10 things to do to get the best out of your redundancy

Originally published at Ripples on water. You can comment here or there.

 “Redundancy announcement came as a  shock. No one could believe that after all the hard work we put in and just when the tide was turning round  the company was going into liquidation. There was silence only interrupted by suppressed sighs and sobs…”

It is a mixed feeling of fear, disappointment anger and sadness that we naturally experience in a redundancy situation however there is a lot to look forward to and be excited about when a redundancy happens.  It is the time to re-evaluate our life journey, count achievements and set new goals.

Here a 10  things to do to get the best out of your redundancy.

1. Treat redundancy as a gift

A lot of people get stuck in a rut of their daily lives and do not have time, desire or energy to become that happier and more successful person they wanted to be. Maybe it required additional qualification or knowledge or skill.  It is time to appreciate your freedom of choice, use the time to your advantage and start living your dream.

2. Apply for all the financial help the you are entitled to

In the UK there is a generous welfare system that will make your saving go a lot further. Sometimes you can ever get your mortgage get paid for. After all, you are not going to sign on for long and we and our employer have already paid  more that what we are about to take. For more information about available help please visit the government website

3. Take some time off

 “I always wanted to climb the Snowdon and Skyfell. I packed my backpack with emergency food supplies and crampons, said good-bye to my family and rode off on my motorbike.  North Wales and Lake District were covered with snow and there could not be better scenery for reflecting on the situation. When it was time to return I rode from Keswick to Portsmouth in one day full of resolve and ideas.”

In our daily life we often cannot see the wood for the trees. It can be very helpful to take some time off and  take things into perspective:

  • What matters most to me?
  • What do I want my life to be in 1, 5, 10 years from now?
  • What can I do for the best benefit of myself, my family, my country?


4. Plan your next move

It is easy to find a job similar to the one you had before. The right skills and a good employment history are all that recruiters are looking for. It is even possible to get a “pay raise” as a result of the change.

Next option is to use your existing skills in a different setting:  e.g. moving from a school teacher to a corporate trainer, office based sales to field sales etc.

If you hated your last job and want your career to take a new turn cosider a complete career change. But even then you may find that you already have many skills you can  transfer to your new occupation. There maybe be a skill gap that you will need to fill with formal education, self-education or professional courses and qualifications.

5. It is the opportunity of your life – find out your dream job

If you are unsure about your dream job, here is a list of questions that I found useful:

  • what are your interests?
  • what are your skills?
  • what work values are important to you?
  • what accomplishments are you proud of?
  • what did you enjoy about previous jobs?
  • what characteristics describe a good job?
  • what type of people do you like to work with/for?
  • what type of company do you want to work for?

Go to a job board like www.jobsite.co.uk, www.reed.co.uk or www.monster.co.uk and enter a blank search – scroll results pages and note what job titles catch your eye and resonate with your soul?


6. Your personal inventory

“I found extremely useful the following book: The resume writer’s workbook by Stanley Krantman —2nd ed. ,  ISBN 0-7668-2394-6. Now the 3rd edition is available so check that out. It appearas that the book is available online here: You will heed to work through the complete Chapter 2:  http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=UV4ly11M0zYC&pg=PA12&lpg=PA12&dq=The+Resume+Writer%E2%80%99s+Workbook+skill+assessment&source=bl&ots=zdjO0a5UAQ&sig=jvS71FXSmY4boVjWiw507AR100o&hl=en&sa=X&ei=eD7jUKjYDOuV0QXzgIHgAw&ved=0CEIQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=The%20Resume%20Writer%E2%80%99s%20Workbook%20skill%20assessment&f=false

List all your general skills, job specific skills, industry expertise, qualifications and personality traits and special talents that make you a star employee. Make sure that there are actual facts to back up your choices.

7. Bridging the gap

Now look at your dream job descriptions and get a list of skills, expertise areas and personal qualities that those job descriptions demand. Get in touch with friends and just people already in that job,  join LinkedIn groups and get as much of an insider’s view as possible, so that you can plan your transition path.

The size of the skill gap may appear intimidating. Well, some skills can be matched on a more generic level, such as supervision, appraisals, managing time, budgets, people, facilitating, leadership. Find an example in your life when you really shined at that quality and add it to the gap. This will build your self-esteem and prepare you for the new challenge. After all, the only way to prove it is by changing your behaviour to what you have a proven record being capable of. Easy!

This exercise will help you to reduce the apparent skill gap and build your confidence: to build your perfect CV (there is not better advice on CV writing than the  aforementioned book: The resume writer’s workbook by Stanley Krantman) and get through those interviews.

You may have to go back to school for more technical skills and formal qualifications.  But you have all the time you need and hopefully the financial support from redundancy money and state welfare.

Note : being in education for more than 16 hours per week may be considered full time and your allowance may stop. Check this with Jobcentreplus and of course you can do all the self-study that you want in the comfort of your home.

8. 30-seconds ad clip

30-seconds advert technique is a very powerful way to introduce yourself to potential screening or hiring person.

In just 30 seconds deliver a sales pitch that will explain your background, highlight your main strength and benefits you can deliver to the company. Learn it by heart so that you can recite it when woken up in the middle of the night.

I found this very effective when caught out by an unexpected call.  It will give you confidence to start the conversation off the right foot and help direct it towards why you are best suited for the vacancy.

9. Job hunting

Prerequisites:  A perfect CV (not like this one), tons of self-confidence, 30-seconds advert.

The main channels for finding a job are job boards, LinkedIn, networking and cold calling.
The main principle – be enthusiastic and get the feedback if you can.

Job boards worked best for me but a lot of people complain about lack of response.  You need to to get this right. Job boards are just automated search machines and your chances of getting noticed are as good as the information you provide. Your perfect CV will need to be job board friendly, which means that it is well formatted, and includes all the key phrases and skills, that your potential employer might be looking for. So put on hiring manager hat and make a list of search terms.  Whenever you get a “you were unsuccessful” message, follow up and find out why your application was turned down.  Your enthusiasm may even reverse the refusal!

Once you get calls from recruiters try to build working relationships with them.  Even if they do not have a suitable job now they will call you later when they do. One of my job offers came from Lesley at Spectrum IT!

LinkedIn is quite self-explanatory but use the same principle as above – LinkedIn sell a candidate search product to hirers. So help them find you by including the right phrases into your profile. Update your profile often.

Networking is a very powerful way to get into a new career. If someone knows you personally they are more likely to turn a blind eye on your lack of relevant experience.

Cold calling is probably the hardest method of all but it allows to discover the otherwise hidden job market. You can research the companies in your area that specialise in your industry field.  It can be phone calls asking about who is dealing with hiring or emails followed by phone calls. It is a great way to meet people and discuss options and certainly leads to job offers as it did for yours truly!

If all fails you can also start your own business.  Jobcentreplus are very supportive and there is help available to come off benefits when your profits materialise. I will not cover this here.

10. Be enthusiastic

No matter what you do, no matter how much or how little progress you are making, stay enthusiastic and focused.

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho


I wrote this to summarise lessons learnt from my recent unemployment and job search period for people who are facing or are dealing with redundancy: those I know personally and those I do not.

Redundancy is usually a great opportunity to refocus your career and achieve your life goals.

It requires a lot of hard work and courage but the reward will be a job and a life you have been dreaming of.



All advice provided by the author without any guarantee and to be used at readers own discretion.



Home network built with bricks and blocks

Originally published at Alien Science. You can comment here or there.

I do not know why I want to write about my well outdated budget system but when I see all the lights glittering in the dark inside the glass cabinet I feel happy.

The collection of various sized boxes evolved in the glass door cabinet over the years to provide me with a reliable file storage, email and groupware, remote and local access, shared printers, centralised parental control, roaming access from any PC/laptop in the house (apparently there are six? ) and many other goodies that grew inside the box.

In the heart of the system is the Server: a CentOS Linux based fanless PC built with an Atom Intel integrated motherboard, it is very “green” and quiet.  it offers 1TB dedicated storage and runs all the services and scheduled scripts. It runs headless which means without a monitor. Services include Samba domain server, Cups, Squid proxy for web filtering and parental control, Virtual Box (not Open Source, sorry) for running  virtual PCs, email and groupware server now retired and replaced with Gmail, LAMP for website design, and various backups and syncs including sending encrypted archives to the cloud.  I hope I will never need them. It will take ages to download them. Samba domain with Cups allows to login on any PC in the house, access files with correct permissions, and use a printer.

All data is backed up to the attached USB drive – an incremental backup based on this Howto: http://www.mikerubel.org/computers/rsync_snapshots/The enclosure is  Antec MX-1 with the FAN disconnected. The WD Caviar Green 1 TB SATA drive has been running cool for a couple of years and hopefully more to come.

On top of that sits a stock Virgin Media rebadged Netgear cable router. Its main feature is an array of blue flashing LEDs.

Under the left leg of the latter is a very useful little box – VoIP to ATA adapter. It allows free phone calls to some 40 countries including the UK using  a regular phone and VoipDiscount service. It is not entirely free as you need some balance and 120 free days rule applies but VoIP does make savings to someone like me who calls abroad frequently.

Everything is powered by a APS smart UPS which will shut down the server and the connected PC when the battery is running low. The total purchasing cost of the system was probably around £250 about a half of the latest Apple gadget.

In the era of iCloud,  GoogleDrive and Dropbox the idea of storing your data on a local file system may appear  vapidly old-fashioned, let alone backing up to a UBS drive. But would you really send your confidential files to a cloud? Don’t you think that the cloud sysadmins cannot read them and can you trust them?

So, how is the system received by the users? Overall positive: out of four users one is very satisfied with the system, two have complained about the Internet access time quotas and two have reported false positives such as teen departments of online stores and a large number of Mail Online pages being blocked. So far we have not lost any data in spite of a couple of hard drive failures, root-kits and viruses.

But the best features is the flickering of lights  in the dark room:



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