Survive retrenchment – the start of a new career


Unfortunately, the word “retrenchment�? has become a part of our day to day conversations in recent years. We know of someone who has gone through it or is in the midst of it and in many cases, they have bounced back, starting afresh and doing incredible things. When the retrenchment issue comes up for anyone, it may sound like it is a death knell for your career, but once the shock and other thoughts / emotions subside, it’s best to remember that this could be an opportunity for career growth or even to change your career direction for the better.

As with any major life-changing event – whether or not you had planned for it – you will need some planning going forward. Doing the following now can also prepare you should something like this ever happen to you.  

Updating your CV
When was the last time you updated your CV? Whether you have been retrenched or not, it is worthwhile to polish your CV every so often and be sure that all the information that is there, accurately reflects where you are now: the new skills learnt; areas of growth and new responsibilities taken on.  CV’s are your introduction to a recruiter or employer, therefore it needs to do a sterling job and secure you an interview.

Upskilling yourself
Acquiring new skills needs to be an ongoing part of your work life, wherever there is a course that you can apply to enrol in, do it now and if you are being coached in your job, that’s a good thing. The skills you attain are invaluable. If you have been retrenched and you are able to enrol for a course that will broaden your knowledge, you should certainly do so.

Be honest with your family
As much as being retrenched or facing the possibility of retrenchment, may be disheartening, you shouldn’t keep such news to yourself – your immediate family needs to know. Your partner, children and perhaps your parents / people who do rely on financial assistance from you, should be informed of what’s happening. You will be stressed out, and they will be sensitive to that – encouraging a healthy and open dialogue will go a long way to provide you with emotional support.

Last one in - first one out
We have all heard that phrase at some point in our lives but it becomes quite scary when you remember that you were the last one in. Yes it is definitely not a good feeling, especially when you are a graduate and need a few solid years of work experience in one organisation before moving onto the next work opportunity. However if it does so happen that you are let go, get yourself a plan of what you will need to do next in order to get back on your feet…and then do it!

Emergency savings
Do you have one? If yes, great! If not, it’s time to start working on one immediately. You never know when life will happen and you need to tap into your savings to carry you through for a certain period of time. Losing a source of income is very hard, there are many financial responsibilities that you will have to cover whilst not earning an income. It is important to let your creditors know if you have been retrenched so you can work on a payment plan for when you start working again.

Changing your spending habits
This is very important. Keeping track of your spending and cutting down on things that you don’t need to spend on goes a long way to saving money – and allowing you to add more into your savings. It won’t be easy, but for the time that you need to, it will help a lot. Think of it as a short term sacrifice, for a long term reward!

There are so many more things to share and with some research you can find many ideas on what you can do. You will also read up on people who have managed to start over and do even better than before. Hard as it is to go through this it will help you to see that things will be okay.

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