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The Resilient Midlifer: 5 Ways I am Making Myself Redundancy-Proof in 2024

Its March 2024, another wave of redundancies, cuts and letting people go is brimming. I remember the slight jolt I felt in the small of my back when a friend mentioned her employer; one of the major banks was cutting 10% of its staff in the first quarter of the year.

She had talked about the emotional toll it took on her, the eerie atmosphere in the office, and colleagues that weren’t so lucky. These colleagues of hers were not slackers, they were good at their job, the only thing they had done wrong was to be managerial staff, “the weakest link” as one of senior managers put it.

Hearing her experience made my tummy churn bringing in feelings of instant nausea. The evening was windy and chilly yet I felt tiny beads starting to moisten my forehead. My brain was taking me back to 2008 when something similar had happened. The banks are at it again, the financial services industry is starting to rumble again – Letting people go, jolting lives of their employees

Now I do appreciate business decisions are business decisions when they have to be made. These banks are trying to cut costs.  Something, someone has got to bear the brunt even if has to be employees who took no part in the loss in the first place so be it.

 I had always known it that as employees; it was a cog in the wheel situation. You come, you go. You exit, you are quickly replaced. It was one truth that stayed with me deeply and at the back of my mind always spurned to keep working towards a future independent of events like this one. It is why I am taking my writing more seriously by starting a blog. It is the reason I am exploring social media to make a living. It is why I keep “side hustling” until I start to make enough to gradually shed the need for traditional employment.

 Events like Citi’s cuts serve as a stark reminder to me of what I know and have always had at the back of my mind is real. It is not an unfound fear taunting me every now and then. It is REAL; companies would let you go when you become an inconvenience to them, even a temporal inconvenience. Sometimes, it is nothing to do with you performance, hard work especially when you are in a department no longer serving organizational goals.

Never has it become more important for you to have some agency for your future. In the times we live in, it’s been made more accessible and possible to create this.

The financial crisis of 2008 met me unprepared but this time round as the recession, redundancy or whatever it is to come brews, here are five ways I am trying to prepare myself:

1. Putting myself first

Selfish right? Companies are thinking of themselves first and working to survive this economy, and so should I.

I would keep learning new skills, investing in myself, pivoting to new things, challenging myself, and taking the leap. These are all levers I can pull upon as the world changes.

I can look outside of my traditional profession of Accountancy by acquiring more skills as an add-on to the ones I already hold. Using and monetizing my other skill set, like my love for writing is also for the taking.

The fear of putting myself out there has been a constant holdback for me, now I am losing that fear to embrace letting the world know what I can do, what I am good at, and how well I adapt to change, and that I am also open to growing.

2. Thinking outside the box

I’ve learned there isn’t one way to a destination. There are plenty of routes to a thing, some more precarious than others.

In searching within myself, I’ve decided that my path to happiness and living a good life would involve some level of independence.

Independence from being told to work at a certain time, within certain hours of the day, when to go on breaks, when to take holidays. The things I can and can’t do, the list goes on.

The path to getting that independence to reach my destination is still unfolding. I know it would involve trying to gain control for myself at some point. Getting some control could mean exploring entrepreneurship or working as a contractor for certain periods of the year.  

3. Staying on top of my finances

It is not the time to splash and splurge. It’s a time to budget, conserve, get creative with money, and draw that line in establishing wants and needs.

 I’ve had to get everyone in my family on board with my vision and manage their expectations around the random dine-out, getting the latest games, fashion or spontaneity spewed out now and then.

And yes we are still thriving, living our best lives; the truth is that there is only so much we all need; we’ve all just been wired to want so much in the consumerism society that we live in today.

4. Having emergencies covered

An emergency fund protects. Putting aside enough to get me through six months of living expenses helps me not fall into debt should anything happen to my primary income.

I am also getting all the right insurance – Income protection, critical illness, and life insurance.

5. Drowning out external noises

With the constant barrage of negative news about the economy, staying positive is a priority. I’ll keep at what I need to do by doing good work and building something for myself. These are things within my control, it is the only option for me outside of stressing out.

Like all things we’ve come to know that there will always be redundancies and layoffs, what we do and what is within one’s control is what matters the most. If you want to read more on what to do or handle a redundancy if you are at the risk of one, this article is a good read.

Lastly, I will stick to the power of patience, persistence, focus plus consistency. Eventually, all the little steps that lead to the payoffs of seeking happiness and my quest for a life well lived.

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