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Tips for Surviving Redundancy During the Oil Crisis

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During a downturn, oil and gas companies react by making savings, sometimes at the cost of jobs. If you’ve been made redundant, it’s a shock and everyone reacts differently to the news. If you can look on the enforced change as an opportunity, you can begin to take your career in a new direction. Here are OilFinity’s tips on how to cope with redundancy and change your situation for the better. - Jess Potts


1. Dealing emotionally with redundancy


For many, redundancy can result in stress and emotional turmoil. Workers describe feelings of shock and losing their sense of purpose. It’s hard not to take it personally but redundancy doesn’t carry the stigma it once had in days of full employment. Today’s workforce is very mobile and technical change means jobs become redundant. It’s no reflection on the individual worker and can open up new opportunities.


If redundancy has been looming for some time, maybe you’ve come to accept it. You still need to learn to recognise signs of stress and deal with it early. If you feel you’re not coping, talk to your doctor.


2. Taking control of practicalities


Work out a plan of action. Remember, there is no such thing as luck: luck is preparation met with opportunity! It’s important to involve your loved ones, rather than trying to deal with the emotions and practicalities on your own. Decisions taken now will affect everyone and they have a right to be involved. They are also there to support you and you should let them do so.


Discuss your change in circumstances with organisations that can help, such as ACAS [http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1461] and Citizens’ Advice Bureau [https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk] (in the UK) or similar organisations near your location. Accept any help offered by your former employer. You might be surprised how optimistic you can feel, once you know what your options are.


3. Understanding your rights and entitlements


It’s very important to manage your finances, possibly changing your spending priorities, to avoid getting into debt. Government money advice services offer advice on redundancy [ for example - Money Advice Service ]


Check whether you are able to reclaim tax


You might be able to claim benefits while you’re looking for work, such as the UK Jobseeker’s Allowance


These examples are for UK citizens only, but you can look for similar services near you. Don’t spend all the redundancy pay-out at once! That lump sum might look like a new car or a new home but consider that is has to last until you find a new job. Hopefully that might not be a long time but it makes sense to spend wisely until you have landed that new role.


4. Looking for work – your options


Take some time to decide what you want to do next, rather than leaping at the first job opportunity. Giving yourself some time to adjust, practically and emotionally, means your decisions will be rational ones.


The chances are, you won’t see another job advertised that exactly matches the one you have just left – often that’s why the redundancy was necessary. Instead, think laterally and consider other possibilities, such as:


A new job title – don’t immediately dismiss jobs with an unfamiliar job title. Assess your professional skills and experience and see whether they match what employers are looking for, even if they call the job something different. Often you will find that you have much to offer. It’s worth applying even if you don’t feel you are a perfect match.


New job, same industry – spending some of your redundancy money on training to improve your skills or acquire new ones will make you more attractive as a prospective employee. Sometimes former employers offer skills improvement as part of the redundancy package.


Change industry – consider how you can use your transferable skills, such as leadership, project management or practical skills, in another industry. Read the job description to see what the employer is looking for, but don’t compare yourself with an ideal employee – you might be surprised to find they’re actually describing you!


Self-employment – either as a short-term solution or a permanent choice, self-employment is increasingly popular. Consider whether you can use your industry contacts to build a new career or strike out in a completely new direction, perhaps turning a hobby into a source of income for the first time. Seek government funding and support, if you decide this is right for you.


New working pattern – consider changing to part-time, freelance or home-working.


5. Searching for work


Update your CV: make sure it is accurate - get someone to read it to correct any mistakes or remind you of things you might have missed. Be prepared to sell yourself: now is not the time for false modesty. on the other hand, exaggerating your abilities is a risk. List your achievements. Employers are looking for evidence that you can help to solve their problems if they employ you.


Online recruitment websites are where much of today’s recruitment takes place. A big plus is that you don’t have to write out your CV for each application. Bookmark specialist oil and gas industry recruitment websites such as OilFinity and sign up, to ensure the latest jobs that match your skills are sent directly to your inbox.


Social media and online networking are powerful tools for job hunting. Consider joining Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook groups which keep their members updated with job opportunities (such as Oil, Gas & Energy Jobs).


Real-life networking is still important: many people find their next job through contacts made in previous roles. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or email a speculative application to former colleagues who know your abilities and might recommend you.


The job application process can be tiring and intense – take time away from the task to exercise, spend time with family and friends. Finally, don’t forget to celebrate when your start your new job.


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