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10 tips to cope with redundancy

Dealing with depression, debt and redundancy
WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

Redundancy can shake your world. Losing your job can hit you hard on different levels.

On the practical side you'll have less money coming in, bills to pay and the possibility of getting into debt. Being told you are surplus to requirements can take a heavy emotional toll too. It may feel like a personal rejection. Losing your job for some people can feel like a loss of identity.

Redundancy tends to hit you in stages from the first feelings of shock and licking your wounds to the point where you are in a positive frame of mind and are ready for another challenge. That process may take a while but if you approach your situation in the right way with support and a level head you'll come out the other side. You may even find redundancy is the best thing that's ever happened to you.

1. Accept your feelings

Whether redundancy has come as a bolt from the blue or if you were half expecting the axe to fall you are bound to have intense emotions at first.

"It's a huge loss for most people," says Christine Northam, counsellor for Relate. "You go through a cycle of shock then anger followed by guilt and self-blame. You ask yourself 'Why me? What did I do wrong?'"

"It's a period of disorganisation and detachment that can lead to despair, then gradually it's a swing back into looking at your situation in a more positive way," adds Christine.

2. Don't take it personally

It may feel like a slap in the face but try not to take it personally. There are strict rules surrounding redundancy. People can't be made redundant for spurious reasons. It's the position that is being made redundant not you as a person.

"Recognise you will probably get mixed emotions. It may feel very personal, like a rejection, but remember it is a business decision not about you," says Corinne Mills, MD, Personal Career Management, and a leading career coach in the UK.

"Accept it. You may prefer for it not to have happened but redundancies happen all of the time, plenty of people are made redundant many times over so there's no stigma attached to it. It's commonplace," adds Corinne.

3. Know your rights

Make sure your redundancy is for a fair reason and that you haven't been discriminated against. Your employer is required to follow certain rules if they are making people redundant like consulting with the people concerned and trying to avoid compulsory redundancies.

See if you qualify for redundancy pay. If you have worked for an employer continuously for more than 2 years you will qualify. How much you get depends on a number of things, such as how long you have worked at the company and your age. You may get extra redundancy pay on top of your statutory redundancy pay if it says so in your contract of employment.

The Citizens Advice can help explain your rights. It also has an online guide to help you work out what money you are owed.

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