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Retrenchment – make it a hidden blessing


2019 has seen retrenchment from major companies – from Standard Bank, Group Five, ABSA to Multichoice, Continental Tyre and more. 

This can be a time of uncertainty and anxiety. With the change in daily routine and the insecurity of needing to earn an income, it can be extremely 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 & Business College.

Steenkamp provides the following advice to help you remain buoyant in order to overcome this setback:

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.  Ideally, you need 2 – 3 people whose advice you trust.  This is especially important if you have children, if you are the primary caregiver, you will need to be able to leave your kids in a safe place while you go off to an interview.

Surrounding yourself with people who care provides an anchor for you to help you to get through this time. 

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 or a  short courses that enhances your skills and adds value to your CV, increasing your employment eligibility.  Volunteer some of your time – either at a business which can use your skillset or a non-profit organisation or schools.

Find ways to start over

Be open to taking other jobs just to get you on your feet again.  Look in your community.  Be creative in terms of your resources in this transitional episode.  From taking kids to and from school to looking into how you can become an Uber driver.  Recruit -my -mom is an outstanding source of funds and temporary work.

Explore different industries in which you may have an interest.  Leverage your LinkedIn network to offer your services.

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.  Get up and get dressed early every day.  Go to job centres and register yourself with the department of labour. Keep yourself busy with tasks and try earn money to help you avoid losing your self-value and becoming despondent.  It keeps you focused, helping you to re-centre yourself during this time.

“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,” says Steenkamp. “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, and you will soon be back on your feet!” concludes Steenkamp.