When Mummy Got Made Redundant

When Mummy Got Made Redundant

unnamed-5Here’s something I’ve realised. That ‘made redundant’ is one of those phrases I use without really thinking. Sometimes ‘being made redundant’ is a perk, being made  because it implies that there a sweet pay -off attached.

Sadly, that isn’t always the case. Ellie aka is @LilyRoseWrites a freelance communications practioner and copywriter Mum to two shares her first-hand of being losing her job this Christmas:


  • The company I worked for was sold in early 2016.

  • When the news of the sale came, I was just a few weeks’ pregnant with my second child. Teamed with the fact my husband’s company was going through the same thing, and his future was uncertain, it felt like the ground had fallen out from under my feet. If we both lost our jobs, how would we survive? I was terrified.

  • As the company’s internal communications manager, it was my job to communicate what was happening to the 2,000 or so employees.

  • There’s a model called ‘the change curve’ that I tend to refer to in my work. It’s a model that shows people’s emotional reactions as they work their way through whatever change is happening to them – interestingly it’s used to describe grief too.

  • This was the first time I’ve been ‘in the curve’ with the people I was communicating to. Teamed with being in the early stages of pregnancy, I was on an emotional rollercoaster.

  • My biggest fear was that if I was made redundant, I’d be having a baby with no maternity pay. I knew I had to get to my ‘qualifying week’ still employed – that’s the 15th week before the baby’s due – to qualify for my pay*.

  • At that stage we didn’t know who would stay employed with one of the acquiring companies, and who would leave. So I decided to hide my growing bump in case it swayed any decisions about my future.

  • My colleagues must have thought I’d developed a rather unhealthy obsession with scarves!

  • The reality is I had absolutely no need to hide it. Nobody does. Being pregnant would never – and simply couldn’t – have a bearing on whether I was made redundant.

  • I believe that in situations like redundancy your fight or flight response kicks in. And as mad as it seems now with hindsight, hiding the bump was my fight. It was my way of protecting my unborn baby from the threat of losing my maternity pay.

  • I wasn’t made redundant. And neither was my husband. My employment was transferred to one of the companies who bought the business. The bump was revealed around the 20 week mark, and the scarves put into retirement. We breathed a HUGE sigh of relief.unnamed-7

  • I knew that wasn’t the end of the road though. Nine months after my beautiful baby girl was born, I was back at work with the task of communicating more redundancies, and the outsourcing of the new business.

  • All with knowing that this time my cards had been marked.

  • In December 2017, I left the office I loved for the last time.

  • Despite the fact redundancy was always expected, and I’m used to dealing with it in my job, I was really sad. Sadder than I ever thought I’d be. I experienced first-hand why the change curve is used to describe grief too.

  • It’s often said that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. I started at the company full time, and went part time after my first daughter was born. I worked for a business – and a boss – who allowed me to work flexibly, drop everything and run when the kids were sick, or work at home with them alongside me when I needed. I never let them down, and in turn they never let me down.

  • In my job I’ve always tried to remember that it’s not just the employee who’s affected by redundancy, it’s their whole family. Their whole life, in fact. For our family, the issue with me leaving my job would be getting that flexibility again. Working full time and potentially commuting with two small children would put an immense amount of pressure on my husband, my parents, my in-laws, and ultimately me and my girls.

  • So I’ve made the leap to self-employment, and I’m starting out as a freelancer.

  • I had fantastic outplacement support provided by my employer, to help me transition to a new role or a new career. It was invaluable at helping me make the move from employed to self-employed. I’d encourage anyone going through redundancy to make the most of any outplacement support you’re offered.

  • Starting my new life as a self-employed freelancer is scary. But without redundancy taking me out of my comfort zone, I would never have been brave enough to try it. It’s allowed me, financially, to give it a go. It’s given me the kick to look for something different, and the chance to find a new way to be a working mum. So I guess I’ve finally reached the end of that change curve… moving on.  

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* There are other factors, such as how long you’ve been employed. Check out maternityaction.org.uk for more advice.

 

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