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Coping with retrenchment – a ‘how to’  

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2020 can basically be summed up as “The year of living differently”.

Every year we have upheavals, natural disasters and other events that have to be made sense of so that we can lead normalised lifestyles.

We cannot make sense of 2020, so we have to work on getting through each day and adapting our goals.

2019 was a year of major retrenchments, 2020 has seen even more retrenchments, businesses closing, and people losing their profession eg travel agents, pilots, CEO’s.  

In a time of uncertainty with the added change in daily routine and the insecurity of needing to earn an income, setting new goals is very difficult.

“However, take control of your life and plan ahead.  Proactive steps will empower you and put your more in charge of the situation,” says Taryn Steenkamp, Head of National Sales at Boston City Campus.

Steenkamp provides the following advice:

Your employer

Have you been let go? Remember, this is a worldwide event, do not take it personally. Engage with your company.  Find out about your pension and provident fund, and the Unemployment Insurance which is SUPPOSED to help you for up to 6 months, taking away some of the pressure. 

Find out if you have an income protection policy which will pay you out.

Communicate with your creditors so that you can make the necessary arrangements to avoid falling into bad debt.

Use backup

Use your network of family and friends for advice, coaching and support.  This is especially important if you have children, you will need to be able to leave your kids in a safe place while you go off to an interview.

Keep busy

Finding a new job is your new job. Don’t allow yourself to fall into a slump. You need a daily purpose and a schedule. Keep your mind active.

Enrol for a short course or even a degree that enhances your skills and adds value to your CV, increasing your employment eligibility.  Boston has payment plans and is modular based so now is a good time to get qualifications that put you ahead of the rest in the unemployment queue. Boston also has qualifications that will help you set up your own business, consulting in IT or selling a product or service. Studies will open your eyes to new ideas and give you the confidence to set out on your own. Volunteer some of your time – either at a business which can use your skillset or a non-profit organisation or schools.

Find ways to start over

Be open to taking other jobs to get you on your feet again.  Be creative in terms of your resources.  From looking after kids, taking to and from school, becoming an Uber driver.  Recruit-my-mom is an outstanding source of funds and temporary work.

Leverage your LinkedIn network to offer your services.

Re-skill yourself.

Coping emotionally

“Keep in mind that this is happening to you.  It’s not who you are.  It has everything to do with the economic environment,” says Steenkamp.

Focus on the things over which you have control. 

  • Get up and get dressed early every day. 
  • Go to job centres and register with the department of labour.
  • Keep yourself busy with tasks
  • Try earn money taking on odd jobs to help you avoid losing your self-value. 

“Manage your expectations.  While there are opportunities, this process can take 6 – 18 months to find a job comparative with the one you lost,” says Steenkamp.

Suntosh Pillay says that the Pandemic has caused an emotional Tsunami. Add to that the outcome of retrenchment, “leaves people in a perpetual state of stress” he says. “Taking proactive steps can help you manage this challenging time,” says Steenkamp.  “Get sleep, exercise and keep your mind active.  It is a difficult time but keep reminding yourself that this too shall pass, and you will soon be back on your feet”

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