to walk into a Job Centre to claim unemployment benefit for the first time in his working life.
“As a journalist, I had interviewed prime ministers, broadcast live to audiences of more than 1million people and faced the pressure of writing important stories for newspapers in 10 minutes.
“But none of that compared to that moment, in terms of nerves and a feeling of dread and desperation. As I locked my bike up against the railing outside the Job Centre and walked through the door, a feeling of increasing nausea and nerves engulfed me.”
Warner has used the experiences of a tough struggle to produce a handbook to help people deal with the emotions and practical challenges of a layoff.
The book provides advice on everything, from handling redundancy anger and dealing with former colleagues, to producing a CV which can beat the “bots” of an increasingly computerised job-hunting world.
The book has 12 chapters on key challenges. Here Warner, now a university lecturer, media trainer and part-time backing singer, offers Inside Croydon’s loyal reader his top five tips on how to cope with redundancy:
DEALING WITH ANGER
I was really angry about my redundancy because I felt I had done a good job at the BBC. Everybody I talked to about redundancy felt the same way and some were still furious years after they lost their job. It will take time for you to get over your anger but you have to try to control it gradually. Companies and organisations do not hire people carrying emotional baggage because it gets in the way of their judgement. Accept your anger will not go overnight and work on it day-to-day.
HANDLING YOUR FORMER COLLEAGUES
Many of your ex-workmates may struggle to know what to say to you after you have been made redundant and some may even keep their distance. Don’t take this too personally. They just don’t know how to react, so give them time. I found messages of support came in conversations months after I was shown the door. But you do need to make a clean break from your colleagues, so avoid too many social gatherings.
MAKING A FRESH START
Getting a new job or changing direction in life needs planning. Don’t expect the phone to ring non-stop or your email inbox to be full of offers of jobs when people hear you are available. You have to make it ring. You have to send the first emails. Most importantly, you need to draw up a plan of action and think strategically about how all your skills can get you another role.
It is estimated that 70 per cent of jobs are never advertised at all. So, even though you need to be looking at job websites for vacancies, it is crucial to talk regularly to a lot of people in your industry to find out where there might be openings. In your initial chats, ask people for advice – not a job – and come away from every meeting with the name of another person to contact.
DEALING WITH 21st CENTURY JOB-HUNTING
Hunting for a new job has changed dramatically in the last decade and it can be a cold and brutal business. Develop a thick skin because you may get no replies or even acknowledgements from your applications, which can be demoralising. Also, be aware that computers – rather than people – may be assessing your CV, which means you must use the words in the job specifications in your application to beat the “bots”.
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