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When Jason Nitz was asked to come in for a meeting "first thing Monday", he knew exactly what it meant: redundancy. Here's what he did next...

By Jason Nitz

You know that feeling you get deep down in your stomach when you sense something’s not right?

That’s the feeling I got when I received a call on a Friday afternoon asking me if I could come in early Monday for a meeting. This usually isn’t a strange request, but when it comes as you’re about to head on leave, alarms bells start ringing. Others within the organization were also getting ‘the call’ and it was obvious to all that something was up.

After a restless weekend where my wife and I tried our best to celebrate our son’s birthday at Seaworld, Monday came around slowly and it was time for ‘that’ meeting at 7:30am. I'd seen a few people before me walk out of the meeting room with packing boxes, so I pretty much knew what was coming.

My turn came around and sure enough I had been made redundant. I didn’t really catch the reasons why, as the world around me slowed down and everything was covered in a fog. Apart from the anger all I felt was numb. How could they do this to me?! I’d just voluntarily given 14 months of my life working overseas, not in the best of conditions I might add, and this is how they were repaying me!

I was given 20 minutes to leave the building once I’d handed everything back to HR. So, that was it – 4.5 years gone in 20 minutes.

I suppose being made redundant is similar to grief in a way – those same feelings of shock, anger, disappointment, loss and fear all manifest themselves, often not in that order and sometimes all at once. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so loyal to the company all those months ago when I was being headhunted for better and bigger roles – the words “the company has been good to me so I should stay” clanged around in my head as I caught the train home for the last time. If only I knew this is how it was going to end.

How do you tell people you’ve been made redundant? It felt like I had just come out of the doctors and I was telling them I had a terminal disease. Most reactions were of surprise and “this is a joke, right?”. But overall most people, including my family, were outraged to some degree, much like I was when I found out.

"I decided to use the redundancy to my advantage"

Over the following days I decided to use the redundancy to my advantage and not mope around feeling sorry for myself – after all the company had done me a favour even though it was hard to see it that way. They had released me so I could find a better job that was ‘meant to be’. At least that’s the mantra my wife kept telling me though I found it hard to agree at the time.

I got stuck into applying for jobs but soon found the market wasn’t like it was five years ago when I was being called weekly by recruiters looking for someone urgently. Boy, had the tables turned! Several jobs for which I was well suited had long application periods, so I was just going to have to sit tight and hope I got a call next month.

It’s amazing how slow four weeks can take to roll around – at every ring of the phone I jumped with anticipation hoping that someone had decided to call early and offer me a job. But alas, it was not to be.

The hardest part of finding a new job, be it as a result of a redundancy or other reason, is the feeling of not knowing. Not knowing if you’re a likely candidate; not knowing if you’ll get a call; or even not knowing if anyone has read your application. The best advice I got was from a friend who happens to be a senior recruiter for a large firm – he said over coffee one day that during the first 4-6 weeks of applying for jobs you sit around ‘spinning your wheels’. It’s the usual time it takes for applications to get processed and for companies to work out who’s who. After that, it becomes a bit like fishing – you throw the burley out, get a bite here, then they become more regular, and before you know it you’ll have a few offers all at once. And I’m glad to say that’s exactly how it turned out for me (thanks Mark!).

"Pay for a professional to review your resumé"

Take the time after a redundancy to review your resumé – pay for a professional service to revamp it if it’s looking a bit old. It’s certainly well worth it once you see the results. I had an old resumé I’ve had for years though I knew it needed a refresh. I couldn’t believe my eyes once I got it back from someone who does resumé writing for a living.

Work out what your ideal job is and only apply for those. Throwing your resumé out for every job that even slightly resembles your skills and experience only says one thing – desperation! It won't take long for recruiting agencies to see that you’re applying for everything given they generally advertise jobs in multiple ways.

But most of all, have faith that you’ll get a job and come to the realization that it will take time. Three months is about average given the lengthy application periods required by large companies, not to mention the often drawn out and cumbersome HR recruiting process they have afterwards. Should you find you have several offers around the same time, rejoice in the feeling that after all you’ve been though, you’re wanted after all.

Editor's note on a happy ending

A couple of weeks after writing this article for MiningFM, Jason wrote back to report that he's accepted a DIDO role with Newmont and will be moving with the family to Perth. Congratulations Jason! Great job.

You can follow Jason on Twitter: @jasonnitz

And for professional resumé writing, Jason used Rebecca Fraser. You'll find her via her website www.rebeccafraser.com.au or Facebook page www.facebook.com/RebeccaFraserConsulting.