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GUEST COMMENT: How to be resilient when you've been made redundant

In the current climate, it helps to be resilient. Goldman Sachs even runs a specific Resilience Week. If you're working in financial services, you'll need to be resilient to deal with the politics and the long hours, but resilience is even more invaluable when you've been made redundant.

As discussed previously on this site, the Harvard Business Review posits a 3 pronged resilience model. Resilient people are, it said: accepting of reality, resourceful and understanding of their purpose in life.

If you've been made redundant, it's normal to go through a period of reflection akin to bereavement. Why you? What happened? Resilient people come through this quickly and reach an acceptance of their new situation. They usually do this by being focused and proactive. They are often highly aware of their environment in terms of what is possible and what is not.

Resourcefulness is also imperative in redundancy. The most active and effective people in career transition are often very confident lateral thinkers. They will take an objective view of their core skills and work out how to apply this in different ways.

Look at some well known City professionals who've switched sectors. What inspired Johnnie Boden to make the move from stockbroker at Warburg to clothing and retail entrepreneur? What prompted Jason Mohr to leave investment banking at Rothschild and set up a very successful waste disposal business, 'Any Junk?'

The most resilient people I encounter know exactly what they would do if the current career path did not take them any further. They are usually the ones who have a Plan A of what their career search will look like (all stepped out with clear goals) and also have an equally well articulated Plan B.

Resilient people have the insight to appreciate that for the most part they are dealing with uncertainty in both financial markets and in corporate culture

So who are some good role models for regaining our sense of purpose? I have one client who left a top ten global asset manager after 16 years and spent time with one of his hobby investments - a well known restaurant. He trained staff. He monitored client feedback. He loved it. The business flourished.

Separately, Gina Miller, a successful high profile financial entrepreneur and partner at SCM Private, may have in her hands a valuable way for those in career transition to get a sense of perspective and purpose. After much research earlier this year she launched This is a very simple and flexible way to match skills with selected charities.  She notes a good pipeline of finance and business professionals applying to this exchange.

The people Gina works with want to spend months between jobs donating time and energy to charities that need vital business skills and support. It's a pragmatic way to take a look at City life and what beckons next.

Sarah Dudney is a City career coach at Ignite Career. You can get in touch with her at, or through

AUTHORSarah Dudney Insider Comment
  • Gi
    28 July 2012

    Not sure if resilient is the word to describe it, but it seems to be that the people best equipped to survive redundancy are those who don't define themselves by their job.

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