Amanda Lee is the Founder of The Broad Side and is currently the Music Director/Operations Manager at FOX FM in Melbourne.
Redundancy. I’ve been made redundant twice in my radio career and to put it quite frank, it’s crap! Yes, your employer says it’s not personal, it’s a business decision, but how can you not take it personally? If you were so brilliant at your job, they would fight for you and find another position for you right? Right!
When it happens, nothing that anyone can say makes it better. You hear all those clichés like ‘oh, it’s meant to be,’ ‘you’ll look back and see it was for the best,’ ‘there’s something better for you out there,’ blah blah blah. You just want to scream and shout, punch something, hopefully not them. It’s not fair, it makes you feel worthless and the last thing you want to hear are those clichés from people who have jobs.
You also don’t want to be asked at family functions ‘what are you up to these days?’ Of course during this stage you have 10 million family functions and you get over trying to explain that you’re ‘having a break.’ Instead you neck 10 bottles of champagne to get through each event.
The first time I was made redundant, I cried for days, ended up heading home to my family to work out what’s next? I was offered to stay on for two months but my thinking was hang on, I should be focussing my energy on finding myself another job, not on a job that I had just lost.
The second time took me totally by surprise and probably was the hardest time in my life. I was working for a company I loved dearly and I had put so much blood, sweat and tears into. I learnt afterwards, I actually made work my life which wasn’t ideal and after I lost my job, I felt totally lost and didn’t know what to do with my life.
Both times, I went through many stages of grief. Yes, you’ve lost something so you go through the grieving process:
Sleep: For pretty much for the first few weeks, you sleep. You’re exhausted and you sleep at all strange times. There’s a feeling of what do I have to get up for today, nothing, oh well better go back to sleep. From all the emotions swirling around also, you are literally tired.
Worthlessness: Your self esteem takes a pretty big hit and during this time, it can take some more blows. You might get rejected from a job you’ve applied for, there are no jobs out there for you, you may hear someone you’ve once worked with has given you a bad reference and you miss out on a job, all your friends are working and going places – gees, makes you just want to hide under a rock doesn’t it.
Time to get fit: After you go through the sleep stage, you actually want to start getting back on track. Time for some fitness, healthy eating, and getting back out there seeing people, networking, looking at what’s next.
Sure you’ll have your days and you’ll go 10 steps backwards but having a goal helps.
I’ve had a few friends, great ladies in the media who are immensely talented, who have been made redundant this year and here’s the advice I gave them having gone through the experience:
Go through the process: You have lost something so you will grieve and that’s fine. Go through the motions of sleep, being angry, being disappointed, feeling better, hitting the gym daily, eating well, starting to see people, get yourself back on track. Just be kind to yourself and do what you have to, to get through it. Talk to your family and friends, others who have been through the same experience. You’re not the first person to be made redundant and you won’t be the last.
Buy a computer: This was probably one of the best things I did. I used some of my pay out money to buy myself a MAC so I could set up my own email and use to look for jobs or contact people to do some networking. It gave me some independence and it helped me to each day get up, and try to have a normal work day on my computer.
Networking: This is so important once you’re ready to start looking for a job again. Use your current contacts to network. I used to set up 3 coffee dates with people per week. This helped me to get out of the house but also talk to people and let them know you’re on the job hunt. They may not have something for you right then and there, but they may know other people who are looking for new employees and introduce you to them. Plus, talking… it really does help.
Job hunting: Especially in the media, this can send you mad. A lot of jobs aren’t advertised and it’s who you know to find out about these jobs. I would go crazy, each day checking every employment website for new jobs. I hated when my parents asked me ‘anything new out there today?’ NO!!! You can’t create jobs that just aren’t there. Network, keep in touch with people and occasionally check the job sites. When the right job comes along, you’ll find it and it’ll happen.
Try not blow all your pay out: Wish I knew this a little earlier both times. You see, I was bored with no job. And when I’m bored, I shop. And when I’m sad, I shop. I shopped a lot! Sure it made me feel better for a little while but in the long run, I should have put more of it away in a little savings fund for holidays, houses, etc. You live and learn. If you can, use that money for something grande in the future, not just for those new Jimmy Choos.
You know how I was talking about those terrible people with jobs using all those clichés you don’t want to hear? Well they weren’t so terrible. They were right. Hindsight is a powerful thing. Sure you don’t want to hear it at the time but things do work themselves out. And often they are for the best. I wouldn’t be where I am now, loving what I am doing and creating this website to help other women in the media, if I hadn’t gone through all those experiences. Sure some of those experiences have been so crap, I’ve been the lowest I have ever been, but I’m really lucky I had friends and family to give me a buck up and get me positive again.
The most important lesson I learnt… don’t make work your life!!! It may not always be there but your friends and family will.