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Picking yourself up after retrenchment


By Natalie Rabson on Behalf of Boston City Campus

2019 saw retrenchment from major companies – from Standard Bank, Group Five, ABSA to Multichoice, Continental Tyre and more.  Now, with COVID19 looming its ugly head, we are in the depths of an even greater economic downturn, resulting in many more retrenchments at the beginning of 2020.

  This is a time of uncertainty and anxiety. With the change in daily routine and the insecurity of needing to earn an income, it is difficult to navigate the new territory.  “However, it is important to take control of your life and plan ahead.  There are proactive steps which you can take to empower yourself and put yourself more in charge of the situation,” says Taryn Steenkamp, Head of National Sales at Boston City Campus.

Steenkamp provides the following advice to help you remain buoyant:

Your employer

Practical steps will get you on the road to moving ahead. Engage with the company which is letting you go.  Find out about your pension and provident fund.  You can also supplement your income by finding out about Unemployment Insurance which can help you for up to 6 months, taking away some of the pressure of not having a steady income.  Find out if you have an income protect policy which will pay you out. It is also important to let all your creditors know what’s happening so that you can make the necessary arrangements with them to avoid falling into bad debt.

Get backup

Use your network of family and friends that you can rely for advice, coaching and support.  This is especially important if you have children, if you are the primary caregiver. Surrounding yourself (virtually for now) with people who care provides an anchor for you to help you to get through this time. 

Try your best to keep busy

You need a daily purpose, and a schedule. It is also important to keep your mind active and occupied to avoid falling into a slump. Enrol for short courses that enhance your skills and add value to your CV, increasing your employment eligibility.  Or consider starting that degree or Postgrad that you never got around to. You will never regret starting on a pathway of continued education. This is the ideal time to build your CV. The Boston Postgraduate Diploma in Management offers unique skills for the fourth industrial revolution, and for these undefined times such as which we now find ourselves. 

Find ways to start over

Be open to taking other jobs just to get you on your feet again.  Look at websites such as Upwork that offer adhoc projects that can be done from home, using your existing skills. This will also give you an idea of which skills are in demand and will result in employment opportunities.  Be creative in terms of your resources in this transitional episode.  Use this time to explore different industries in which you may have an interest.  Leverage your LinkedIn network to offer your services.

Use this time to re-skill yourself.  Take courses which can help you focus on a new subject while building your self-esteem by gaining a new or deeper competency.

Coping emotionally

“Keep in mind that this is happening to you.  It’s not who you are.  Although it may feel completely personal, it has nothing do with you and everything to do with the economic environment,” says Steenkamp.

  Focus on the things over which you have control.  Start small with just getting up and getting dressed.

“It is important to manage your expectations.  There is a strong likelihood that it will take 6 – 18 months to find a job comparative with the one you lost,” says Steenkamp.

  “Feeling down is a natural result of retrenchment but keeping busy and taking proactive steps can help you manage this challenging time,” she says. “Retrenchment is one thing – but it’s the aftermath that’s the real issue. Get sleep, exercise and keep your mind active.  It is a difficult time but keep on reminding yourself that this too shall pass,” concludes Steenkamp.