Authors Note (Josh Keegan):
Since I wrote the last Keegan Consulting Group Recommends, many things have happened for the group and we have lost and we have gained on a number of different things. Still, it has been a magnificent journey to date which has inspired me to write about others who have had magnificent journeys, especially women in business. Therefore, this post is about those women who have inspired me, who I watch in wonder as they do awesome things in business. I hope they inspire you too.
Rachel Smith (AKA @cyclingrachelsmith)
Accomplished author, keynote speaker (over 200 talks, with a couple of TEDx talks as well), urban transport specialist and traffic decongestion specialist, Rachel Smith embodies how redundancy can be an excellent for your career.
Rachel’s personal journey is an inspiration, taking the worst of a scenario, changing the conversation to better her personal life and her career. I have known Rachel for over 12 months (and have followed her on Twitter for over 2 years) and she continues to shine on a daily basis. Take some time to read some of her story in the blog post below and catch up with her on her website: http://www.cyclingrachelsmith.com/welcome-to-cycling-rachael-smith/
I first observed redundancies (or retrenchments) in late 2008. I remember that Monday as though it was yesterday. I watched men and women pack their things into cardboard boxes and I saw grown adult professional men sit and cry.
Since then I'd been bothered, disturbed and at times absolutely terrified by the veil of silence that surrounds redundancy - before, during and after it takes place. I'd seen the good, the bad and the downright ugly. I'd seen people pivot, change and transform their lives, I'd heard stories about industry colleagues who've lost their life savings, their marriages and their homes. and I'd witnessed leaders in my community admit their suicidal feelings. Redundancy is tough confronting stuff. Stuff that's often easier to ignore rather than tackle and discuss.
Being made redundant (or retrenched) can be one of life's most traumatic events. A level of stress similar to a marriage breakdown. It leaves many people asking themselves, ''Why me?''
I knew my industry was changing. Technology was replacing people, computer systems more efficient than traditional processes, design tasks were being undertaken offshore in 24/7 design centres and disrupters like UBER were changing everything faster than anyone could ever have expected.
I spent over 2 years and more than $20,000 of my hard-earned personal savings consciously and sub-consciously getting ready and prepared for redundancy - mentally, financially and professionally.
On Monday 7th December 2015 my role was made redundant.
It was a huge shock.
I'll be honest the first 48 hours were a bit of a blur. I remember trying to hold it together, crying and receiving text messages from people saying "You'll be right". I remember feeling empty, lost and confused.
I'd just agreed to buy a house and so that afternoon I had to call the real estate agent to terminate my offer.
My friends and family remind me now that I'd said spur-of-the-moment things like "I'll be homeless, no-one appreciates me, How will I cope? what will I do?'
Amongst the tears, anxiety, panic and self-doubt I reached out to my thousands of people strong professional and social media network. I asked for help with a very short message stating that I was seeking employment and freelance opportunities.
I was lucky. Within hours of my role being made redundant I was:
– Offered multiple jobs
– Receiving endless contractor and freelance opportunities
– Offered a project as a sole trader
It was then that I realised and I could see the value of investing my time and money into being ready and prepared.
Getting prepared for redundancy doesn't have to be as time consuming and expensive for you as it was for me because in my book ‘Ready for Redundancy’ I share the 14 steps process that worked for me.
I can't guarantee the 14 steps will be as successful for you as they were for me but I hope that they might help you mentally, financially and professionally.
"No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow your progress, you're still way ahead of everyone else who isn't trying"
Reflecting back, I am very grateful for the opportunities that have arisen, the people I have met and the way my life has been transformed as a result of my fear. The obstacles really is the way.
Now I can see that if I hadn't have been so scared I would never have embarked on my year of buying nothing new or 2nd hand nor would I have enrolled on an entrepreneur course - two things that have literally changed my life.
If my book helps you, your family and your colleagues and co-workers to feel positive about the future because you are 'Ready for Redundancy' then I've done what I set out to achieve by writing the book.