Mandarin Course: What is next when you lose a job 失业后接下来会发生什么
When I was called into an office at New Broadcasting House to be told that I was being made redundant from the BBC, one thought went through my mind: why did I not do more to prepare for losing my job?
当我被叫到新广播大楼(New Broadcasting House)的一间办公室里，被告知我将从英国广播公司(BBC)被裁员以后，我的脑海里浮现出一个念头：我之前为什么没有为失业做更多准备呢?
This question stayed there for months afterwards and sometimes still taps the inside of my head five years later.
I had some idea it might happen — my boss said that the BBC’s cost-cutting programme was going to be tough. But I didn’t see the corporation turning its back on me completely.
This was naive but understandable. Over my seven years as Olympics and sports news correspondent for BBC London I had received recognition from numerous senior editors and correspondents, including the BBC’s top anchor Huw Edwards and the deputy director-general.
My mistake was to think that doing your job well is a guarantee for keeping it. I relied on the BBC to show loyalty and it turned out to be the biggest error of my working life.
So my key lesson for any employee is to always make sure you are ready to be shown the door — practically, psychologically and financially.
Seeking advice and networking is a positive way of establishing a safety net. Even if you are happy in your job and have complete faith in your employer, always have a Plan B. You do not need to say you are looking for a move straight away. But keeping your options open and researching your next career move will make you more comfortable in your current job.
At the same time, accumulate enough savings to pay your bills for six months, should you lose your job. This is probably a lot less than six months of your current salary — most of us can live on less money.
When I left the BBC I was initially able to use my redundancy cash to survive, but it took me 12 months to find another role as a university lecturer. Money was tight in those second six months and I wish I had set up a “safety net account”.
Also think about how you might employ your skills and contacts to change career. You might need to do some extra training to change direction completely.
While still working as a journalist, a friend studied for a PR qualification and started networking in the communications industry. Eventually he decided to leave journalism for a job at a large PR agency. Understanding the challenges and having made the contacts, he was able to move on his own terms.
I had to do all this “big picture” thinking in a hurry, while worrying about paying the bills. Eventually I decided to go into university lecturing and set up a portfolio business involving media training and journalism. But I wish I had done my thinking and networking more calmly when I still had a job.
There are three stages to planning for redundancy: the first is talking to people about their experiences in other fields and thinking about what else you might want to do. The second is improving your position through extra studying and developing new skills. The third stage is asking people about openings.
I would recommend everybody to work hard on the first stage. You may never move to stage two or three but knowing you have options will make you feel more comfortable.
I regret not being ready when I suddenly faced redundancy. But if you take these precautions, you should be ready for any turmoil in your career.