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Redundancy can be a killer blow – but it can also be an opportunity. You’ll go through a range of emotions: denial, anger, despair, embarrassment – and a few more beside.  Your family and friends will try to help but at the end of the day it’s a very solitary experience. You’re not the first to be made redundant (and won’t be the last) so learn from those who’ve been through it themselves and heed their advice.

DON’T PANIC. That’s easy to say than to do. On day one of your redundancy (perhaps with mortgage payments and other bills looming) you’ll want to jump at the first job that starts paying a regular wage. But you need to be confident in your own skills and abilities. Jumping into the wrong job could be disastrous in the long term. Keep your nerve and spend time looking for the right job.

BUDGET. One key to avoiding blind panic is to reassess your finances and budget for the time out of work. Look to your redundancy pay as a source of regular income over the next few months. Cut back on luxuries and determine what benefits you are entitled to. It may be a tough time ahead but if you’re confident about your finances you can plan your route back to work more carefully.

YOUR FUTURE. You didn’t ask to leave your last job but it’s happened. And it’s a chance to think about those ‘pipe dreams’ as well as some harsh realities. Are you going to look for a similar job or are you going to switch career, perhaps going self-employed? If you’re looking for a similar job that may mean a longer commute to where the work is – or perhaps even moving house. If it’s a change of career or going self-employed then that’s going to require some in-depth research to see if it’s truly viable.

HELP IS AT HAND. There are many organisations – government ones and commercial ones – prepared to help you through redundancy and back into long-term employment. And in this internet-age, accessing them has never been easier. Start at the DirectGov website, but a Google search of redundancy will lead you to plenty of online help. And don’t forget the real world: talk to those who have been through redundancy or opted for self-employment and see what obstacles they had to overcome.

STAY STRUCTURED. After the discipline of nine-to-five it can be hard to cope with an open-ended day. The problem isn’t that you’ll spend all your time watching daytime TV (I hope!) but rather than the silent monster called panic will have you working morning, noon and night. Stopping ‘work’ – or looking for work – at 5pm and enjoying time relaxing with your family is what will keep you sane. It will also ensure you’re fresh to start work again with a clear head at nine o’clock the next morning.