(Warning: One of them may make you want to leave work now!)

 

Pull-yourself-together

Ok, it’s time for what I call a ‘Pull yourself together man’ slap in the face.
Here you go; In the next 6 -12 months, a large number of youth workers employed by local authority youth service will be facing redundancy.

Your manager may be tip toeing around the topic, and your head of service may be keeping a low profile and putting on a brave face when you do see them, however, the reality is that some authorities have to save over 100 million pounds over the next 5 years, and this means job are going to go.

 

The government itself predicts that the Budget could result in 1.3 million job cuts across the public and private sectors over the next five years.

 

Lets take a logical look at the average local authority youth service.

 

Your average local authority youth service sits in the same directorate as Education, Looked after children, social services, child protection, youth justice and other statutory services which will never be completely cut as local authorities have a legal obligation to provided these services.

Youth provision on the other hand, is much lower down the priority list and can be seen by some decision makers as an easy cut.

To be totally honest, the quality, attitude and lack of professionalism by some youth workers does not help build a case to challenge this perception.

 

It’s true that nobody is indispensable, especially in this current climate, so bear in mind that no matter how well you have performed over the past 12 months, or even your whole history with your current organisation, nobody is safe from the threat of redundancy.

Most youth services have already faced massive cuts, restructures, redesigns, realignment and what ever else they have been called and others have been totally cut and the provision that remains has been commissioned to the voluntary sector.

There is not much left to restructure.

 

This is great for the voluntary sector and other non local authority providers, as long as they get the support they require. However, this articles is not about having a discussion on who delivers youth work, I want to focus on preparing you to face redundancy without being overcome with fear.

 

Preparation is the key. It would be foolish of you to sit down waiting for the tsunami wave to take you out, when you have been watching it make it’s way inland from the horizon.

 

So, there you go! Now you have woken up, its time to take some action.

 

get-your-mind-right

Step 1: Get your mind right

Mindset is “A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person’s responses to and interpretations of situations”.

 

Basically, how you think about a situation, determines your attitude towards it and your attitude determines your response.

 

When considering redundancy, a negative outlook and attitude is the default position because you’re worried about no longer having a secure and consistent income and the impact that will have on your life.

 

The more you worry and complain, the more things you will find to worry and complain about. The weight of these negative thoughts can lead to depression and that is not a good place to be.

 

A negative attitude leads to failure even before you have even started and that negativity actually affects not only you but others around you.

It affects your colleagues, your bosses and your clients.

A negative attitude also affects your family and friends, pushing them away from you at a time when you need them most.

 

DON’T GO THERE!

I’m sure you know someone who walks around with that “Woe is me” attitude. Someone who always seems to talk about their failures and the reasons why they have not achieved what they want in life, and it’s usually someone else’s fault.

They just want attention and sympathy of others.

 

Think about what it’s like to be around that person. Is it pleasant and up lifting? or do you feel drained and negative afterwards?

 

You should stay away from these type of people as much as you can people because they will draw you into their world of woes.

Also, check yourself, and make sure you are not that person.

 

But I’m going to lose my job! how can you expect me to be positive about that?

 

Now I’m not saying you should walk around with a big smile on your face telling people your about to lose your job. What I am saying is don’t worry about it. Losing your job is not the end of the world.

 

The brain capacity you are using to worry is wasted. The best thing you can do is to concentrate that brain power on preparation.

Instead of sitting and fretting over the situation, try instead to put things into perspective.

 

If you spend time thinking about your options and your next steps then you’re more likely to feel less pressure and you will feel that you are contributing towards helping yourself.

One activity you can do to help manage your mindset is to make two lists and do a brain dump.

 

List One – What is the worst that can happen from me being made redundant?

This list will help you get all those negatives out of your mind and onto paper, to free up your thoughts to focus on other preparation activities.

 

List Two – What opportunities could arise from me being made redundant?

This list will cause you to get creative, think about solutions, look beyond the here and know and dream a little.

 

Try to incorporate your interests, hobbies, passions, dreams, desires and prayers, and how these could become new career paths or income generating ideas.

Whatever you do that works for you, make sure you reset the default position of a negative attitude and outlook and keep your Mindset positive.

 

Remember, How you think about a situation, determines your attitude towards it and your attitude determines your response.

King Solomon wrote in his book of wisdom: “As a man thinks, So He is.”

 

 

Get-yout-house-in-orderStep 2. Get your house in order

Most people I talk to about finance say that when in full time permeant employment, because you get paid regularly, month after month, it just does not seem necessary to have a specific monitoring system in place.

 

They operate a system like this; the money goes in, the bills go out, and whatever is left, they spend, and often times, their overdraft is also built into their monthly spend as well.

 

Not many people can tell you exactly what their monthly outgoings are, in fact, most people only know there is a problem when they get a letter from the bank telling them that they will be charge for going into unauthorised overdraft, and some never know because they have unopened letters and bills staked up and just put in a draw somewhere.

 

As Robert Kiyosaki, author of the Rich Dad Poor Dad book series says, Our schools do well at teaching reading, writing and arithmetic, but they are horrible at preparing people to work with money. Nearly every person who graduates from school is financially illiterate.

 

 

I would love to have a simple spreadsheet that is kept up to date with all my income and outgoings that I could look at, at any given time to see what my current financial position is. This is something i have tried to set up many times, but I just don’t have the discipline to keep it up to date and it ends up falling by the way side. But I do have a system, and it works for me.

 

I’m not suggesting that you go and do a course in accountancy and bookkeeping, however what I am suggesting is that you get a handle on your financial affairs and have a system that works for you.

 

What ever system you implement one of the first things you need to do is an audit.

 

Gather up all your financial documents, including those unopened ones in the draw and take a good long look at your incomings and outgoings.

 

Work out how much money you need to cover your essential monthly outgoings, accounting for everything not just bills and food. This could be done in Excel or just on a sheet of paper.

 

Then, identify any wastage and look for ways you can reduce this. It could be that you’re paying for an insurance policy you don’t need or by switching energy suppliers you could reduce your utility bill.

 

At one stage I was paying for 3 separate insurance policies on devices and gadgets I had purchased.

 

My son laptop, my wife’s tablet and my daughter camcorder. At the time of purchase it seemed like such a small amount, £3, £6 and £7 per month. A monthly total of £16 per month over 12 months works out to £192 per year. That was more than my entire house insurance policy at the time. I cancelled them all and contacted my home insurance provider who added them to my policy, with no extra charge!!

 

Next, try to reduce your spending and cut your everyday costs. This could mean making and taking a packed lunch to work instead of buying lunch everyday.

 

It could mean you start walking or riding to those short journeys, instead of just jumping in your car. It could mean you limit the amount of times you go out or just take a limited amount of cash and leave your card at home.

 

Also, clean up the bank and credit accounts you have by limiting the number of accounts you have active and closing any inactive accounts. This reduces the amount of letters and statements you receive and prevents clutter.

 

Set up a paper filing system that makes finding and filing any financial documents easy.

 

The main goal here is to feel like you have things under control to make dealing with financial matter as stress free as possible.

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Step 3. Get out of debtGet-out-of-debt

When faced with redundancy, most peoples biggest fear is not being able to pay their bills. However, when you look at most peoples monthly outgoings, a huge percentage of that is spent paying off debt.

 

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the average debt for households where the oldest member was between 25 and 34 rose from £4,000 to £4,300. And households where the head was younger than 25 also saw their average debt level leap from £1,900 to £2,900.

 

If you can get your debt out of the way, any reduction or loss of income would be easier to manage.

 

If you owe money on credit cards and loans it is important you work out a debt repayment plan to clear these debts as quickly as possible.

 

Dave Ramsy – Author, radio and television personality, and motivational speaker, has a process of paying off debt called “The Debt Snowball Plan”

(You can find his books here)

 

The principle is to stop everything except minimum payments and focus on one thing at a time. The idea is to list all your debts in order with the smallest balance first. Start paying as much as you can on the little debt and once that has been paid off you roll the amount you were paying on to the next debt. As you keep doing this, your debt reduces quicker as you make larger monthly payments.

 

You should find out if you can make your debts cheaper by moving what you owe onto a 0% balance transfer card, or by consolidating expensive debts with a loan offering a better interest rate.

You also want to avoid getting into any more unnecessary debt.

 

 

Step 4. Start Saving Money OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When it comes to saving money, research has placed the UK significantly below other countries such as India, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

 

While those in Western countries favour short-term savings goals such as holidays, people in Asian economies have more of a long-term goals such as retirement.

 

When facing redundancy it is vital to have savings you can fall back on in an emergency. Ideally you should have at least three months’ worth of outgoings saved so that if you do find yourself with no income, at least you have some breathing space.

 

What you don’t want to do is just keep spending whilst employed and then find yourself being dependant on any redundancy package you may receive.

So start saving now before it comes.

Step 5. Build your skill and Knowledge base skills-and-knowledge

I am always amazed at how negative some people are about attending training courses. you hear them say, “Uhh, I had to attend a full days training session today.”

 

I mean, come on! lets look at this. Your employer is going to pay you to attend a training course that they have paid for, to make you better at what you do. What a great offer!

 

It reminds me of a documentary I watched a few years back about the education system in a country in Africa (I forget where). The school had to employ security guards (with dogs) to patrol the perimeter fence in an attempt to stop the children whose parents could not afford the school fees, from climbing over and sneaking into the school. Thats how much they valued education.

 

As redundancy is looming you need to get serious about you own personal development. The stakes are higher than ever and you want to stand out from the crowd.

 

If you know what field you want to move to then you need to develop a road map to get there, and be aware of the skills and knowledge required to operate within that field.

 

Training, reading, listening to podcasts and audio books, watching videos and even volunteering.

 

I recommend you write a Personal Development Plan (PDP) and have a Personal Development Budget (PDB).

 

The Personal Development Plan usually includes a statement of your aspirations, outlines your strengths or competencies, education and training, and stages or steps you plan to take to achieve your targets.

 

Having a Personal Development Budget will help you purchase the resources you require to help you achieve your goals.

 

You need to invest in yourself, so don’t look at the price of a product or course and just think about what it will cost you, look at it as an investment.

 

Some years ago, I wouldn’t think twice about spending money eating out, buying designer clothes or on an expensive pair of trainers (Sneakers), but I would rarely invest in something that would give me long term benefits.

 

I’m sure you know people who will spend £200 on a pair of jeans, but are hesitant to purchase a book or other resource for the fraction of the cost, but will have a much higher return on investment.

 

I bet you also know someone who will happily sit and talk for hours about their plans and the big ideas they have and what they intend to achieve, but have never invested anything in making those dreams a reality.

 

By having a development budget and making a financial investment in yourself, you will position yourself to confidently take advantage of opportunities that arise.

 

Peter Drucker wrote, It’s up to you to carve out your place, to know when to change course, and to keep yourself engaged and productive during a work life that may span some 50 years.

 

Step 6. Build your personal profileBuild-your-personal-profile

In this day and age of multiple online platforms, it is so much easier to build a personal profile that people can see.

 

Almost everyone has a CV, so just having one is not going to make you stand out from the crowd.

 

I’m a firm believer that your personal profile will go further and faster than any CV you send out.

 

If you take the time to build and nurture your personal profile it will allow you to be visible and accessible to much more people.

 

Social media is free and it’s everywhere so get online now and participate with a purpose. Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pintrest… the list goes on.

 

If you already have a social media profile, then take a look at it as though it will be viewed at your next job interview.

 

What changes would you make to it to enhance your profile in the eyes of the panel. What would you add or more likely what would you take away? How would you like the panel to think of you?

 

You should also consider starting a blog and writing about things within your chosen industry. This gives you a place to point people to and allows them to hear your voice and opinions in their own time, if they choose to do so.

 

Spend some time developing your About page and use it to tell your story and really sell yourself.

 

Also, don’t forget the value of networking in real life.

 

Try to get out and meet as many people in your identified industry as possible. Remember, it’s mostly not about what you know, but who you know; so any contacts you make could prove very useful in the future.

Build relationships with people and get to know their names and remember details about them as this leaves a strong impression when you meet again.

 

Step 7. Start to build your own businessbuild-your-own-business

About 50 or so years ago, going into business for yourself was considered risky, and the safest option was to get a good job, work hard and keep your head down.

 

Now, working for a traditional company or local authority has become the risky option. Working for yourself has become the new job security.

 

Being in business for yourself gives you the opportunity to work hard for something you love. I’m sure people would agree that they would be more passionate about their work if they owned their own business.

 

However, many people still fear taking the plunge and never start their own business.

In 2013 it has never been easier to start your own business. Free E-mail, cheap teleconferencing and a new generation of Web tools make it possible to run a fully competitive business from a Laptop.

 

There’s no question that owning your own business is a risky proposition. But, with risk comes reward.

 

So what does it take? well, I can tell you what it doesn’t take.

 

You don’t need a degree in business or high-powered business background and you don’t need to be rich or to re-mortgage your house.

 

Although some business venture require expertise, such as consulting, or can take significant capital investment and possibly training, some can be started on a shoe string budget and produce great profits, including direct selling and online opportunities.

 

Many of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time began with no advanced degrees and hardly any startup capital.

 

But make no mistake about it, what you save in cash you’ll have to make up for in sweat, and sacrifice, as the major investment will be your time, focus and persistence.

 

Owning your own business means long hours, but if you start a business doing something you love, the long hours don’t feel like work because you’re actually having fun in what you’re doing.

 

A wise friend of mine, who had not long been made redundant, gave me these words; “Don’t wait until things get bad before you start to build something of your own.” he told me “Start to build your business while you still have your regular work income, then at least your not starting from a standing position when it’s gone.”

 

I encourage you to do the same.

 

You’ll look back in later years to come wishing you had started a lot earlier and you’ll think to yourself, “Why did it take for me to be made redundant to do this?”

 

So, The Bottom Line is Take Action!

 

The impact of redundancy can have serious implications if you’re not prepared.

 

If you accept that nobody is safe from the threat of redundancy in this current climate and put these few things in place,rather than bury your head in the sand, you can face it without fear and stress.

 

I would love to hear your comments on this matter or if you can suggest any other steps then please share them below.

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