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It’s Not all Doom and Gloom
At the risk of sounding like an old Blues singer
I woke up this morning and what was on the news.
This time it’s the steel industry, again.
Thousands of jobs may be going.
The personal misery that this often causes is beyond calculation.
It’s not just a matter of one person in a family out of work, as if that’s not bad enough, it can be whole families.
Tragically older workers may not work again.
Whole areas can be devastated, not just those in the immediate industry declaring redundancy but many of the small businesses that support them.
I don’t want to dwell on this so.
Enough of doom and gloom, there can be another side to the story.
Light at the end of the tunnel.
If you have been made redundant or fear that you might, please read on.
Who am I to Talk
I wouldn’t blame you if you’re thinking “what does he know about redundancy?”
Sat there writing a blog
Well to share a little of my history with you.
I have been made redundant on three separate occasions at different stages of my life and career.
It didn’t start off too well.
I served a four-year apprenticeship, at the end of this I was “ a skilled man”.
Two weeks before I was due to be presented with my indentures (apprenticeship papers) I was ushered into the area managers office and told that the company had no openings for a skilled man.
I was redundant for the first time.
The good news was that I could have as much time off, as I wanted to attend interviews and look for work. Oh! Woopee doo.
Twenty years old and redundant.
Not my Fault
“ It’s not your fault” I was told “ it’s just that we are cutting back and there are no jobs”
Like everyone before me and since I “had to understand” that it was the job that was redundant and not me.
It sure as hell didn’t feel that way. I was devastated.
I was industrial scrap before I’d even got started.
So off I went looking for another job.
I don’t want bore you with the whole story it’s enough to say that it all turned out OK but it’s a feeling that is never forgotten.
Another Redundant Situation
This was the first but certainly not the last.
There was a second about 10 years later.
And then again years after that, last but not least, there was another redundancy.
In 1998 – number three struck.
I had worked ridiculously hard to set up an operation in the North of England for a Southern based company.
The outfit that I worked for had become uneasy because my operation employed more people than the head office. To make matters worse we were in a sector of the industry that was outside their core business.
I knew that there was unease within the directors but I was really shocked when, whilst attending a course at the head office ( Woking) I was invited to dinner by the Managing Director.
With no idea what would be next, off I toddled to the Chinese restaurant at the appointed time.
Over lunch and some polite conversation the MD eventually got round to the point of it all.
The powers that be, mainly he himself had decided to sell the business as a going concern, lock, stock and barrel.
More than this he had decided that he knew the ideal buyer, and this I didn’t see coming.
It was me.
An offer I could Refuse
The package included a building, on a long lease, intended for a much larger, multi-disciplined business.
For a whole shed load of reasons I declined and once more was looking redundancy right in eye.
This time though I had months before a buyer could be found and things signed si I decided to set up my own business.
Never again would anyone make me redundant, other than me.
That was sixteen years ago. During this time my “little” enterprise had provided for me and my family. I’ve learnt lot’s and been able to help others to get the best out of their start-ups or existing Small Businesses.
But that was me. What about you?
I’m not qualified to advise anyone on how to fight redundancy I’d leave that to others with specialist knowledge. I advise on how to survive it.
The first rule is to anticipate it.
No burying of heads in sand.
If it doesn’t happen – great, but if it does be ready.
Much as you love your fellow work-mates you must try to look after yourself first of all.
If you go down with the ship you won’t be able to help anyone.
First of all do the usual things, prepare a CV, visit the job centre, register yourself with on-line agencies and take any help that’s offered.
Plan B – Plan a business start-up
Wow ! there’s a hell of a step for someone that’s been in full employment possibly for years.
But we have to face it. If you are part of a large redundancy, one big enough to hit the whole of the area where you work, then, there will be possibly hundreds of people applying for every job.
Don’t get me wrong still try but have a Plan B ready.
Quite often in large redundancies older employees simply don’t find work for years or possibly never.
But no matter what your age or training.
This is 2016 though, and we don’t accept that there is no work and neither should you.
A lifetime of experience
Yes you have experience, possibly training or skills that you can sell.
Even if you don’t think that you have there are still at least two choices.
Firstly to turn a hobby into a business or secondly to get training in a skill that will sell and then go for it.
I can’t possibly go into all the ins and outs of choosing a business and setting one up, in this articl,e but I have other articles and if that fails the web is full of useful advice.
I would rather concentrate on the redundancy situation than general business start-up.
It may be that you are a keen gardener and could turn that into a job. Maybe you are a welder and with a small investment in equipment you could go solo.
There are a few things that I would like to share with you so here goes.
Where to set-up
If you are in a redundancy which affects a large number of people (such as the closure of a steel works) you will have to find customers away from the area of the closure.
In your immediate vicinity people will be holding on to money for as long as possible and who can blame them.
You may have to look several miles away to find any success.
For this you will need transport and a license to drive may become vital.
Having said that I know of one guy who set-up as a gardener using his customers tools and travelling on the bus but sooner or later he had get some wheels.
Remember wherever you live there will be an area of potential customers, with money, within travelling distance.
If not there’s always the internet wheregood money can be erned but beware there be dragons.
If it looks too good to be true – it usually is
I’m sure you’ve seen lots of adverts on the internet where you do virtually ( no pun intended) nothing and £3,000 or more per month just rolls in.
Please do not be tempted to spend your precious redundancy money on these schemes.
There are many unscrupulous guru’s and experts out there just waiting to relieve you of your cash.
As we both know if it was that easy they would pay people to do it and take the profit.
I’m sure you can spot a scam but hard times can make even the most level-headed of us act irrationally.
If you smell a rat try typing the name of the scheme or the person pushing it followed by the word SCAM.
It’s amazing what turns up.
Years ago I had a rugby coach who drummed it into us that we must keep our heads up.
It was good advice.
You are a valuable person who will get through this situation.
I can’t begin to count the number of times that I have seen people’s heads literally go down and then they lost.
Mental attitude is nine-tenths of the battle.
You are not beaten until you give up.
Until you stop trying
And you can’t give up with your head held high.
So lift it and carry on.
You can’t do everything but you can do something
I understand that the idea of working for yourself is daunting for many people especially if you have had a regular pay packet for years.
It’s a different mentality.
You may be young or not so young, I have no way of knowing.
It doesn’t matter.
I started my first business when I was fifty and it has provided for me ever since.
I have recently started a new, internet based business and I am sixty-six years old.
So if you are saying to yourself “I’m too old, not clever enough, have no money, have too many bills, don’t know where to start”.
Your as good as the next guy.
Turn this situation into the start of something not the end.
What else can I tell you
If you have any comments or questions you can either – leave a comment or send an email.
I will always try to answer personally or in a blog post.
I will be writing about starting a business as part of the blog but if you get in touch I’ll try and help.
I have been where you are or fear you maybe.