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Bricks and the City – Light at the end of the R shaped tunnel
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Bricks and the City – Light at the end of the R shaped tunnel

It may not be obvious from the title of this blog but today I’m writing about life after redundancy. Whilst I have not been made redundant myself, I am conscious that there are a lot of people in the industry who have.

Recent statistics in Building Magazine stated that 25,000 jobs had been lost in the final quarter of last year and since September 2007 there has been a 15% drop in the workforce which equates to 380,000 jobs lost.

Hopefully the green shoots are starting to come through but there are still companies going into receivership and there are people out there in the industry who are likely feeling scared and uncertain of their future. Out of all of my blog posts and the information I have put on here so far, I genuinely hope this is referred to the least but based on my ethos of one piece of information helping one person, here goes………

Having searched the tinterweb for a few hours now in my quest to find out information there is a lot of stuff out there. First of all the Construction Industry Council have a booklet entitled 42_CIC_SurvivingRedundancyToolkit_2011final.pdf. Whilst there is a lot of practical advice in there about the legal and financial aspects with links to websites to find further information, what about the emotional and psychological side of things?

Reassuringly some of the professional bodies such as CIOB, RICS, RIBA etc have benevolent funds offering counselling and practical help and advice for people who are facing redundancy. In a recent article in the March edition of the East Midlands RICS Surveyor magazine, an RICS member who had experienced redundancy talked about the support he had received from his local RICS network. If you are not a member of a professional body, it is still important to ask for help where available through your own networks and contacts, someone may be able to offer support, advice or may know of an opportunity elsewhere.

There is also lots of useful information in this CIOB document about coping with the stress of it and building up resilience.

Many of those who have experienced it have said that it is like akin to a bereavement, especially if your whole identity is linked to your job. How many times do we meet people for the first time and ask them what they do as if it is the key to who that person is?

One of the best articles I read on this topic was in the Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2009/jan/12/redundancy-advice

Cary Cooper who is the professor of organisational psychology at Lancaster University was quoted as saying that it is psychologically better to lose your job now rather than in more affluent times simply because there are so many people involved, you can still feel rejection but can rationalise it be saying that it’s just the time in which we live in and you’re not alone.

Cooper also talks about the most important coping strategy which is to sit down and reflect on what your skills are before you start looking for a new job or trying to get training. This links into my blog post on resilience and an exercise I talked about called the Achievement List where you list everything you have achieved in your life so far. This could be useful if you are thinking about changing your career, something may be unearthed from years ago that may help you in a possible directional change.

Another really powerful exercise I have used with coachees is the timeline exercise which I have likened to the Hollywood walk of fame. If you transport your self back to key points in your career where you were happy in your job, really engaged with what you were doing, felt motivated and in your flow and were achieving great results, what were the characteristics of you at that stage? what skills were you using? how did you feel about yourself? At each stage I make a note of what the coachee is saying about that particular point in time and reflect back to them afterwards. Once you’ve collected up all of your ‘Hollywood Stars’ you can think about looking ahead to the future and how the skills and experiences that you have can be used moving forwards.

One option may be to set up your own business which is a blog topic in itself!

I appreciate that this a massive and sensitive subject to write about so I will leave it there but if people do want to share their experiences and what has worked for them, please feel free to leave me a comment and I hope those of you who are going through this are finding light at the end of the tunnel.

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