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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.

image with the words lets learn and transition

8 Things You Should Do Before Looking For Another Job

Whenever things got bad at work, I used to look through the online gazette for jobs hoping I could find one that was better than the one I was in. But, when I did find something that looked good, I’d either get scared and not apply for it, in case it was the same or worse than the one I was in, or I’d decide that it was all too hard and not apply for it, as I wasn’t prepared. So, if you’re sitting at your desk, contemplating looking for jobs, here are 8 things that I highly recommend that you do before you even think about doing that. If you do these things first, you’ll be prepared to apply for that exciting sounding job, and will be less scared of the unknown, as you’ll know exactly what you want.

1. Update your CV or Resume

I can’t stress enough how important it is to do this regularly. There’s nothing that will raise your anxiety levels higher than finishing a job application the night before it’s due, and realising that you haven’t updated your CV for 5 years. Trust me, I’ve been there!

So take some time to update your CV at your leisure, so you can do it right. Find the duty statements for all the jobs you’ve done, and take plenty of time to cast your mind back into the past and remember all you’ve achieved since you last updated your CV.

Get a friend or colleague to check it over for errors, and if it really needs an overhaul and you’re stuck, get some professional help.

2. Reflect upon your past and present careers

While you’re updating your CV, this is a great time to reflect on your past and present jobs. Give some thought to what you liked about them, and what you didn’t.

Think about what satisfied you most about each job, and see if there’s a common thread. This will be something you’ll want to look for when considering whether to apply for jobs in the future.

Similarly, consider the things that dissatisfied you most about each job. You’ll want to avoid these in the future, if possible.

When I did this, I discovered that I was happiest in the jobs where I was helping people, an I was most unhappy when I was being closely managed.

3. Make an inventory of your skills

This is also a great time to make an inventory of your skills. Don’t just stick to your work related skills, but also consider the other skills you have.

You’ll always be happier doing a job where you’re using your best skills. also, this list will be useful if you want to change careers, as it will point you to other career options. It’s also a good chance to decide whether you might like to update your current skills, or gain some new ones, in order to expand your career options.

I was able to get my employer to pay for me to do 2 short courses, one on technical writing (as this was something I thought I might be good at), and one on starting a business.

4. List your interests

If you are thinking of changing careers, it will also be very useful for you to list as many things as you possibly can that interest you. These will not only give you ideas for different types of careers, but may also jog your memory to start that hobby you’ve been putting off for ages.

5. Consider your personal qualities and values

These are what make you unique, and will show what sort of work environment you’re best suited to, and the people you’d be most happy working with.

You won’t want a slow paced job if you thrive on the adrenaline of a tight deadline, and you won’t want an open and noisy work environment if you work best by yourself when it’s quiet.

You may not be as happy in a job if the people you work with have different values to you. I was in a job like that once, and while I loved the work, I never felt like I quite fitted in with my colleagues when we socialised after work, which was strongly encouraged.

6. Consider your goals

I’m someone who likes to run away and hide when people ask me to write down goals. But what I’m suggesting you do isn’t really as daunting as it sounds. Just give some thought to questions about the quality of your life, like:

  • How much do you need to earn to keep up with your bills?
  • Do you want to spend more time with your family?
  • How is your work life balance looking?
  • Do you want to take more holidays, or a different type of holiday?
  • Do you have the time to do the things you most enjoy? etc.

This will get you thinking about what you want your future to look like, and how your job will fit into that. If you’re not comfortable with long term goals, just look ahead a single year.

7. Brainstorm career options

If you are thinking seriously of a career change, use what you’ve listed in the points above, and start brainstorming different career options. This may take some time, and a good deal of research.

Find out as much as you possibly can about the careers you are interested in. If you can, talk to people who work in those careers, and see what a day in that career would look like for you.

When I was doing this, I didn’t have the luxury of time, as I only had 3 months to decide what to do. I knew I wanted to start a business, but didn’t know what. So, I jumped into a business which wasn’t quite right for me. Having said that, I don’t regret a single day in that business, as it lead me to do what I’m doing now.

8. Build your belief in yourself

If you are seriously thinking of changing jobs, there will come a time when you have to apply for one. Truly believing that you are the best person for the job is vital if you are going to win that job. After all, if you don’t believe that you’re the best one for the job, the panel won’t either.

I read a blog post the other day which said that if there were two people with identical skills, where one believed in themselves and the other didn’t, the one who did would be 90% ahead of the other one. Click here to read the whole post.

Let me tel you about 2 very different jobs I applied for. I read the selection criteria for the first job, and decided that I really wanted it. Before I started writing the application, I wrote down all the reasons why I deserved that job, and why i would be very good at it.

By the time I walked into the interview, I felt that that job had my name on it and, if I didn’t get that job, it would be entirely my fault, as I wouldn’t have done a good enough job of convincing the panel that I was the best one for the job. Needless to say , I got the job.

In the case of the second job, when I read the selection criteria, I knew I could do it, and wrote an application that was good enough to get me an interview. However, when I walked into the interview, I just couldn’t seem to muster up that feeling that the job was mine. A little voice in my head kept whispering “you might not get it”. That little voice was a self-fulfilling prophecy, as I didn’t get the job. I didn’t believe enough in myself, and so the panel didn’t either.

I’m not saying that self-belief will get you the job every time, but it will certainly put you a step ahead of those you’re competing against, who may not have that self-belief.

I am a career transition coach, and I passionately believe that no one should be stuck in an unfulfilling job simply because they don’t know what their options are, or are too scared to follow their dreams. I’m not an expert at writing CV’s but if you would like help in any of the other areas I’ve written about here, please contact me.

My Aim Is To Add Value To You

Leadership Development with Amanda Heal

When I started this blog, my aim was to add value to my followers. It still is.

I have my own ideas about future topics for this post, such as:

  • A series on how to increase your influence at work;
  • A series of posts on how to communicate better with colleagues, clients and stakeholders; and
  • Possibly a post or two on how to find and follow your dreams.

But I would very much like your ideas.

What would you like me to write about, that would bring value to you inside and outside the workplace? My expertise are in the areas of leadership and personal growth, and public sector employment. Please let me know in the comments section or, if you prefer, contact me directly.

How to Build Your Self-Belief

Personal Development for Career Professionals

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval”, Mark Twain.

I spoke in my last post about how comparing myself to others lowered my self-belief, and caused me to stop doing the things that I needed to do. I realised from that experience, and others, that my main weakness, and the main obstacle to my personal and business growth, is my self-belief. I have started to work hard on this, and so it is a topic that is dear to my heart.

There are many different ways to grow self-belief. It’s just a matter of finding which one, or few, work best. Different methods may work better at different times and in different circumstances.
Some methods I use to build my self-belief include:

• Reading about people who are on a similar journey to me, and who have found success;

• Listening to Ted Talks;

• Pondering on inspirational quotes;

• Reading books by, and watching videos of people who inspire me;

• Talking to my mentors;

• Spending time with positive people;

• Reciting daily affirmations;

• Reading encouraging verses from the Bible; and

• Imagining myself succeeding at the things I want to do.

I find the last 3 of these methods to be particularly powerful. I think that this is because they focus directly on my imagination, and as I said in my last post, the brain doesn’t know the difference between imagination and reality.
What do you do to improve your self-belief and thought life?

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