When you know you’re about to hear that big scary word, ‘redundancy’, there’s a strange kind of acceptance. It’s almost a relief, because at least you now know where you stand – even though it seems you’re now standing in the pouring rain.
It’s the same when you’re out and about and the black sky is threatening. You become pretty restless. Where will you go? You haven’t got your coat. There’s nowhere nearby to shelter and you’re miles away from the car. But then when the heavens do open – and I mean really open – all you can do is laugh and embrace it. Because, really, what else can you do?
I spent the first few days of redundancy feeling a bit meh! Where would I end up? The potential was both terrifying and exciting. One minute, I was considering where we’d move to if we had to sell the house, the next, I was thinking about all the exciting career paths I might go on to. But it was lockdown. Was there ever going to be a new job out there? I was one of so many people newly redundant, feeling lost and seeing very little on the horizon. It was undoubtedly a scary time.
But it was kindness that changed all of that.
Lockdown has seen so many tragedies and societal challenges – some of which have been immense and devastating. But at the end of the day, while there are some people out there who are happy to recklessly break lockdown rules or practice terrible prejudice and harm, there are also lots of amazing human beings out there who have all come together to support each other.
And I think that’s where my current state of happiness and calm has emerged from. The kindness of others.
I’ve had friends and former colleagues sending me referrals or links to job ads. I’ve had people recommending me as a freelancer to people they know. I’ve had people checking in and telling me I can make it in the freelance world. And because of that, I’ve been able to muster the confidence in myself. I now have faith in myself and I am taking the plunge and growing a freelance business.
I’d NEVER have done this before!
Making new friends on LinkedIn and having them recommend me to potential clients has been a breath of fresh air. Well, more than fresh air, it’s brought the money in to pay the mortgage! But in return, I’ve been able to pay it back. I’ve shared my expertise with them and forwarded opportunities that I think they might be a great fit for.
Of course, you do have to build your own flow of work, but giving back feels really really good. And I never thought the freelance world would be so supportive when we’re all fighting for work and trying to keep our heads above water. But it is. And not only that, freelancing can be a lonely world. But when there are people who want to share ideas, talk and just check in, that isolation can quickly dissipate.
If, like me, you find yourself redundant and wondering about going it alone I would just say this. Yes, be your own boss, it’s liberating. But always find the time to share and collaborate. Instead of standing alone in the rain fiercely protecting all your leads and potential clients, you’ll soon be basking in the sunshine with like-minded folk and seeing even more opportunities open up. After all, to be competitive in the marketplace you not only have to be good at what you do, but you also need to have a great reputation for being personable and working with integrity.
Your competitors can sometimes be your super-power and your best friends. What a life-changing lesson to learn.