Coping with Redundancy

As we approach World Mental Health Day (10th October), it’s not hard to understand why there is an evident increase in people displaying obvious signs of mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. Global events such as the cost of living, overseas conflicts and the echoes of the pandemic have all contributed to a prevalence of anxiety, stress and depression in many and none so more in an industry I hold dear to my heart.

Having spent over 25 years personally in the Games Industry it has been terribly sad to hear of all the layoffs and redundancies, with regular news of restructuring occurring within some of the industry titans, in an attempt to reduce operational and fixed costs.

When presented with the hard data it’s no wonder that many are having to make the difficult commercial decision down this road, in order to safeguard financial sustainability, however, this doesn’t detract from the fact that many people’s lives are affected. We are talking about highly, talented and skilled individuals who have made a long-term commitment, worked tirelessly on projects with drive and passion and are now faced with a period of uncertainly and anxiety, as they navigate their way through this new reality.

From first-hand experience, I felt such strong emotions and the fear of “what do I do now?” weighing heavily on my shoulders, so it’s from this perspective I want to share my thoughts in an attempt to help anyone who may be in this position right now.

1) Don’t Take It Personally
Yes, it’s horrible and usually comes as an unexpected shock, acknowledge that the decision behind the redundancy is not personal, but rather driven by a change in business focus instead. You have no control over losing your job, but you do have control over how you react and deal with the loss of it. Ruminating and second guessing the reasons behind it, will serve you no purpose, instead plough your energies into moving forward.

2) Get Clear On Your Finances
Once you know what your end date is, what money you’re entitled to and when it will be paid, you need to have transparency on your spending so create a sheet with all your and outgoings and everything you owe, ensuring you are making at least the minimum payment on all your bills.
Do an audit on your monthly outgoings and assess if you can cut back or cancel any subscriptions. It’s also possible you could make savings on your service providers by switching to more competitive offerings. Addressing this early on will allow your redundancy pay to work smarter and longer for you, whilst you explore your options in your job search.

3) Be Open & Honest
Talk to your friends, family and trusted network, being open and honest about how you feel is crucial. Sharing your worries and tackling any financial or emotional concerns won’t make it feel like you have to deal with this alone and will prevent you from constantly mulling things over and staying in your head. They can offer you support and guidance whilst you figure things out.

4) Take Stock
I would never say redundancy is a good thing, however, it does present you with the opportunity to assess what you want next and reflect on whether this aligns with where you are now. Think about your goals and vision, are they still the same? Did your last role give you the work/life balance you needed? Are there alternative avenues you might like to explore? It’s also a great time to reflect on what type of company, culture and environment you want next, getting clear on these parameters at the start of your search will help you remain focused.

5) Network
Get visible and active on all your social media channels, update your profile and experience, share your industry knowledge, talk to companies or individuals in your network, join professional groups. Having a clear and consistent presence and proactive engagement will make the most of your current network but will also help potentially expand into new and unexplored areas.

6) Look After Your Mental & Physical Health
Our career is major contributor and pillar to our wellbeing, so it’s no wonder that when we experience redundancy it can take its toll on us and understandably for many our usual routines, rituals and habits can fall by the wayside, whilst we deal with the effects of it. However, it’s even more important to protect both your mental and physical health when you are faced with challenging periods in your life and continue to practice all the things which keep you happy and healthy. Continue to exercise (whatever that looks like for you), eat nutritious food, get good sleep, but more importantly avoid anything which may trigger low mood or anxiety such as alcohol or drugs.

Above everything else be kind to yourself, when facing a big transition like this it’s important you look after yourself, so make sure you use any self-care techniques that protect your energy and help you to remain positive. Remember you are not alone.

Good luck to anyone and everyone, you got this!

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