I learned many lessons in 2020 – some of the most difficult and valuable when I was retrenched. Unless you’ve been there yourself, it’s difficult to describe the sick sort of what now? feeling that follows the words “we’re going to have to let you go”. I’m thankfully on the other side of it now and while it was by no means an easy experience, these are my 5 big takeaways from it.
1. Retrenchment it always a possibility – process it and try to move on
The pandemic and subsequent lockdown have wreaked havoc on the economy and many companies have had to make difficult decisions regarding their staff. I was unfortunately one of the unlucky ones who lost their jobs. My first step after finding out was to deal with the shock and the grief – reminding myself that it wasn’t personal or caused by something I did. Sometimes people get retrenched and unfortunately this time it was my turn. Once I’d dealt with this, it made it easier to go into my job searches with confidence and optimism.
2. Leave well
Making sure that you leave your previous company with bridges still firmly intact is a vital part of the process of finding something new. If your references aren’t good, it’s going to be very difficult to convince a new employer to take you on. It was especially important to me, therefore, that I had to work hard in that last month of notice with the same level of quality as I’d shown before I was retrenched.
3. Don’t panic
Knowing that at some point you’re going to be without income is a scary concept. Letting it take over, however, will make you too paralysed with fear to do anything, or so panicked that you’ll apply for roles that aren’t the right fit. I used my time not working to breathe, remind myself of what my skills and passions are, and applied for things from there. It makes for a much calmer and more productive job search.
4. Try to stick to your routine
With suddenly having so much time to yourself, it can be tempting to let bad habits slip in or good habits fall away. I found that trying as far as possible to wake up at the same time every morning, eating meals at the times I usually would and spending my usual working hours on my job searches or other productive tasks made the switch back to working much easier than it could have been.
5. Keep your head up
The process of looking for work can be traumatic in many ways. Hearing no, or worse, not hearing anything at all, can take its toll on your mental (and sometimes physical) health. I tried as far as possible to stay positive by reminding myself of all the jobs I’d successfully held before. I also tried taking stock of what I could take away from each unsuccessful interview or job application. Looking at it less like failure and more like things to improve upon helped me keep a positive mindset. I could then apply for new roles feeling excited and not despondent.
Everyone’s experience is different, but I hope these 5 lessons help in whatever way they can. The most important thing is to never give up. There is always an employer out there looking for talent and a personality like yours.
Happy job hunting!
Catherine Goldie is the Communications Engineer of Job Crystal (www.jobcrystal.co.za) – to follow more articles go to https://www.linkedin.com/company/jobcrystal/
If you need to find out what you should be earning go to https://jobcrystal.co.za/salary-survey/