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Rebuilding after redundancy by Alex de Vos

Posted: May 29, 2014 by Alex in Music

Supplement to my UGS: The impact of being made redundant mid-life.

By Alex de Vos

Marketing expert Jess Benton was 30 when she was made redundant from her role as an online content manager for a small PR agency.
Although the redundancy was initially a shock, it was an opportunity for Jess to pursue a dream of opening up her own small business.
She later went on to secure a full-time role with a company she truly admires.
But not everyone who is made redundant will use the opportunity to move roles or even climb the corporate ladder.
For those who are laid off in mid-life, redundancy can be a big problem.
Conflict Solvers’ mental health trainer Fred Stern said although there’s a percentage of employees who won’t find redundancy stressful, the “bulk” of people are likely to suffer a mental health illness.
“Some people might see the redundancy as something that has finally forced them to do something different with their lives so for them it won’t be stressful,” he said.
But for the older generation, being made redundant can bring on a lot of stress, he said.
Mr Stern noted depression and anxiety as the most common types of mental health illnesses people are likely to suffer following a redundancy.
“The older the person is, quite often the more severe the mental illness is,” he said.
“They might have a big mortgage they’re trying to service or perhaps they’re still trying to put their children through school.”
Mr Stern advises people struggling to cope with redundancy to seek professional help.
“When people come in to see me I check that they’re in a frame of mind where they can actually cope, and then I advise them to see their local GP if the redundancy is taking a toll on their mental health,” he said.
“It’s important that people have support systems in place when they’re exiting the workforce –such as a supportive family or partner.”
But with the pension age set to rise to 70 by 2035, older employees might be forced to find other work after being axed.
In a move to help older employees find jobs, the federal government announced earlier this month it would pay subsidies of up to $10,000 over two years to employers who hire mature workers – those over 55.
Mr Stern said the government should be doing more to assist those made redundant later in their working careers.
“I think there needs to be more systems put in place to up-skill these workers so they are still employable, as well plenty of support for older people suffering mental health issues,” he said.