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The Golden HangGlider: The Virtues of Taking a Redundancy Package

With news today of 200 operational roles at Coles being made redundant due to restructure, I have been reflecting on the different attitudes we see amongst clients seeking our services after a redundancy. Some clients almost shamefacedly tell us that they have just been made redundant whilst others express barely concealed glee at the prospect of paid garden leave. For clients with significant financial responsibilities I'm sure it feels like an unwanted gamble and for those who had counted on seeing out their careers with the employer the move may feel hardest of all.

Then again, to Executives well established in their careers, a corporate restructure is generally taken less personally. After all they have probably made these sorts of strategic decisions themselves and understand that you can be excellent at your job and dispensable at the same time. Whatever the initial emotional reaction, there is no doubt that redundancy represents an opportunity, perhaps the sole opportunity of its kind, to begin a new career path. In the traditional imagery of a golden parachute you can only fall to earth whereas in reality you can very much steer this process.

In making the most of the opportunity, trying to guess what the market wants you to do is almost certainly the wrong place to start. Unless you have been job-hunting in the last couple of years it will be virtually impossible to predict what you look like to recruiters and employers. Instead, start by laying out your personal value proposition.

By this we mean, what is it that you do particularly well, better than anyone else? At Wordsmiths, we help clients begin to articulate this by asking what they are proudest of from recent roles, what they leave behind them that is better now than when they were hired. From this we can begin to look at the mix of attributes and enthusiasms to identify a unique suite of skills, often generalisable to multiple industries and lines of work.

When it works best, this process also helps to recapture some of the things that get them out of bed in the morning. It seems clear enough that just as employees seek more flexibility to fit their jobs around their lives so too companies expect to be able to constantly adapt their workforce to their emerging objectives. Redundancy then is a fact of life.

What it leads to is up to you.