Losing your job can be totally devastating. One minute you are stressing about deadlines, wondering how you are going to get everything done and the next moment you have all the time in the world. Many of us gain self-esteem from the work we do and losing our job results in a loss of self-confidence.
Being made redundant when you are over 45 can be particularly difficult. Potentially you not only have years of service with your ex-employer but new employers can be reluctant to take you on.
What can you do?
- Make sure you read and agree to the terms set out in your redundancy agreement. It is a widespread myth that the first £30,000 is always tax free, this is not true. In order to be tax-free the payment cannot be for services rendered in the past or for any kind of future service.
- The agreement will probably try to pass the risk of HMRC taxing the redundancy payment back to you. This means you take the risk that the £30,000 is treated as taxable and not your ex-employers. If possible try and resist this.
- If you hear the bad news early in the calendar year, say January or February and you think you may struggle to find new employment then try and get the redundancy period to last into the new tax year or negotiate to get the final payment made in the new income tax year (after 5th April) this will push your redundancy pay into the next tax year when you may not earn as much and may, therefore, pay a lower rate of tax.
What about money?
One of the key concerns of the newly unemployed is money. It is helpful to go through your household finances and see what could be cut back on and what is essential (mortgage, insurance). Once you know how you spend your money you can make decisions on what your future spending will include or exclude.
You can use a simple spreadsheet with all your costs detailed or use a template from the Money Advice Service.
Looking for a new job
It is tempting to start on a frenzied job search straight away but it is worth spending time getting your CV right and tailoring it to each employment position you apply for. Also, you may be better spending some of your money getting a good professional CV writer to do your basic CV. There are many around but friends have used one successfully and we can provide the details, if required. There are also online tools to help you create a CV such as CV Template. Some of the Job Boards, like Jobsite and Monster, also provide useful templates and advice.
The statistics show that 40% of jobs are found via social networks, whether this figure is accurate or not, it is worth keeping in touch with your network and letting them know that you are looking for work.
Once you are happy with your CV, spend some time each day applying for work but not all day – and don’t get depressed, it is a fact that most people who really want work will find it eventually.
Developing new skills
You may find it helpful to learn new skills, touch-typing, a new language, macro writing in Excel? Whatever it is make it something useful and also something that you will find satisfying and/or enjoyable; it will help keep you upbeat and cheerful and this will come across when you are interviewed.
What about contracting?
If you are finding it difficult to get work and in addition if you think potential employers are worried about your age, why don’t you consider contracting? It would solve a number of issues:
- Employers don’t have to worry that you are not up to the work, the contract could be on a week’s notice;
- Many employers would like to have the use of your experience but do not have sufficient full-time work for your skills;
- Some employers worry about older workers as no one can be forced to retire. If you are on a contract this problem disappears.
- You can easily stop contracting once you get a permanent job.
The next blog will discuss the tax and legal aspects of setting up as a new contractor and there are a number of other posts on contracting in the contractor blog section.
If you need help with your redundancy contract and would like a tax review or if you would like to start contracting and want some advice before you start looking for your first contract, then please get in touch, call 01737 244298.