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In this blog post, I will describe what happened to me when my agency was suddenly downsized, and will offer some tips on how to take the catastrophe out of redundancy. When the Commonwealth Public Service job cuts started in late 2013, I used to laugh when people would ask me if I was worried about redundancy. “of course not,” I would say, “the government will always need legislative drafters. And besides, I’m blind, a woman., and a union delegate. They wouldn’t dare!” I couldn’t have been more wrong. One day, we were all called into a meeting and were told that our agency was going to cut the number of legislative drafters by half. We would all be interviewed for our current jobs, and those who were ranked in the top 50 % would keep their employment. The rest would be offered voluntary redundancies. After the meeting, I shut myself in my office and just sat there for half an hour, sipping water. I couldn’t think, and all my bravado had disappeared. Then the questions flooded in – why should I have to apply for a job that I already applied for and won? What happens if I’m not in the top 50 %? Should I take a package, or take my chances trying to find a job during the redeployment period? What happens if I can’t find a job? How will I pay the mortgage? Know That Your redundancy is not the catastrophe it feels like If you have just found out that you may be made redundant, I promise you you’ll get through it. I’m living proof! It may feel like the roof is falling in, but it’s just creaking ominously overhead, and you’ll be OK. When Applying For Jobs Give It Your All A couple of weeks after the announcement, I had to reapply for my job. I really struggled with the injustice of this, as I had applied for and won my job on merit 7 years before, and felt that I had gained 7 years of valuable experience, and was really quite good at my job. I fell into the trap of feeling that I didn’t really need to justify my case for keeping my job. When I had applied for, and won, jobs in the past, I had always approached the application and interview processes with the attitude that “this job is mine, and if I don’t get it, it’s my fault for not making the panel understand that I am the best person for this job” Unfortunately I wasn’t able to write my application with this attitude. The interview was even worse, and by the end, I almost felt like getting down on my knees and begging to stay. I hadn’t put my whole heart into the process, and this is one of the reasons why I was not successful in keeping my job. So, if you have to go through a “spill and fill” process as I did, or you decide to apply for another job, apply for it as if your life depended on it. Build up your belief in yourself, and convince yourself, and the panel, that you are the only one who can do this job. Give it your whole heart! Join Your Union I can’t tell you how grateful I was for the support of the CPSU. From the time I found out I had to reapply for my job until my last day at work, they were in almost daily contact with me, keeping me updated, and just seeing how I was. They also advised me on the interpretation of my Workplace Agreement, which was extremely helpful. The good thing is, even if you hadn’t been a union member like I had, you can always join as soon as you find out that things aren’t going as expected, and you will get help and support from day one of your membership. Consider All Your Options As I had not been successful in keeping my Job, I had to decide whether to take a voluntary redundancy, or stay on the redeployment list for up to 3 months until a job was found for me. Both options terrified me. I’d I’d specialised and was afraid I wouldn’t be able to go back to general law work, and there was a job freeze on at the time, so new jobs were few and far between. I was offered the opportunity to join a friend’s network marketing business, and this was the first time that I considered that perhaps I could do something outside of Government. With the help of a coach, I used an online tool called Career Storm Navigator, to assess my skills, strengths, values, style and goals, and consider what careers would suit me. It was only then that I realised just how many options I had. I am now licensed to guide others through this tool, so please contact me if this interests you. Seek Financial Advice This is extremely important, whether you are considering taking a voluntary redundancy or not. Make sure that you get advice from someone who is qualified in both tax and superannuation matters. There are agencies who are not linked with superannuation companies, but who can provide unbiased advice. I used Stateplus for my superannuation advice, and Lifestyle Advisers for my tax and other financial advice. Make A Budget I looked at my finances over the previous two years, and worked out what I could do without, for a substantial period of time, and what I couldn’t. By the end, I had worked out, down to the last cent, what I could sensibly live on. This will show you how long your savings will support you while you look for work, and will also give you a good idea of the minimum income you will need to earn. Find Good Coping Mechanisms The period between the day I found out that I had not been successful in keeping my job, and the day I accepted my voluntary redundancy were extremely hard. I was feeling all sorts of emotions ranging from depression and rejection to anger and loneliness, and the reactions of my colleagues towards me were equally varied. My employer had an Employee Assistance Program, and I was able to obtain free counselling from them, and was given some great coping strategies. So see if your employer has such a program, and get in touch with your Employee Assistance Program provider for help. Take Advantage Of Everything That Is available To You Look closely at the provisions of your Workplace Agreement as this will provide for any entitlements you may be eligible for when facing redundancy I was, for example, able to get reimbursed for the cost of obtaining financial advice, and my employer also paid for some short retraining courses that interested me. This May be An Opportunity For A fresh Start At the time, I felt that my redundancy was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. Now, looking back, it was the best thing that has ever happened to me. Why redundancy was the push I needed to follow my dreams and start my own business. What Next? If you are facing redundancy or job loss and don’t know what to do next, please just reach out to me.

How To Take The Catastrophe Out Of Redundancy

In this blog post, I will describe what happened to me when my agency was suddenly downsized, and will offer some tips on how to take the catastrophe out of redundancy.

When the Commonwealth Public Service job cuts started in late 2013, I used to laugh when people would ask me if I was worried about redundancy. “of course not,” I would say, “the government will always need legislative drafters. And besides, I’m blind, a woman., and a union delegate. They wouldn’t dare!” I couldn’t have been more wrong.

One day, we were all called into a meeting and were told that our agency was going to cut the number of legislative drafters by half. We would all be interviewed for our current jobs, and those who were ranked in the top 50 % would keep their employment. The rest would be offered voluntary redundancies.

After the meeting, I shut myself in my office and just sat there for half an hour, sipping water. I couldn’t think, and all my bravado had disappeared.

Then the questions flooded in – why should I have to apply for a job that I already applied for and won? What happens if I’m not in the top 50 %? Should I take a package, or take my chances trying to find a job during the redeployment period? What happens if I can’t find a job? How will I pay the mortgage?

Know That Your redundancy is not the catastrophe it feels like

If you have just found out that you may be made redundant, I promise you you’ll get through it. I’m living proof!

It may feel like the roof is falling in, but it’s just creaking ominously overhead, and you’ll be OK.

When Applying For Jobs Give It Your All

A couple of weeks after the announcement, I had to reapply for my job. I really struggled with the injustice of this, as I had applied for and won my job on merit 7 years before, and felt that I had gained 7 years of valuable experience, and was really quite good at my job. I fell into the trap of feeling that I didn’t really need to justify my case for keeping my job.

When I had applied for, and won, jobs in the past, I had always approached the application and interview processes with the attitude that “this job is mine, and if I don’t get it, it’s my fault for not making the panel understand that I am the best person for this job” Unfortunately I wasn’t able to write my application with this attitude. The interview was even worse, and by the end, I almost felt like getting down on my knees and begging to stay. I hadn’t put my whole heart into the process, and this is one of the reasons why I was not successful in keeping my job.

So, if you have to go through a “spill and fill” process as I did, or you decide to apply for another job, apply for it as if your life depended on it. Build up your belief in yourself, and convince yourself, and the panel, that you are the only one who can do this job. Give it your whole heart!

Join Your Union

I can’t tell you how grateful I was for the support of the CPSU. From the time I found out I had to reapply for my job until my last day at work, they were in almost daily contact with me, keeping me updated, and just seeing how I was. They also advised me on the interpretation of my Workplace Agreement, which was extremely helpful.

The good thing is, even if you hadn’t been a union member like I had, you can always join as soon as you find out that things aren’t going as expected, and you will get help and support from day one of your membership.

Consider All Your Options

As I had not been successful in keeping my Job, I had to decide whether to take a voluntary redundancy, or stay on the redeployment list for up to 3 months until a job was found for me. Both options terrified me. I’d I’d specialised and was afraid I wouldn’t be able to go back to general law work, and there was a job freeze on at the time, so new jobs were few and far between.

I was offered the opportunity to join a friend’s network marketing business, and this was the first time that I considered that perhaps I could do something outside of Government.

With the help of a coach, I used an online tool called Career Storm Navigator, to assess my skills, strengths, values, style and goals, and consider what careers would suit me. It was only then that I realised just how many options I had. I am now licensed to guide others through this tool, so please contact me if this interests you.

Seek Financial Advice

This is extremely important, whether you are considering taking a voluntary redundancy or not. Make sure that you get advice from someone who is qualified in both tax and superannuation matters. There are agencies who are not linked with superannuation companies, but who can provide unbiased advice. I used Stateplus for my superannuation advice, and Lifestyle Advisers for my tax and other financial advice.

Make A Budget

I looked at my finances over the previous two years, and worked out what I could do without, for a substantial period of time, and what I couldn’t. By the end, I had worked out, down to the last cent, what I could sensibly live on. This will show you how long your savings will support you while you look for work, and will also give you a good idea of the minimum income you will need to earn.

Find Good Coping Mechanisms

The period between the day I found out that I had not been successful in keeping my job, and the day I accepted my voluntary redundancy were extremely hard. I was feeling all sorts of emotions ranging from depression and rejection to anger and loneliness, and the reactions of my colleagues towards me were equally varied.

My employer had an Employee Assistance Program, and I was able to obtain free counselling from them, and was given some great coping strategies. So see if your employer has such a program, and get in touch with your Employee Assistance Program provider for help.

Take Advantage Of Everything That Is available To You

Look closely at the provisions of your Workplace Agreement as this will provide for any entitlements you may be eligible for when facing redundancy I was, for example, able to get reimbursed for the cost of obtaining financial advice, and my employer also paid for some short retraining courses that interested me.

This May be An Opportunity For A fresh Start

At the time, I felt that my redundancy was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. Now, looking back, it was the best thing that has ever happened to me. Why redundancy was the push I needed to follow my dreams and start my own business.

What Next?

If you are facing redundancy or job loss and don’t know what to do next, please just reach out to me.

Can You See Your Dream Clearly?

Moving from Corporate to Business

In recent posts, I’ve been covering questions that you can aske to see whether a dream is worth pursuing. This post will cover the clarity question i.e. do you see your dream clearly?

Mike Hyatt, the president and CEO of Thomas Nelson, Inc., once said:

“What you need is a vision that is so big that it is compelling, not only to others, but to you. If it’s not compelling, you won’t have the motivation to stay the course, and you won’t be able to recruit others to help you. … If you have a clear vision, you will eventually attract the right strategy. If you don’t have a clear vision, no strategy will save you.”

When I first joined the John Maxwell team, I didn’t have a clear vision. It was very broad. I knew I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives through coaching, training and speaking, but that was all I knew.

It wasn’t until some time later that I got a clear vision of what I wanted to do. I was thinking back to when I was going through the redundancy process, and how lost i felt. I didn’t know what to do first, or who to turn to for advice. I also felt unwanted and devalued.

As I was thinking about this, I realised what I wanted to do. I wanted to help people who were going through a similar situation to the one I had gone through. I also wanted to help people who had decided that they wanted to change their job, but weren’t sure what to do next.

As my thoughts became clear, I got this feeling in the pit of my stomach. It was a mixture of excitement and expectation, and I wanted to run out and tell someone that I knew what I wanted to do!

While I didn’t immediately have a complete start to finish strategy, I knew what I had to start with. I had to find the people who I wanted to help, and let them know what I could do for them.

Every time I took a new step towards my dream, the next step would become clear to me. I also found that I was able to more clearly articulate what I wanted to do to my friends, family and colleagues, who gave me a much more positive response than when I told them that I “wanted to make a difference”.

Can you see your dream clearly? Please let me know in the comments section, or if you prefer, please contact me directly.

I will be running a mastermind on “Put Your Dream To the Test” at the end of August. Participants will have the chance to exchange thoughts and ideas, learn from each other’s experiences, and put their dreams to the test.

If you are interested in participating in this mastermind, or would like more information, please contact me. Places are limited, and will be filled on a first come, first serve basis, so please act now to avoid disappointment.

Are You Compelled To Follow Your Dream?

Moving from Corporate to Business

In my last post, I asked if you had a dream, and mentioned that there were 10 questions that you could ask yourself to determine whether your dream is worth pursuing. This post will deal with one of those questions which is, the question of passion, i.e. does your dream compel you to follow it?

In his book, “Put Your Dream To The Test”, John Maxwell defines passion as:

”… an enthusiasm that not only gives you energy and focus in the present, but also gives you power to keep moving toward the future. It gives you fuel to pursue your dream.”

When I started my first business, after being made redundant, I thought that it was my passion. Everything was all shiny, new and exciting, and I had a great time. However, when things got tough, when I couldn’t find customers and didn’t meet my sales goals, I would get terribly discouraged and would stop working in my business.

One christmas, I got together with a colleague and arranged a product launch. Between us, we invited about 100 people to the launch, but only a handful turned up. I was so upset, that I didn’t do any work in my business for over a week, and considered quitting altogether!

After doing some soul searching last year, I came to the conclusion that, while I loved the products, and enjoyed sharing them with others, it really wasn’t enough to keep me going, particularly when times were tough. I also discovered that my main motivation for continuing with the business was so that people wouldn’t say to me “I told you you’d never succeed at that”. I still exclusively use the products, and am always recommending them to others, but it’s not my passion.

However, in my current business, when things don’t go the way I want, I may still get discouraged for a few hours. But, sometimes I don’t get discouraged at all, and I’m increasingly seeing these times as opportunities to learn, or change direction.

In my first business, i used to toss and turn at night, and try and figure out how I could get more sales. In my current business, I wake suddenly from a sound sleep, with a great idea for a new blog post, or a revelation about how I can better serve my customers. Sometimes I get so excited that I can’t get back to sleep!

It’s almost like my passion won’t let me give up! It’s what keeps me going through the tough times, towards the success of achieving my dream.

Are you passionate about your dream? Does it compel you to follow it? Please let me know in the comments section, or if you prefer, please contact me directly.

I will be running a mastermind on “Put Your Dream To the Test” at the end of August. Participants will have the chance to exchange thoughts and ideas, learn from each other’s experiences, and put their dreams to the test.

If you are interested in participating in this mastermind, or would like more information, please contact me. Places are limited, and will be filled on a first come, first serve basis, so please act now to avoid disappointment.

Facing Redundancy – Where To Go For Help

Moving from Corporate to Business

In my previous post, I started to tell you about what happened to me when I found out that I may be made redundant. In this post, I want to recommend to you the best sources of help and advice when facing redundancy, particularly if you want to keep your job.

Firstly, I would highly recommend that you join your union. they were an immense source of support and advice to me. Believe me, they won’t hold it against you if you join at this stage, and can be an excellent source of legal, financial, and other advice, including assisting you in interpreting the redundancy provisions of your workplace agreement.

Secondly, even if you’ve decided to take a package, it is essential to seek financial advice, preferably from a qualified financial adviser who is an expert in tax and superannuation. If your adviser is not an expert in superannuation, there are agencies who provide unbiased advice on superannuation, as they are not linked with any superannuation schemes. The agency that provided very good advice to me was StatePlus. Your employer may even pay for you to obtain this advice.

Thirdly, the Employee Assistance Program can also provide free counselling, which can help a great deal in coping with the emotional response to what is happening. This is confidential and free, and your employer doesn’t need to know where you are going, just that you have an EAP appointment. I had one of these sessions, and found it very beneficial.

Lastly, look closely at your workplace agreement, as there may be provisions referring to other assistance your employer will provide you with when facing redundancy, such as retraining, and career counselling. I was able to do a couple of online courses on technical writing, and starting a business, and also worked with a great career counsellor.

Finally, I recommend that you take up everything that is offered to you that you think may help you make a decision whether or not to take a package, or which will help you keep your current job or get another job in your chosen field. This is your chance, so make the most of it!

If I can help in any way, please let me know in the comments section or, if you prefer, contact me directly.

Editor’s Note: this blog post was updated on 15 July 2016 to add a reference and link to StatePlus.