OnTalent General Manager - Careers, Leadership Development & Consulting, Deborah Wilson.
OnTalent General Manager - Careers, Leadership Development & Consulting, Deborah Wilson. Contributed

Redundancy can actually be a good thing...if you're prepared

REDUNDANCIES are a fact of life in the modern workplace, and it appears the best way to guard against the shock of losing a job is to actually plan ahead for the possibility.

Careers-focused business OnTalent assists an increasing number of Australians with the transition from redundancy, and the key message from Deborah Wilson, General Manager - Careers, Leadership Development & Consulting, is that everyone should be prepared for the possibility.

"I don't think any organisation is exempt from it, so it's all about that preparedness,” Deborah said.

"Nothing prepares you for the shock you get when it's you, but the impact isn't as great if you are already set up to identify and seize new opportunities as they arise.”

The clear message is we should all be prepared that it could happen at any time.

"We can't put all of our eggs in the one basket,” Deborah said.

"We do have to focus on the job we have now, but we also have to be thinking about what's next if this doesn't work out.”

While being on the receiving end of redundancy can be confronting, Deborah said her 30-plus years in the careers field had shown her it was often the catalyst for positive life change.

"I believe you shouldn't actually want to stay in a job forever,” she said.

"It's actually not good for your skills. You do need to move, you need new experiences and learnings.”

She said the importance of staying on top of industry trends applied to all workers, regardless of age.

"It's about being open to learning and we have to learn from our younger generation.” Deborah said.

"We're living longer so therefore we're going to have to work longer to provide for ourselves and have purpose.”

Deborah said her best advice to anyone wanting to guard against being a logical candidate for redundancy was to focus on keeping their job skills current.

"You've got to invest in yourself,” she said.

"It's important to always be on the front foot around your career and career development.”

For those who did find themselves unexpectedly looking for new employment, Deborah said it was important not to buy into any perception that once you've hit 50 you're no longer valuable in the workforce.

"People say to me 'but I'm over 50' and I say 'well, big deal'. So what,” she said.

"Age is not necessarily an issue in my mind. We're going to have five generations in the workforce if we haven't already. We had a lady in her early 70s who was made redundant and she got another job within a couple of months.”

In a recent blog, Deborah said no amount of money or courses could buy life experience or the experience and wisdom gathered over decades spent in the workplace.

"Just as we have much to learn from millennials, and we do, employees in their fifties and beyond are capable of teaching others and being incredible mentors because we've been there and done that,” she said.

Deborah does not believe there is bias from employers against older workers or any growing trend towards them being made redundant.

"I think it depends on your skills and your attitude,” she said.

"It's about staying current, staying relevant and having a positive attitude. Be interested and be interesting.”

If For those who did find themselves facing a transition after redundancy, Deborah said it was important to take whatever help was on offer from businesses like OnTalent.

"Most people come in with their shoulders down a bit but even after the first session they usually leave with a far better outlook.”

"Our role is to support them, motivate them and encourage them. Redundancy can be confronting and we help them cope with the transition.”

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