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Redundancy Reflections: Thoughts and Experiences Processing Redundancy... Twice

Processing a Redundancy or Layoff

With the increasing number of layoffs and redundancies, I decided to share my thoughts and experiences. I hope this post isn't too industry-specific and can offer support to anyone currently facing job loss.

Fear Realised

Losing my job had always been a fear of mine, like a dark cloud looming in the distance. I never thought too much about it but the fear was always there, and if I ever did think too deeply it felt like the world would end if it was to ever happen. Fast forward to date and I've now experienced two redundancies within the span of 11 months. The first one in February 2023. The second in January 2024. So my fear came true, but did the world end (twice)? To my surprise, no. The world continued to spin and I was still the same person I was before I'd lost my job with the same knowledge, same skills and same self-worth (though at times there were moments when it didn't feel that way, which I will discuss later).

The process of losing my job eventually led to a lot of self reflection. It's a chance to reassess, evaluate your goals and check in on yourself. It is so easy to get caught up running on auto-pilot when working a full time job. This post shares some thoughts and reflections on my experience so far. You may or may not relate, but hopefully at the very least it lets you know you're not the only one going through it.


The first redundancy was a lot more difficult than the second, for better or worse I had thicker skin for the second layoff and it felt like more of a 'here we go again' moment rather than total shock. After the first redundancy I felt a loss in confidence, passion and motivation, I questioned my career and even felt a slight loss in identity...

I was a 'Dubbing Mixer'.

It's the first question anyone asks when you first meet...

'So, what do you do?'.

We don't have to answer this question with our career, but in general, we all do! It's what we all occupy a majority of our waking hours with. To some degree it is a part of who we are and what we do to make a living. So when it feels like the ability to answer this question is taken from you, what do you do?

This was one of the first things I reflected upon.

You are more than your job title

I love my job, I love working in sound and if I wasn't getting paid I would likely still be doing sound and making music. But we are all more than our job titles and need to remind ourselves our lives are far too complex and interesting to be defined by what we do during (roughly speaking) the hours of 9am-6:30pm.

If I was born 1,000 years ago, I'm fairly certain I wouldn't be a 'Dubbing Mixer'. However, (effects of being brought up in a different time period aside) I would still be Callum. I would still be creative, passionate and curious, I would still have my same values and beliefs, but it wouldn't all revolve around the identity of being a Dubbing Mixer.

Remind yourself you have other interests, passions and hobbies that extend beyond what you do to make a living. You have other goals, aspirations and things you want to learn. You also have relationships; friends and family with whom you share emotions, conversation and experiences. These are the aspects of your life that truly define who you are and what drives your sense of purpose, growth and fulfilment - the company you worked at and the title you held is secondary to all these things.

Reflecting on these elements will help you appreciate and recognise how your identity is so much more than a job title. If you're struggling to reflect, talk with friends and family, reminisce over old experiences and stories, look back at old photos on your phone and reflect on the experiences you've had. Schedule some time to practice that hobby, start that course or learn that new thing you've neglected or always wanted to start - even if it's 5 minutes.

You are still 'that job title'

As if imposter syndrome wasn't bad enough when I actually had a job!

Not to contradict the previous point but it's important to remember that whilst you may not be employed at a certain company, working under a certain title or role, you are still skilled at the job. It is still your craft and still what you're passionate about. Just because you're not currently employed by someone doing that thing, it doesn't mean you're no longer skilled in that thing, or still able to perform the role. Also do not shy away from using it as your answer when someone does ask the dreaded 'so what do you do?' question, that is of course if it's still a role you want to be doing.

If ever in doubt, remind yourself of your past achievements and experiences working in that role. Think of the times you felt great in your career, look back (physically if you can) at previous pieces of work you're proud of, get feedback from old peers or think of the times when you received great feedback. Those moments and pieces of work are still yours and a part of you - you've lost nothing but the title and employment with a company. This is a good exercise if you're ever feeling a slight knock in confidence.

Ups and Downs: The Kübler-Ross model

The graph illustrates the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance – over time, showing the emotional journey individuals may undergo when coping with loss or significant change.

This is a graph that made a lot of sense some time after I had processed the redundancy. Although the stages' wording isn't that relatable, the curve's shape accurately mirrors my experience. I viewed it with the X-axis representing time and the Y-axis representing motivation, mood, and productivity.

Stage 1 - adrenaline

On receiving the news of the first redundancy I had a surge of motivation, likely a mix of adrenaline and my internal survival mode kicking into gear. The news hadn't really sunk in and it was full steam ahead, updating my CV and website, starting new personal projects, outlining my next plan and sourcing contacts and leads. Despite being aware of my heightened productivity and mood, I couldn't quite grasp the situation; I simply felt good and assumed it was a simple case of onwards and upwards.

Stage 2 - the dip

A few weeks later the productivity and motivation came to a grinding halt almost overnight. I couldn't pinpoint the exact moment or reason; I just woke up one day feeling lower in mood, energy, and generally disheartened despite previously feeling positive. I suppose you can only fire on all cylinders for so long before running out of fuel. The news had also started to sink in, I was still finishing my notice period and I found myself questioning the purpose behind it all. 'what is the point' I would think. However, it's important to remember that the 'point' was to simply show up and continue doing the work with effort and enthusiasm, regardless of circumstance.

Approaching unappealing tasks

To quickly sidetrack, one guiding principle I try and go by is:

You'll find more fulfilment in tasks you're less inclined to do when you approach them with commitment, presence, and full engagement, rather than doing them with resentment and minimal enthusiasm.

It's easier said than done, but trying to implement this mindset can only do good for growth and positivity. Did I go in with this attitude every day? No. Did I try to? Yes. Did it help? Definitely.

This attitude applies to all aspects of life, so if you (or I) ever find yourself in a situation where you may need to work a job you don't particularly want to to make ends meet, always try and foster this philosophy. The job has to be done either way so you may as well engage with it.

Stage 3 - breaking through with persistence

The dip lasted a few weeks. During this time I made sure I didn't beat myself up too much for feeling a certain way, but I would not allow myself to mope or feel sorry for myself. This is completely unproductive and can spiral into a vicious cycle. You should stop yourself if you ever find yourself slipping into a victim mentality. It's fine to feel low or unmotivated, but you can still try to take forward steps every day no matter how small. Some days you'll have take more significant steps than others, but the key is to keep moving forward consistently.  By pushing through even when you don't feel like it, it makes it even easier to tackle tasks on the days when motivation comes more naturally.

Stage 4 - getting your mojo back

Eventually motivation and productivity picked back up, I felt a sense of freedom, new beginnings and generally positive in a sustainable and healthy way. I then found myself with a new job and a new sense of passion and love for the work again...

Ding, Ding... Round 2

I lost that new job this year, but I felt more equipped mentally. I feel the Kübler-Ross model did repeat itself but not nearly as extreme as the first time. I knew exactly what was happening and felt I had more control over my response, utilising the ideas and thinking I've written about with an awareness and acceptance in the process. I made sure not to go too extreme in my initial 'productivity burst' phase and tried to keep my output consistent throughout. I feel it's definitely helped this time round and kept me more level. It's not to say my mood hasn't fluctuated but my motivation and productivity has been pretty consistent.

It's important to be aware of how the mind works and how it processes information which impacts your mood, productivity and motivation. I liked the graph as it's a nice visual representation of what I've gone through. In being aware of it, hopefully you can acknowledge the moments where you're not feeling great, know it's normal, see them for what they are, understand it's a process and know that they won't last.. Everything is temporary (as we are all painfully aware in our situation!).

'You'll be okay'

If your experience has been anything like mine, you'll often hear reassuring words like, "You'll definitely find something else, you'll be okay." Colleagues, friends, and family mean well, offering genuine support from their knowledge of your abilities and confidence in you as a person. However, I often found these words a bit challenging to accept. "It's easy for you to say!" I often thought.

'Being okay' requires hard work, it requires re-evaluating your situation, it requires hunting for new opportunities and selling yourself to a new company (or new clients if you go freelance), it requires you being completely out of your comfort zone while figuring out how you'll pay your bills/expenses. But do you know what? It pains me to say the line, but 'You will be okay'.

I've heard so many success stories that have come from people that faced redundancy or lay offs. Sometimes losing your job can open your eyes to the direction you really want to go, or force your hand into taking steps you otherwise wouldn't have otherwise taken. It's human instinct to survive and persevere. It won't be easy but with persistence and hard work, you will be okay and may even be better off than you were before.

Hard times

When times are hard, a quote that resonated with me is to remind yourself...

'This is what hard feels like'.

We are quick to say 'it will be hard 'or 'it won't be easy'. However, in those moments of struggle it's important to remind ourselves of the reality: "This is what hard is". By embracing this awareness, we can acknowledge it will not last and find the strength to persevere and continue moving forward.

Final Thoughts

Being made redundant is not an easy experience. The uncertainty and fear of not knowing what is next is the most difficult part. But these are elements that are not in your control. It's important to focus your energies on all the things you are in control of, those being what you do with your energy, how you carry and present yourself each day and your thoughts and mindset. Your response to this difficult situation is within your control, so while some days will be easier than others, be aware of the process and focus on positive behaviours that will make good of the situation.

Take some time to evaluate your situation, don't rush into a new job (if finances allow), reflect on your career so far and check if it's aligning with where you actually want to be. List out the things you want to achieve, what you want from a new place of work and the kind of team you want to work with. Take this as an opportunity to re-assess, without a job you are gifted one thing most people wish they had more of - time, so as weird as it feels, embrace it. That also means spend time doing things you enjoy doing and don't feel guilty in doing so, put more time into your hobbies and interests, do things you enjoy. It will relax your mind and as a result feed positively in you working out what your next step will be.

To end on a cliche, redundancy very much closes one door and opens up several more. It's down to you to choose what the next door you go through is.

Personally, I've decided to go freelance. If I think too deeply into the future it brings a lot of fear and dread, I have no idea how I'm going to get on - so I try not to do that! What I do know is this is something I want to do, and I am working hard each day to make it happen. I trust in the work I'm putting in every day and catch myself whenever doubt sinks in or I start to worry about the uncertainty. As I navigate the unknown, I remind myself to focus on the present, understand mood and emotions will fluctuate, but keep making forward steps towards achieving my next goals.

If you made it this far in the post, I wish you the best of luck in whatever your next step is. Trust your skills, remind yourself of your achievements and keep moving forward. You'll be okay ;).


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