Facing Redundancy – How Do I Keep My Job?

Moving from Corporate to Business

In my last post, I gave my recommendations on the best sources of help and advice when facing redundancy or job loss. My recommendation for this post is, whether you decide that you want to keep your job or go somewhere else, decide and act with your whole heart.

A couple of weeks after I had found out that the agency I had worked for for the past 7 years was going to get rid of half its legislative drafters by way of “spill and fill”, 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!

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

My Organisation Is Being Downsized, What Should I Do About Redundancy?

Moving from Corporate to Business

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.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so shocked as I was on the day when we were all called into a meeting about restructure, 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 were ranked in the top 50 % would keep their employment. The rest would be offered voluntary redundancies.

Some people cried, and some talked quietly in the corridors. 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?

I honestly thought that, when I joined the Public Service, I would have a safe and secure job for the rest of my life. This is what my parents, and everyone else had told me when I was young. They even said that if my job disappeared for some reason, I’d be put on something called the “unattached list” and would stay there until I was found another job. Not so, in these current times, anyway.

Over the next few posts, I will write more about what happened to me, the decisions I made, and why, and will be offering my recommendations for dealing with redundancy and job loss.

My first recommendation: If you have just found out that you may be made redundant, or may lose your job, just know that you will get through it. It may feel like the roof is falling in, but it’s not. It’s just creaking ominously overhead, but you’ll be OK.

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

Are You Being Held Hostage By Your Habits?

Personal Development for Career Professionals

Psychologists say that 90 % of our actions are a habit. Consider the action of walking. I had never thought about the complexity of walking, until I seriously injured my knee last year, and had to learn to walk again after spending almost 10 weeks in a splint.

It all starts with putting your foot forward, just the right amount, with your heel on the floor, in just the right place. Then you have to transfer weight onto that foot, maintaining just the right amount of tension in your thigh muscles so that your knee doesn’t collapse, but without locking your knee straight. As your weight moves forward, you roll onto the ball of your foot, and your knee locks briefly, as you swing your other foot through to repeat the process. It becomes even more complicated when you add a walking frame or stick into the mix, and on top of all that, you have to concentrate on where you are going! It’s surprisingly complex, but it’s something we do, usually by force of habit, every day.

So, our good habits, such as regular exercise, drinking enough water, brushing our teeth, courtesy etc, serve us well, by allowing us to routinely do these things without thinking about them. This clears our mind to enable us to think about other things, and also promotes our health, wellbeing and success.

But what about our bad habits? We also do these things routinely without thinking about them, but they do not serve us well. Worse still, we are sometimes not even aware of the negative effects these habits have on our lives. Consider the effect that habits such as negativity, rudeness, substance abuse, over eating, laziness and procrastination have on our lives and those around us.

“We are what we repeatedly do. excellence then is not an act, but a habit”, Aristotle.

The more conscious we become of our good and bad habits, the more control we can have over those habits, and thus, the more control we can have over our lives.

One of my worst habits is negative self-talk – “I’m not good enough”, “it’s too hard”, “that won’t work”, “I’ll do it tomorrow” etc. As I have become more conscious of this habit during my personal growth journey, I am working on taking control of it, and changing it into a good habit of positive self-talk – “I am good enough”, “it’s not too hard”, “I don’t know whether that will work, but let’s give it a go. If it doesn’t work, I can try something else” “I’m putting a reminder in my phone now”, etc. Just working on this one habit is having a profound effect on my life!

What habits are holding you hostage? are you even aware of your good and bad habits and how they affect you? What habits would you like to cultivate to get you closer to achieving your dreams? Please let me know in the comments section or, if you prefer, contact me directly.

Bullying At Work, and What I Learned

Personal Development for Career Professionals

Bullying at work is defined as “repeated, unreasonable behaviours, where the behaviours create a risk to health and safety”. Bullying can include such behaviours as: • Abusive, insulting, or offensive language;

• unjustified criticism or complaints; and

• setting unreasonable timelines or constantly changing deadlines.

In the mid 2000’s, I was bullied at work. I didn’t recognise it as such until afterwards, when a friend put the name “bullying” to what I was describing. The person doing the bullying was my then supervisor. Let’s call her Veronica for the purposes of this article.

Veronica worked part time, and had a couple of days off in the middle of the week, e.g. Wednesday and Thursday. She would often give me a large piece of work to do, some time on Monday, and ask me to have it completed before 5pm Tuesday. This often put me under extraordinary pressure, as the work was more than could reasonably be completed in the short time available. I comforted myself with the thought that perhaps Veronica was requesting this so that she could look at the work whilst she was at home. However, I found out that Veronica very rarely took my work home, and it usually would sit on her desk until she got back on Thursday. So, the deadlines were arbitrary and unnecessary.

Once I did receive the work back, there were often many criticisms, and I would usually have to completely rewrite it. Veronica would often tell me that I had not followed her instructions. She would say that she had asked me to do X, but my clear recollection was that she had asked me to do Y, which was quite different. I could seem to do nothing right. I found this quite distressing, as I am someone who pays careful attention to verbal instructions, and will ask questions to clarify anything I don’t understand.

I eventually refused to take verbal instructions from her, and would only accept instructions in writing, so I had written proof of what she had asked me to do. This made things a little better. However, Veronica then sometimes would replace my name on work with hers, without my knowledge, and then take credit for the work at meetings. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when Veronica referred to me one day as her “worker bee”, which made me feel completely worthless.

My distress and anxiety increased over the months, until it got so bad that I would get chest pains whenever I heard Veronica enter the office first thing in the morning. The first time this happened, I thought I was having a heart attack! Thankfully though, it turned out to be stress related heartburn, for which I had to take medication for many months.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I took a course on emotional intelligence, mainly to get out of the office for the day. The facilitator, Barbara Miller, was an organisational psychologist and a life coach, and so I asked her to take me on as a client to help me cope with what was going on at work.

Over a number of months, I worked with Barbara on rebuilding my shattered self-esteem, and implementing techniques for coping with stress. I learned that my value as a person wasn’t dependent on what others thought of me, but what I thought of myself. I started reciting positive affirmations to myself about my ability and my value during the bus journey to and from work each day. Finally, I began to really believe again that I was a person of value, who had something worthy to contribute.

After 3 months of coaching, I had the strength to do what I knew I had to do. I knocked on Veronica’s door, marched into her office, and told her that “her management style was making me ill”. I said that I would not work with her anymore, and that whilst I looked for another job, I would like to be transferred to another section and work with a different supervisor. Thankfully, she agreed.

I am so grateful to Barbara, and for the work we did together. It saved my sanity, and gave me the strength to get another job, where I worked happily for a number of years. It also taught me about the importance of drawing upon my own beliefs as the main source of my self-esteem, rather than relying entirely on others to make me feel good, or bad, about myself.

Have you ever been bullied at work or anywhere else? Are you stuck in a job where you don’t feel appreciated? What are you going to do about it?

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