Whether the company you were employed by has gone bust or is just making necessary cuts, being made redundant hurts!
There are the obvious factors such as financial worries, fear of change and not knowing what will come next, we all like security and knowing where the money is coming from to pay the mortgage but for me redundancy hurts deeper than most other financial strains…..one minute you are happy in your job and the next it is taken away and you are thrown into a whirlwind of uncertainty. It is an anxiety inducing situation, humans love routine and when somebody disrupts that it rarely sits well.
Redundancy is an emotional roller coaster especially when you have been ‘selected’ and it isn’t a full business closure. Rejection, we don’t like rejection. It is a bit like a one sided relationship breakdown……..you know the one where you thought everything was rosy but then the other person shocks you with ‘I am not happy’…….it sends your mind into a spiraling shock and makes you question everything about yourself!
I guess that is the key, redundancy makes you question everything about YOURSELF, you go to the meetings, you here the explanations of the selection processes, you listen, hopefully from a business perspective you can understand the decision but somehow it still feels ever so personal.
I have been made redundant once before, I was young, I had worked my way up in a chain of pubs from being a teenage waitress to being a supervisor and from there the owner spotted something in me and pulled me into the office, ‘My bookkeeper is leaving, he is going to show you everything he knows and I want you to learn how to do the payroll and manage the finances of the business. Are you game?’ Erm……….I’m 17 years old I’m half way through my A levels and I have no idea what I want to do with my life…….yeah I am game, lets do this (17 year old me dropping out of school much to my fathers dismay and entering a world that unbeknown to me would form the rest of my career).
So I started to learn about Sage, about bookkeeping, about payroll, about running a business and how the money worked……..sadly, that chain of pubs went under (it wasn’t because I’d taken on the financial side — honest!) But from that year or so prior to my redundancy that I spent in the deep end learning the ins and outs of business finance I discovered what I wanted to do with the rest of my life! The liquidators came in and after a few weeks of dealings they offered me a job, wow, I was 18 being made redundant and then being offered a job that entailed something along the lines of going into failing pubs and helping them to pull through. They offered me a sum of money that seemed shockingly high AND a golf — a golf — wow! I was driving a mini metro at the time that was older than me! A VW Golf had always been my dream car!
Did I take the job? No! Why? I had just entered a relationship that, at the time, I thought would last for eternity and racing up and down the country spending nights away in the aforementioned pubs didn’t seem to fit the life plan of wanting to start a family etc etc. I rejected the job offer but took from it a sense of self belief and a huge confidence boost, they offered 18 year old me a whacking salary for my age AND a Golf — wow!
So, the bookkeeper I had taken over from at the pubs had connections in practice and he called me when he heard of the pubs going bust, ‘I know of a practice that needs an apprentice, I could put in a good word for you?’ It sounded good, the money wasn’t great but they would put me through my qualifications and take me from bookkeeper to accountant. ‘Let’s do it’. I walked the interview, the recommendation meant a lot to the firm and I wasn’t nervous, I was 18 and had no real financial worries so it seemed like a great opportunity.
Indeed it was a great move, I spent 5 years at that practice and qualified with the AAT in 2012 (I also become a mother in 2012 — that was a busy and exciting year!), I learnt more than I had ever learnt before and found such a passion for accountancy! My father even started to agree that dropping out of 6th form wasn’t such a bad move for me after all!
From there I did another 5 years at a different practice (the job role suited my new life as a mother better) but I am not going to talk about the 5 years at the next firm right now because that is a different chapter that very much deserves its own write up!
In 2018 my career aspirations changed slightly and I moved firms again, to a slightly larger practice whereby I ended up working part time after the first few months, deciding to chase my real dream of running my own accountancy business.
I was doing 15 contracted hours per week and setting up my own business SJCM Accountancy, the firm I was contracted 15 hours with were good to me and respected my decision, they didn’t want to loose me and thought 15 hours was better than nothing (confidence boost once again) so it was working well for all parties — happy days!
Then Covid happened (my personal journey of that roller coaster is again, a story for another time) but after a couple of months of working from home I got the dreaded phone call ‘We are making some changes’……………oh dear! Long story short, the firm wanted more of me, they offered me a full time contract with a managerial title, the other option was to say goodbye!
Emotional turmoil time, worry, fear of the unknown, was my own firm doing well enough to pay the bills? Have I put in too much effort this far to backtrack into full time employment? And most importantly for me, would full time employment fit around being a Mum?
I turned down their offer. I was made redundant. With just under two years service meaning no redundancy pay, I felt like every bit of financial security I had was being ripped from me. Today is my official last day of employment with them. We have parted on great terms and I may well be doing some consultancy work with them in the future but here I am, fully self employed, the flexibility I wanted is now a full time way of life.
Am I scared? Yes! Am I enthusiastic? Also yes! Do I feel ‘rejected’? I did…..but then I took a step back and thought hold on a minute they wanted MORE of me, not less! I couldn’t fit to their requirements so they said goodbye. Business is brutal. But this could just be the push I needed to take a leap I hadn’t quite dared to take.
EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON! SOMETIMES WE HAVE TO TRUST THE WORLD AND IT’S MYSTERIOUS WAYS AND KEEP IN THE BACK OF OUR MINDS THAT THE ONLY WAY IS UP!
Did I mention that I now drive a Golf?
Take the curve ball, embrace the change, close the last chapter and start the next. Be scared, be disappointed, feel anxious, feel sad, go through every emotion you need to go through and then get back up. Straighten your crown. Things don’t always go as planned but more often than not there is a reason for that……………take a deep breath or two and time to think about your next move and then go for it — don’t let redundancy knock your confidence too much………..it is NOT a personal attack!
Samantha Mitcham — 06.08.20