The advice you should and shouldn't give to someone recently made redundant

woman carrying box out
Don't tell someone to "rise above", writes journalist Abby Lenton. Photo credit: Getty.

An Australian woman recently made redundant has revealed the pieces of advice she found helpful in the wake of the shock, and has shared them in the hope they'll be useful for others. 

Writing for Body and Soul, journalist Abby Lenton was one of many people made redundant from her full-time job during the coronavirus pandemic. 

"I'm guilty and confused, bitter and downcast, terrified for my future and grateful for my health - a melting pot of feelings akin to the stages of grief," Lenton wrote. "And if one more person tells me to turn my fractured livelihood into an opportunity to 'rise above and overcome', I may just sink into a puddle and never come back." 

Lenton says one of the best things she was told was to "flip the script" and remember, "you weren't made redundant, your role was'". 

"By replacing 'I' with 'my role', I harnessed the power of language to remind myself that my redundancy was something that happened to me, not because of me," she wrote. 

Another helpful thing she says she picked up was that 'unemployment is a full-time job'. 

"Bad movies and conservative politicians will have you believe that an unemployed person is a lazy person - some kind of down-and-out slob completing one job application per every 50 hours spent on Netflix. But now, at a time when I'm jobless, I've never worked harder in my life.

"You will easily spend 40 hours a week trying to dig yourself out of the hole that someone else threw you into. There are unending job applications to fill, paired with all the life admin involved with organising your finances and budgeting for a worst-case scenario." 

The worst piece of advice she says she heard? 

"'You'll be snapped up soon'"

Lenton says she heard it from countless people and found it insulting in the midst of a pandemic. 

"I understand that saying 'you're great, you'll be fine' is completely well-intentioned," she explained. "But the moment it fell on my ears, my defeated inner monologue interpreted it to mean that my 'greatness' was thinning every day that went by that I remained jobless."