Coping with the 5 Transition Stages of Redundancy

Covid-19 has thrown the job market into disarray with no-one and no role being exempt from its impact and devastation. The economy has been rocked once again, which has a waterfall effect on the roles available – new and existing.

The global pandemic has created a career crisis, leading to people being made redundant in almost every industry, even those once thought untouchable, for example, did you ever think there would be a time that pilot recruitment would stop? But it has and pilots are being made redundant, along with IT professionals, customer service agents and people throughout the hospitality industry, to name a few.

Being made redundant isn’t easy, even the word itself can be a bitter pill to swallow because no one wants to feel as though they are surplus to requirements. It can leave you feeling as if your value was determined by your job and now that your job has been made redundant, where does that leave you. But it is very important that you take a big step back to reflect and rest, cut yourself some slack and remember that it is the job that is redundant, not you as an individual. You as a person are never redundant and your value is not and never will be, determined by your job.

Stages of Transition

Every loss comes with stages of transition, while you may not experience all the stages, it is worth knowing what they are so that you can overcome them, these are:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

These stages of transition can happen in any order and frequently occur more than once, or not at all.


It is not unreasonable or unusual to feel shock or denial when you are told you are about to lose your role, especially if the reduction in workforce was kept secret and done without warning. However, staying in a place of denial for too long can lead to procrastination, over-thinking and not taking any action, which will leave you stuck without a role.

Working through Denial

  • Discuss the situation with friends and family, this will make more real and break the illusion of denial. It could even help you from a networking point of view as one of the people close to you may have contacts who can assist you in your job search.
  • Take the opportunity to self-reflect and determine what it is that you would like to do next.
  • Be honest with yourself and others about how you are feeling, redundancy is a shock that will shake up your emotions.


It is perfectly normal to feel anger towards your employer or the situation that led to your redundancy and even with your settlement package. Anger often stems from the control that has been taken away from you because your choice has been removed. But anger, if it continues for too long can cause high amounts of stress and leave your family and friends as unintended casualties if you don’t manage it and do all you can to overcome it.

Working through Anger

  • Allow the anger in, feel it and then acknowledge it and let it go. Nelson Mandela once said, “I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison” and he’s right, your anger is only hurting you and not the situation or people you are angry with.
  • Do not take your anger out on other people. You must take responsibility for your emotions and your actions.
  • Prepare for more change. Change is coming from all directions and getting yourself ready for change will help you to ease through the anger and get yourself ready for your next step.
  • Do not bad mouth your employer. It is likely that they did all they could to hold onto the roles within the business. Most managers don’t want to see good people put out of work, it is not personal and often is the difference between the whole company surviving, or not.


Bargaining is often preceded by “What if” or “If only” and “If you make this happen for me, then I will…”, the trouble is wishing, praying or hoping that you will be saved from a situation will not change where you are. You cannot turn back time. Bargaining may seem illogical, but it is a psychological delay tactic, which prevents you from having to face up to the loss you have experienced and may even disguise any guilt you may be feeling.

Working through Bargaining

  • Organise yourself and your days to prevent analyse paralysis caused by over-analysing everything that happened leading up to the redundancy.
  • Do not panic, panic will cause you to become disorganised. If you create a detailed plan for your career transition, you can avoid panic and stay clear on what steps to take next.


It is common to feel low mood, sadness, anxiety and depression after the loss of your job, especially when it comes as a surprise. The worry can cause you to lose sleep and disrupt your sleeping patterns, question your self-worth, your weight can fluctuate, and you could lose interest in the things you once loved to take part in, which all compounds to make you feel worse. These are all perfectly natural responses to the situation you find yourself in.

Working through Depression

  • Spend time with family and friends, don’t cut yourself off. The people who love you and care for you want to support you and be there for you.
  • Take good care of your physical and mental health by eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise, get out into the sunshine and reach out to your social circle. The vitamin D in sunshine helps to boost your mood and improve your health and movement stimulates your body to produce the endorphins that boost your mood.
  • Play your favourite music and move your body. Music can change your state and therefore your inspiration in an instant.
  • If you find that is not enough, reach out to a professional and talk your feelings through with them so that you can develop a plan for moving forward.



This is the final stage of transition that you have been working toward. This is the turning point that will allow you to feel excited about moving forward in your new exciting career. Acceptance will leave you feeling positive and emboldened to take the necessary action to achieve your goals.

Reflecting on your Choices

Having your role become at risk or being made redundant is a great time to reflect on your next career move and set goals to keep you motivated and on track to success.

Evaluating your personal and professional circumstances can help you to make decisions about your new role and your future. Here are some questions to help you plan your next big move:

  • Is this career or industry still a good match for me?
  • Am I still interested in this kind of work and the industry?
  • Do I still enjoy doing this kind of work?
  • Is the industry culture a good fit for me?
  • Is there still development opportunity for me in this career path?
  • Am I in a ready for change?
  • Is there another field or career else grabbing my attention?
  • Do I want to reduce my commute?
  • Can I work remotely?
  • Am I in need of more flexibility?

Next Steps

Define you goals and create an action plan you can stick to that will show you your weekly progress towards your goals.

If you’re having difficulty moving past a transition stage discuss it with someone who can support your career plan, like a Career Coach, Mentor or Therapist. You can book a discovery call with me here, if you would like to better understand how we can work together to help you move the needle forward. Or check out my Coaching Programmes here.

Leave a Reply