Dealing with Retrenchment

Dealing with Retrenchment

19 November 2018

Retrenchments are hitting South Africans hard. In fact, according to the trade union Solidarity, South African retrenchment levels have hit a 10-year high.

Truth is the modern workplace is brutal. One day you have a prime parking spot and a PA, the next a retrenchment letter and an ulcer!

When the reality of retrenchment hits, you are often faced with expenses such as a bond, medical aid, school fees, etc., etc. Fear, anger, panic, and uncertainty are just some of the emotions that come to mind… yep, riding this rollercoaster can unravel you. Psychologists reckon that being retrenched is similar to suffering bereavement or being diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Retrenchment does not only affect your financial security, but also your self-worth. However, it is so important not to take it personally. Retrenchment is not always a reflection of your performance; it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re incompetent or incapable, sometimes it’s simply a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. During tough times it’s not only consumers who feel the pinch but companies too, and to stay afloat businesses often look at ways to reduce their operating costs. Someone once said that “life happens while we are planning it.” So true, don’t you think?

Although often devastating when it takes place, losing your job is not the end of the world. It could be the second chance at the life that you truly desire. Goals and dreams change; this may be the opportunity to go after the job you’ve always wanted. Heck, Steve Jobs was fired from the company he founded (Apple), but he pursued his passion for graphics and established Pixar, now one of the world’s leading computer animation studios.

So, it’s time to turn challenges into opportunities.

Here’s the plan of action:

Be honest about your retrenchment with those around you.

Deal with the emotional fallout first. Take some time to think what you really want from your next job. People can’t make good decisions when they are mad or scared. Gather your thoughts and plan ahead. Sometimes change, even if it’s forced, is good.

Turn it around, cut your losses and move on.

Review your budget. Determine how much time you have to job hunt and cut your expenses aggressively.

Contact your creditors as this will have an impact on your ability to pay back loans.

Polish your CV. The longer you’re out of work the harder it will be to find employment.

Upskill to ensure that you are up there with other competitors.

Get a reference from the company that retrenched you that describes its reasons for the retrenchment. Ask them to highlight the value you added to the organisation.

Get stuck in, apply for as many jobs for which you have the required skills.

Keep your networks strong. Align yourself with positive people, people who inspire and appreciate you.

And lastly… be kind to yourself.

Try to embrace this new normal. Remember, you cannot control what has happened, but you can influence your future. Good luck!

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DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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