The emotions of redundancy. Why being in career transition can feel like an emotional rollercoaster

Why redundancy and being in career transition can feel like such an emotional rollercoaster.

Redundancy can be such a challenging time in our lives. All the hard work, projects, teams we loved working with goes out of the window, as well as our routine of getting up and going to work. 

Redundancy can feel a really confusing time for many. Why? Because it makes many of us question, “What’s next?”, "What can I do?", "What do I even want to do?".

Look at William Bridges’ model on transitions and you will see there are 3 phases to transition; 

and no, the start of transition is not the happy new beginning. It’s the ending, the letting go, the loss, the reminiscing of, “What was,” and “What on earth is next?”

There is an element of grief, which is a time filled with mixed emotions. 

The second phase to transition is the neutral zone. The step between the ending and new beginning . I always picture this as a bridge.  For clients I have met who welcomed redundancy, because it was the right time for them, it is a more robust bridge. 

However, for clients who have not welcomed redundancy with open arms and because of the emotions that follow redundancy, the bridge can feel pretty wobbly.  This is because the neutral zone can be a confusing and anxious time, a time for reflection, wondering what to do next, wondering when you will reach the end of the bridge to the exciting new beginning. 

You will reach that new beginning. Rest assured, from me to you, from someone who has supported thousands of people through redundancy, you will absolutely reach that new beginning. 

William Bridges - Transitions

But this is a great time for reflection and exploration and it is important to know that these mixed emotions of grief, anxiety, hope, fear, are all normal. 

So here are some things to consider: -

Although some days may be filled with sadness and loss, focus on the things that are within your control.

  • There is no going back, only forwards. 
  • The amazing team you had, you can still keep in touch with them and continue your friendships. And there will be a new team that you will soon be part of. 
  • All that work you worked so hard on, taught you amazing skills and expertise that you can take with you to your next chapter. 
  • This could be a great time to try something new. To test the water , learn a new skill , try a new career path, change industry, take a contract role whilst you consider your next step … there is nothing to say that you have to jump straight into a job search looking for exactly the same as you did before. 

As C.S Lewis famously quotes  :-

And please remember, you are not starting with nothing. You are starting with so much experience.