Redundancy is devastating and often happens when least expected. Sadly it continues to happen to thousands in this turbulent economic crisis turning an ever increasing number of people’s lives upside down. A man I spoke to recently told me “I felt numbness and incredulity and an initial sense of isolation – it affected my self esteem. I hadn’t expected it, I was so shocked. I felt disappointed and cheated.”
Going from two wages to one is very hard for any family. Redundancy can put a strain on any partnership, but if you have been together a long time it may be easier to understand each other and work the problems out. For many who have spent a lifetime dominated by the rat race of work, always on the go running here and there, the idea of sitting around the house for hours on end is horrific. Many older people will have worked conscientiously for 30 years or more and the thought of signing on for unemployment benefit is particularly distasteful to proud people. One of the biggest worries is whether or not there will have enough money to survive albeit at a lower level of living than before. But the biggest challenge of all will be with yourself for you are the only person who can rebuild your ego.
And to compound the problem there is still a huge bias against older people when it comes to re-employment. It seems grossly unfair that Government spends billions of pounds helping young people find employment and only a fraction to assist older people who really do need help to find another job in order to support both themselves and dependants. People are desperate to work, they have family and commitments and yet employers tend to favour younger applicants. Younger bosses in particular should be discouraged from shunning older job seekers. They need to realize they are turning away experience and knowledge, both valuable assets.
If you have been made redundant and feel the need of a challenge whilst you look or wait for another job why not turn this valuable time to your advantage. There could be something far more interesting and rewarding around the corner. Maybe it’s time to make important changes to your life? Could this be the opportunity for some further education? Maybe you now have time to get up to speed with Computer skills to keep up with the modern world? If being alone hours on end depresses you why not offer your services to one of the many charities who might find your skills very beneficial. Help both you and them by doing voluntary shop work, driving patients to and from hospital appointments, visiting the elderly or assisting young people with sports or crafts. It will be difficult coming to terms with existing on a small pension and just managing to live within your means but voluntary work could give you that sense of pride by putting something back into society.
Maybe it’s time to search for your inner self? An opportunity to explore the religions of the world? You may surprise yourself with your discoveries religious faith can give many people comfort, support and provide the necessary courage to face adversity. It’s very hard to cope with redundancy but you have a responsibility to yourself and your family to look after yourself in particular. The last thing you must do is give up and give in. Who wants to be a burden to others?
Families can try to be supportive but you need to take a conscientious effort to look after your health as best you can. One of the most positive ways is to keep active in both body and mind and don’t let yourself go or allow yourself to get out of touch with what is going on around you. So get off you’re your bottom, get out there and continue to listen and learn. When the prospect of another job does eventually arise you’ll be fit and ready to reach out and grab it!