'I’ve been made redundant five times. Here’s what I’ve learnt.'

Being made redundant kind of sucks. 

I can say this with some authority because it’s happened to me, er... five times now.

(Oh and for the record, I'm 38 and way too young to be this experienced at losing jobs in my honest opinion.)

But in the industry I went and chose for myself all those years ago when my eyes were still bright and my tail still bushy (print media, FYI) along with so so many others, job losses have sadly become par for the course in recent years. 

Especially since this whole pandemic thing kicked off, hasn't that just been a kick in the d**k?

I never thought I’d get used to losing my job, but when I started to average two redundancies every two years, I realised I... kind of developed a knack for it. Oh and, for the record, I don't suck at what I do. From closures to mergers and downsizing, I just seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time... a lot of the time.

Watch: The star signs when there's a problem at work. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia. 

I'm not trying to sound blasé about this whole shebang. There’s absolutely no question that finding yourself without work is major, especially at a time like now (hello, cost-of-living crisis), and a job loss can be absolutely devastating. 


It was for me, the first time. And the second. Aaand the third...

By the fifth 'don't let the door hit you on the way out' etc, etc, it definitely still stung, I'm not going to lie. And if it happens another five times (please don't let it happen another five times) it will still feel pretty ick. 

But I don’t think it’s wildly out of line to say that, by that point, I’d gotten kind of... good at being made redundant (weird humble brag, sort of? Idk...). 

And I’ve learnt a few key things along the way that have helped me through those tough times.

It’s not your fault.

Whether it was a company close-down, a staffing restructure or some other reason, being made redundant feels pretty s**tty. It’s as if the business you’ve worked your butt off for (the late nights! The weekends in the office!) is basically saying:

"It’s not me, it’s you."


But what I finally wrapped my head around is that it actually wasn’t me. And if it’s a genuine redundancy, it’s probably not you either.

(Disclaimer: If you’ve been fired because you rock up two hours late every day, take long boozy lunches, yell at your workmates and don’t actually do any work it actually might be you. Just saying.)

Listen to this episode of 8 Minutes To Change Your (Work) Life, featuring Mark Bouris. Post continues after podcast. 


You wonder what you could’ve done differently, how much harder you could’ve worked, why you weren’t good enough… It feels like you, personally, have failed.

But that's just incorrect.

You were good enough. You are good enough. I was and am, too.

The point is, it’s not even about being 'good enough', or the effort or the years or the proverbial blood, sweat and (occasionally literal) tears you’ve put in. 

It’s not even about you, really – even though it’s you who still has rent/a mortgage to pay, a family to feed… It’s about businesses bettering their bottom dollar and, yes, it flippin' sucks but, sadly, the ‘human-ness’ of it all isn’t factored into most companies’ costings. Which brings me to my next point…

Take a tip from Elsa.

Yes, I’m talking about our Frozen queen. Say it with me now:

Let. It. Go.

I know, I know – this is so much easier said than done. 

I get it. It’s hard. Like, REALLY hard. Did I want to lose jobs I loved five times over? Of course not. Did I get any say in the matter? Also, no. 

I had zero control, and in a world where we get to have our say on So Very Many Things – from who we spend time with to where we go and what we do/eat/wear/say/think/buy/love/hate and on and on and on – having control of something as massive as our livelihood rudely prised from our fingers can come as a huge shock to the system.


I’m not saying you should ignore the hurt, the anger, the fact that you feel like you’ve just been shafted by the company/the universe/the god you do or don't believe in. You’ve got to feel your feelings to move through them, so don’t suppress that.

But at the same time, in my experience, trying to wrench back control of any situation that’s legitimately outside your power (like, say, your entire department closing down and the company not having any jobs available to slot you into) will just do your head in.

Taking control of the things I could (like annoying HR with endless questions about the process and getting politely up in their faces about any new roles that might be popping up), plus letting go of the parts I couldn’t control (e.g. that there "Just Isn’t A Job Here That Fits Your Expertise Anymore"), helped me feel a bit less like my future was completely in someone else’s hands.

Prepare for the worst.

This sounds doom and gloom, but hear me out. The fact is, in an unstable industry (and don't they all feel that way right now?), you’ve got to be ready for the s**t to hit the fan at any moment.

I’m not saying live in fear – that would be boring and sad and scary and it’s not going to do you any favours at all. Who wants to live like that? But when the world is changing around you, you’ve got to keep up. I'm talking about upskilling, friends, and the internet is jam-packed with courses and workshops galore (from reputable places, too, not just Insta spruikers) who are just gagging to help you add more lines to your CV.


Just because your employment future looks as stable as an IKEA table (hey, I have had mine for 10 years and it is going strong), upskilling can’t ever be a bad idea, even if redundancy never comes your way (you lucky thing).

Something better is probably coming.

Well, now, this is just science. According to one study*, every time one is relieved of one’s job, something that sparks way more joy comes along. It happened in 100 per cent of cases in this extremely valid experiment, and science doesn’t lie.

(*Me. I am the study. It's a small sample size. *shrugs*)

Now look, I hate the saying, "Everything happens for a reason". 

"One door closes and a better one opens," and all that jazz. 

And I’m not trying to say it’s fate if you've been made redundant, because that diminishes the big-ness of the experience and it's just not what I'm trying to do.

But if you can choose to reframe the negative situation into a positive by looking at potential opportunities it’s presenting you (this could be the perfect time to embark on that dream of opening a shop that fell by the wayside while you were busy being an accountant!), you may find it's easier to keep you moving forward – and could just find yourself happier than ever six months down the track.

Alix Nicholson is Mamamia's Managing Editor. Want to hear more from her? Head on over to her Instagram.

Feature image: Supplied/Canva.

Are you someone who values beauty, health, and self-care? Take our short survey to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher!