Let’s talk about industry closure in Australia – you don’t have to search far to find a story.  In the last few years we have heard about cutbacks across a variety of industries including car manufacturers, aircraft builders, cigarette companies, oil refineries, and soft drink producers.  More recently we have witnessed complete shut downs of car manufacturers, power stations, and refrigeration plants.  A quick search and you can find many stories on scale backs and closures, including:

Boeing | Phillip Morris | BP Australasia | WA State Government Coca Cola Amatil | Darrel LeaHazelwood power station | Electrolux refrigeration plant | Murray Goulburn

These are just a few of the cutbacks and closures which have taken place across the country in recent years.

There are a huge number of variables at play contributing to the reasons for these scale backs and closures.  I’m certainly not an expert in economics, but you only have to read a few of the articles surrounding Australia’s car industry closures to realise the numerous factors and complexity underpinning the demise of this particular industry.

But I am not here to write about the economics and driving forces behind such changes.  I’m here to bring attention to the impacts these events can have on individuals, their families, and broader communities.

The impacts of change

While we theoretically understand that change is inevitable and nothing is forever, experiencing such significant change should never be underestimated.  Large-scale change such as an industry closure is immensely disruptive to all involved and can bring about dramatic effects such as grief and loss, depression, anxiety, and financial hardship to affected individuals and their families.  This in turn impacts unemployment rates, housing markets, and has potential to see major depopulation in areas as people relocate to find new jobs, further effecting entire communities and their economies.

Unless you are at, or near, retirement age – financially secure, and feeling ready to leave the workforce – being retrenched is rarely a welcome event.  It sees you forced into job searching, retraining, financial strain, and even relocation if your current area does not have sufficient employment opportunities to absorb the often-high numbers of newly unemployed.

Most of us need a job to survive – to pay a mortgage or rent – to cover the costs of daily living. So being left without employment can leave us feeling incredibly vulnerable, helpless, anxious, depressed, even hopeless and suicidal.

[If you are feeling hopeless or suicidal – please call Lifeline on 13 11 14]

An unexpected redundancy can also leave you with immense feelings of grief and loss.  Particularly if it comes after many years working for the same company.  You may find yourself experiencing a range of emotions including denial, disbelief, anger, isolation, guilt, and shame.  This is completely normal and to be expected given the unplanned and unfortunate circumstances you find yourself facing.

How to survive

If you are experiencing the effects of involuntary redundancy, please don’t try to bear the burden of this change alone.  There are many sources of support available.

There is absolutely no shame in reaching out for help.

Types of assistance available to help you include:

  • Visiting your GP – to appropriately diagnose and treat symptoms affecting your physical health or mental well-being.  As well as helping with referrals to support services such as counselling;
  • Financial counselling – to assess and reprioritise your financial situation;
  • Counselling for anxiety and depression OR Counselling for grief and loss – to help support you through and manage the range of emotions you are experiencing;
  • Career coaching – to review your skill set, identify transferable skills and opportunities for up-skilling, as well as exploring retraining or new career options;
  • Personal Development coaching – to support you through this transition, increase your coping and communication skills, enhance your self-esteem and confidence, and help you find clarity as you explore new directions.


There is hope

If you are experiencing involuntary redundancy, I hope this post provides you a little reassurance and encouragement.  You are not alone.  Whatever you might be feeling is OK.  Help is available to support you through this – please muster the courage to reach out and take it.

For those of you not directly affected by this issue but who have made time to read this post, thank you for showing interest.  I trust it causes you to spare a thought for those who are experiencing the effects of involuntary redundancy.

This is an incredibly frustrating and stressful time for all involved.  A time when people need to feel heard and supported.  So please, if this is happening in your community, reach out if you can.  It may be as simple as offering a friendly, compassionate ear that can make all the difference to someone’s day.

If you would like to talk with me about how my online or phone counselling and coaching services can support you through a difficult transition like involuntary redundancy, I offer free consultations.

Check out my Services page for more information.

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