What They Don't Tell You About Being Made Redundant

Photo by Roman Bozhko on Unsplash

Week 1

I found out I might lose my job on a Wednesday. That Thursday and Friday were a write off. I was shocked, devastated and angry all in one. On Saturday I started seeing the opportunity, and on Sunday I relished it.

Thats not to say I didn't still feel ALL the feelings right up until the end of the next week. It was an emotional rollercoaster from disbelief and betrayal, to relief and elation. 

Losing your job when you've been working from home for 6 months is also weird as. You're not in the normal routine of seeing all your colleagues and friends every day anyway, so losing access to your work accounts doesn't quite have the same finality as leaving your equipment and friends behind at the office. I'm not quite sure if I liked it better or not. I've never really liked all the attention a leaver gets on their last day, or have I?

Being made redundant for me was a complex phenomenon that brought up all sorts of feelings: 

  • numbness (so what now?)

  • anger (it's nothing personal, I know, but come on!)

  • rejection (so you're saying I'm not enough?)

  • abandonment (what am I gonna do without you?)

  • loss (what about my team, my people?)

  • grief (I will never see them again)

  • disbelief (I finally landed in a job I loved and now?)

But also:

  • excitement (this is an opportunity to learn more about the new field I've just started to fall in love with #UX)

  • elation (more daytime kitten snuggles)

  • a sense of freedom (I get to do what I want and when I want it, and spend weekday afternoons with friends or family if I want to)

  • relief in a way (I had tried to leave the company before but fear held me back…)

The process itself wasn't actually that bad apart from the waiting around and feeling like your stuck in limbo. Not being able to say anything to any of my work friends is also not how I roll so I just struggled through that week by not talking to them at all which I think raised suspicions. I just didn't even know what I'd say. "Hi I might lose my job but it's okay."?! It wasn't, and I was still sorting through all my emotions and couldn't have had a conversation about it anyway. But I digress.

The process was made easier by an HR Director I felt really cared about how it was affecting me, and tried her best to find me an alternative role in the company. In the end, that didn't work out but I saw how hard she tried and it comforted me a) that I told her what I needed so we both did our best, and b) that she cared enough to try and deliver my wish. I've not had (m)any dealings with HR in this kind of situation and I'm grateful my first experience was a positive one albeit the circumstances.

Week 2

The following Wednesday my redundancy was made official in that I decided to accept it. There was still a few practicalities to sort out but there was no going back now.

I spent that Thursday and Friday coming up with an action plan for what to do with my new free time. I'm not someone who can sit and mope around feeling sorry for themselves. I need a plan. Even if I change it along the way, it makes me feel…well, in control I suppose. Like I have thought about all my options and chosen what feels right for me and that I can realistically achieve what I'm setting out to do. Doing this always puts me at ease.

In my most recent role I got to delve into some user experience. I took a course in lockdown because what else were we all meant to do? It got me very excited about the fact that UX brings together my passions for human behaviour, tech and design. I have daydreamed of working on technology that actually improves people's lives, especially in the social and wellbeing spheres. I haven't got the answer yet but now I have time and (head)space to think about it!

That Saturday I wanted to pick up my volunteer training for Shout again but honestly, I felt drained. The adrenaline rush had finally subsided. I'd slept properly again but I was exhausted. I took the day off to recharge because I can't help others with their mental health if I’m not well myself, and in the end had to make the difficult decision to drop out of the training all together. I felt I needed to focus on my professional development to equip myself with the right tools for my upcoming job search. I had so many things I wanted to do so I felt it would be too much… I still feel guilty about that decision but I’m planning to return to Shout again later if they’ll have me.

Still Week 2 (it was a busy week)

Having a look online for professional development courses I came across a handful of websites that really stood out to me:

I researched their courses and because I don't know how long I may be out of a job, I decided to build my own program out of a selection of what they offer.

I started with some email short courses to reconfirm that a) I did like UX and b) to learn how to use Adobe XD for designing and prototyping. (If you knew me you would not be surprised that I'm working on a concept for an app already… I get excited!)

I then hemmed and hawed about whether I should invest in a CareerFoundry course but I couldn't justify the spending, and felt it wouldn't fit into my action plan timeline as well as other options. I want to start applying for jobs in December/January if I can and this was a 5-month course… I also like learning from others and whilst the course was advertised as a solid portfolio course, I wanted to aim for Junior roles anyway as I "learn better by doing" as you say.

Instead I signed up for the UX Bootcamp by the IDF. An 8 week(ish) course with a mentor and working on 1-2 solid portfolio projects. I've told you I've jumped the gun and have started before I've even meet the mentor. I'm trying to pace myself but if I have an idea, it needs to come out of my head and onto paper at least. 

And just for fun I've also signed up to a short coding introduction course (SheCodes) and a design introduction course (DesignLab). Because both those things make me giddy, and can't hurt with my overall understanding of the processes of UX Research and Design (kind of…but I don't need an excuse to do something that excites me!).

Why am I telling you this?

Because I want you to know you have options! Don't stick your head in the sand. Take control of your future. Get excited by the prospect of taking charge of your "career".*

My Vision

I am not a person who has (a) vision. Or at least that's what I thought. 

If you've ever heard of Insights Discovery, I'm a Blue/Green. I like rules and logic but am also very caring. My personality type is INFJ, I'm an Advocate. 

That makes me a fiercely loyal friend (or employee) who will fight your corner no matter what (unless you break the rules in which case I'll empathise but tell you kindly what I think). 

Right now the world is in crisis. For many, many reasons. But my main bug bear for a few years has been social media. I'm not immune to it, I still have Instagram and TikTok (omg, cats!) but it's widely accepted that it makes us feel awful. We compare our not so perfect lives to highlight reels of other people's. You know the drill, I don't need to say more. (Watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix if you please…)

I've been advocating for mental wellbeing for years. I dance a delicate dance with my own mental health as many of us do. 

This redundancy (it feels like a dirty word but I am reclaiming it!) is giving me the momentum to start exploring how we may get ourselves out of this mess by building better technology. I won't claim I'm the next Zuckerberg because I sure as heck haven't got a clue how we'll do it yet BUT I'm on a quest to find out.

Week 3

I have started with my Action Plan Regime which includes going to the gym and plenty of cat downtime - and I must say, I feel amazing. I feel excited. I feel I have a purpose. I feel like I can do this! 

And if I ask you to take part in a bit of user research, please don't say no! 😉 Let's change how tech makes us feel - together 💪

Redundancy - it's not all bad! It's what you make it...

If you've read this far - THANK YOU  🙏


*I've never liked this term, it sounds pushy and unkind to me. I associate it with people walking over you to move up the ranks... I just want to do a job that I like, and that makes me feel good about the time I spend doing it. Maybe that sounds utopian but if you're not striving for your ideal scenario then what's the point?

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