Feature originally published in the now defunct Live Your Life In Colour website December 2012

The ‘r’ word is scary. It means no holiday. It means a loss of livelihood. It means defaulting on the mortgage. It means what next for my career?

We can look out at the job market and not know where we fit, because our networks are all inside the organisation. We don’t know what our skill-set is any more, or where that can fit in another company. It can be scary to a imagine the other people we might be up against if we do find a role that we think might just manage where we are at. And for many, it can means months or years of depressing rejection.

For some people, of a certain time, in a certain location and a certain professional area, it could represent opportunity. But that opportunity still has to be seen, worked on and taken advantage of.

For me, wanting to leave a role and an organisation that wasn’t providing me with the career satisfaction I craved or the development opportunities I needed, let alone allowing me to make the impact I felt I could, was a scary concept. I was on a very good wage, that I had become accustom to. I was well known and it was acknowledged I provided quality work. But the flip side was not quite enough self belief or respect in my own resilience to take a leap.

The ‘R’ word came looming and I looked in the job market, being worried about the lack of suitable roles, let alone the ones that I really wanted to do. I didn’t have the external networks to draw upon or know where to begin with them. But I didn’t have a choice. The door was shut firmly behind me, forcing me into a glaring world. I knew there were other doors to open, but not how to find them, knock on them, see who was there and if I was welcome.

After a short time of licking my wounds, survival instincts drove me forward and I found those opportunities. I created them, nurtured them. I found free exhibitions and events in my geographic and professional area. I went along curious, wanting to learn and also open to network. From there I found one of my most valuable connections to date. It’s also where I started realising that there was a whole world out there. Some more time out and personal development through a redundancy package meant building my skills and confidence.

Image:  William Iven from Unsplash.com
Image: William Iven from Unsplash.com

It wasn’t all silver platter: I needed to work hard on those development areas. And from there came my next role. Different from what I would have left my old role for, both in the positive (a career step I’d been working towards) and the not-so (a significant pay difference and no security). Six months on and I can see even more benefits. I’ve improved my understanding of networking beyond the organisation. I’ve increased my understanding of the skills and strengths I bring to the company and therefore the confidence when I go on to the next. Also I realise that if I’m not happy in a role for whatever reason, I don’t have the lack of confidence that keeps me from realising I don’t have to stay. So, tentatively, I can recommend redundancy.