I’ve taken voluntary redundancy twice in my career and both times it was a shock even though I chose it. A real wrench in both cases so I can only imagine what it must be like if it’s forced on you, worse still, you don’t see it coming.

The second time, I was offered outplacement coaching which I leapt at like a drowning person grabs a plank of wood in the water. However, it was a mixed experience and it taught me some useful lessons. The way it works is that if it is offered, the company letting you go have a contract with an outplacement company whose job it is to pick you up, shake you down, help you find a new job and get you on your way again, thus assuaging the guilt of the company you’ve just left. You’ll get help with your CV, lessons in how to network and interview techniques and you throw yourself at the mercy of the headhunters.

All good if you’re at a T-junction. In other words, if this direction hasn’t worked out, just try something similar going in another direction. Same kind of role, same level of seniority, same or related industry, nothing too different. However, what I discovered you don’t get with outplacement coaching is the answer to dilemmas like, ‘I don’t know what to do next’, ‘there are too many options floating around in my head’, or ‘I want to try something completely different’. It might feel like being at a spaghetti junction.

A lot of these kind of questions can be second half of life questions. You’ve ticked all the boxes. You’ve chosen a career, you have a life partner, you might even have been able to afford your own home and you might have some children. Tick, tick, tick. Now what? There’s a niggle. It’s all lovely but. Is that it? There’s got to be something more but you can’t think what.

What if you had some time out of the rat race just to think and answer some of these questions? What if you had that instead of outplacement? What might that open up in your life?

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