#InTheTrenches: Life after retrenchment

My Career
My Career

Retrenchment is something none of us like to think about, but it is an unfortunate reality for so many of us. So, before we get into the nitty-gritty, we would like to offer you some encouraging words from the greatest philosophers of our time … Destiny’s Child:

‘I'm a survivor (what), I'm not gon' give up (what)
I'm not gon' stop (what), I'm gon' work harder (what)
I'm a survivor (what), I'm gonna make it (what)
I will survive (what), keep on survivin' (what)’

You’ve been on this planet long enough to know that the modern workplace, like life in general, is brutal: It has teeth and a loud roar and can tear you apart before you have the opportunity to say, ‘I’m sorry, come again?’

One day you have the prime parking spot, a PA and get to wear sneakers to work. The next you get a letter, an ulcer and a sympathy smile.

Here is a retrenchment guide to help you unleash your inner Beyoncé and run the world.

  • #StayWoke: Make sure that you’re not so overwhelmed after receiving the initial retrenchment notice that you don’t insist on exercising your financial and legal rights, especially if it’s not a voluntary retrenchment offer. 
  • #AssessTheSituation: Use the resources available to you – these could help you with the financial management of your retrenchment package or even with starting a new hustle.
  • #TakeAdvantage: Insist that the company pay for independent financial advice on how to invest your retrenchment package and pension payout. Also, ask for letters of reference from senior managers, associates and clients. 
  • #MentalHealthAwareness: Acknowledge your emotions and understand that you have a right to feel this way.
  • #GlowUp: Use this experience to build yourself, nurture yourself, do some physical exercise and talk to someone. You’re not the same person who started that job – you have so much more to offer the world now.
  • #OpenYourMind: Try to recognise the opportunities that lie ahead and what you can learn from the situation. Importantly, don’t fall into the trap of obsessing about your situation. Pursue your interests and look outside the box you have been placed in.
  • #WhoAmI: Do a complete assessment of all your skills and expertise. Understand and identify your technical and behavioural skills, followed by researching and clarifying possible options and preferences, looking at both the formal sector and your entrepreneurial options. 
  • #PlanAhead: Work out an interim financial plan. While you’re trying to find a job or considering pursuing a new venture, you probably will have to adjust your lifestyle.