Being made redundant is often nothing to do with you personally. But somehow it feels like it. You can actually be a star performer, hard- working, and all round highflier, yet somehow, suddenly, you’re out of a job. And your emotions are also on their own journey of confusion. Company morale goes though the floor, and suddenly you’re starting to worry about paying the mortgage, when you’ve always taken this for granted. You are not alone. It's a harsh reality for millions of people around the world amid the worst economic recession in living memory.
But for some, redundancy can be a good thing, too. Believe it or not, a recession may actually be the best time to start a business. Many world-famous companies were launched during tough economic times - including Disney and Microsoft.
There are many examples of people who have made a positive career change as a result of redundancy. Garden designer, landscaper and founder of Fruitshare Sharon Hockenhull is one such example.
Sharon explains “I have been running my own garden design and landscaping business for the last five years. With a previous background in graphic design coupled with a passion for horticulture, it was only a matter of time before the two disciplines would come together. Making the transition was not easy (not entirely planned either), but arose from the nightmares of being made redundant when I was just 12 weeks pregnant with my first child. Looking back, it was the best thing that could have happened to me. My website, fruitshare.net, is my little solution to help make the most out of the country’s forgotten fruits by allowing people to post their surpluses on to the site. It is a none-profit organisation and is purely born from a passion for growing fruit and not wanting to see perfectly good food going to waste.
Like many garden designers I came into it late after being made redundant in my mid forties. This gave me a chance to reassess how I wanted to live my life and thus I was able to move in a slightly different direction.”
Another example is Jane Thormley, of Windrush Designs. In Jane’s words “I had worked for twelve years as an architect with the BBC designing radio and television studios, a very high pressure job which I enjoyed. However being made redundant allowed me the time to reassess how I wanted to work in the future.
I have always enjoyed working in my garden and growing a wide range of plants so I decided to work in horticulture. I did several garden courses: the General, Advanced and Diplomas in order to get a good basic grounding and since 2009 have been working as a garden designer.”
Redundancy, either expected or otherwise, can be a nightmare - but it certainly isn't such a disaster if you make the best of your new circumstances. The biggest threat to your survival is going a few months without your regular pay; fortunately this is something you can protect against, either by saving a little every week now, or taking out income protection insurance.
But what will you do if you're made redundant - long term? That's the question. Will you scuttle back to the job market with your updated CV? Or will you take your career into your own hands and explore the potential of more freedom, more flexibility and more profit?
If you have the brains and the motivation to lead your own career destiny, going self-employed after you're made redundant is a no brainer...
See our latest student here at MyGardenSchool – looking to develop a career building treehouses! Explore your creativity and options and why not consider a career in garden design or horticulture.
To discover a new career in garden design or horticulture, or just for fun, try a four week online gardening course at MyGardenSchool, or take a look at the online Garden Design Diploma Course with Oxford College of Garden Design.