Redundancy is now commonplace. For some it may be a blessed relief after months of uncertainty, for others it may just add salt to their wounds. A number of companies offer outplacement counselling.
However, many of those in the industry can find themselves in similar situations and not know really where or who to turn to, particularly with so many of our roles within companies changing, losing your job in such a way can be soul-destroying and demoralising.
If you do find yourself in this position, here are some tips to help you reassess your life and pick yourself up.
* Redundancy is a huge shock. It is compared with bereavement and divorce. Although these days there is little stigma in being made redundant, it does not reduce the personal and emotional stress that losing your job, your regular income, and your daily routine brings.
* If you are at home all day, it is very easy to lapse into total despondency; this may appear as not getting out of bed in the morning, not getting dressed, not eating properly, and sitting and watching TV all day. It can also severely affect your relationship with your partner, especially when they still have a job to go to.
* It is very important to maintain a daily routine. The first thing to do is get rid of your aggression and emotion, but try not to do this with the people around you, go and do some sport, go for a run or walk. As exercise releases the natural endorphins in your body, it will also help raise your mood. It is very easy to feel despondent, useless and unloved, but a simple activity like taking exercise as well as putting yourself first, changes all that. Solitary exercise also gives you time to think, time to plan, and should invigorate yourself into action.
* It is also important that you get out of the house every day, even if it is just for a short walk. The less you use your body, the less your body will want to do.
* Keep in touch with people who are still working, but remember that they are still in jobs and don’t have all day to chat on the phone. If you have contacts within the industry, use them; tell them you are looking for work, make sure that if you no longer see the trade press that someone can arrange for vacancies to be sent to you. Try to motivate yourself by spreading out the calls and contacts, so that even if you get a rejection letter from one vacancy, you already have an application in for another.
* Understand that you will be feeling the whole range of emotions, varying from total despair to euphoria and some days will be better than others. You will need to find things to get yourself through the bad days. Remember all those jobs at home that you put off because you were always working late or too tired? Well, now is your chance to do them. But if it is your partner who has lost their job, giving them a list of all the household tasks to do every day might seem like a good idea, but it can easily exasperate your partner’s self-doubt, instead offer them comfort and reassurance.
If you feel you have been treated unfairly and need some legal advice about your situation but you are not a member of the National Union of Journalists (Tel 020 7278 7916), then contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau, the CAB will also help you reschedule debts if you have to register as unemployed.
If you have been working in publishing for a year or more, BTBS The Book Trade Charity (Tel 01923 263128) can also help, and they can advise you if you are eligible for a retraining grant or other financial assistance.
As to the future and finding your new job, take time to reassess what it is that you want to do. Redundancy is often a time when people think about going freelance, but you have to bear in mind that very few freelancers make a fortune; most just earn enough to keep their head above water.
Think about the things that you enjoyed in your last job, about your likes and dislikes. Did you like working in a team? Or do you prefer working on your own? Do you like sitting at a desk? Do you like being in a corporate environment? Or do you prefer to be in an informal workplace? Think about what you want to do in a new job, the same or something different? Had you not been made redundant, what was your career plan? Where did you want to be in five years time and how were you going to get there? Why should this temporary blip make your career plan any different? You might have to diversify for a while but any experience is valuable. What better way to apply for a vacancy that advertises ‘must work well under pressure and adapt to change’ than by demonstrating that you have dealt with the personal pressures of change.