It happened to me… twice
I haven’t written about being made redundant before as it’s such a personal experience and it’s different for everyone. But as we are experiencing a wave of redundancies for many hotels and venues throughout the UK, I have already found that sharing my experience has helped others going through it, help feel less overwhelmed, less alone and eventually, more accepting to the situation. It is what it is.
People Buy From People
I would, of course, urge employers thinking of making their salespeople redundant to reconsider and if possible, consider the long term in terms of further loss your venue is going to end up with. 11 years on from my first redundancy and I am still in touch with clients from before then. How many times are we taught ‘people buy from people’ but here we see the very sales people being made redundant who have earned the trust, built the relationships, worked over and above the hours required and have met their KPI’s and ROI’s. Not to mention the sheer love and passion this industry brings. So when a sales person is made redundant it will have a further knock-on effect to the very business that it being saved. Clients lose trust in the venue and are disappointed, therefore undoing all those previous activities which helped get those wins in the first place. If they are able, they will follow the person to their next venue, which I have gratefully experienced first-hand on numerous occasions. My VIP event buyers have wanted to know what venues I am working with and as I know their requirements and their passions, we keep moving forward. This has avoided them having to repeat themselves to someone new and start again.
Who is taking care of those made redundant?
Don’t get me wrong. I completely understand the reasons why these decisions are made and during this time especially it can be seen that there is no option. My biggest worry is the lack of aftercare for the salespeople in our industry. Salespeople thrive on the personal relationships that bring in the sales, not forgetting our industry is hospitality. Hospitality means ‘the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers’ it takes continues energy and drive to be on top of the sales process ‘or on top of their game’ throughout the year, through the peaks and troughs, the early networking breakfast, the late-night fams which is not being spent with loved ones. It’s easy to see how our clients and colleagues become our friends and family. So when a salesperson is made redundant, it’s not just the colleagues they are working with that they will are being removed from and will miss, but the hundreds of clients that they are unlikely to be able to say goodbye to.
Is it happening to you?
To anyone about to be made or has now been made redundant and is feeling rough about it, I can only console you with that this is not the end, it’s the beginning of the book you weren’t expecting to write. (such a cliché I know!) Some people may not be bothered about being made redundant, especially if there is a good package and means your dream of doing something else can finally materialise!
If it is unexpected, I recognise that feeling of rejection of no longer being required. By the very nature of the word redundant, it smacks of the words ‘you are no longer needed’ but that is because we end up taking the meaning literally, personally or as per the dictionary ‘not or no longer needed or useful; superfluous’
HOWEVER! Please remember that also in the dictionary is the same term when relating to work is more accurate ‘no longer in employment because there is no more work available’ this is therefore not to be taken personally. This is not your fault, you did nothing wrong. All circumstances are out of your control, out of your bosses control and anyone else in the decision making process. Nobody actually wants this to happen nor could anyone have predicted this situation or the devastating ripple effect.
So what can I do?
I can write about my experience as unfortunately, I know how relatable it is right now. I can’t stand by and watch history repeat itself, watch the anguish, worry, anxiety of what might happen, what you think you know is going to happen and finally to be told that yes, you are being made redundant. And at what feels the absolute worse time. There will be tears for yourself, your loss, there is a grief process with redundancy. There will be anger and frustration of the situation and possibly at the people who have made this decision on your behalf. Perhaps resentment of others who cannot quite connect with you on what you are going through or perhaps because others who are still in similar employment doing what you used to do.
I worry for people’s mental health, I worry that people won’t be able to see a brighter future for themselves, I worry that people will think this is it the end of their career or even for their position in the world.
I hope that if someone is reading this and this is how they are feeling that it will bring them hope, it will bring them some comfort that they are not alone, that this is not their fault. That there is a way through this but it’s just not clear how yet, I know it looks foggy, it feels like trudging through mud whilst others are skipping on grass. It might just feel numb and going through the motions is the only thing keeping you going.
If this is you, please call someone, please take a minute to tell yourself you are worth it, we are all worth it. We are all taught in this industry there is no I in “team”, we all need other people at some point, no matter how independent we are in normal times. These are not normal times, so these are not normal decisions or situations.
Better times coming for conferences and events?
But like all grief, and circumstances out of your control, there will be a better day, there will be opportunity and there will be passion in the industry again as it slowly rebuilds and eventually recovers. But you never forget what has happened, you also never forget the people who supported you.
People often ask me what made me start up Park Lane Events. I have another blog which tells my full story via the link How It Started But there are so many events leading up to my ‘why’ including my first redundancy, and later, personal loss. The second time I was made redundant was 12 months later (still in the recession) and it was actually a breeze, within 24 hours of the consultancy process announcement, I had updated my CV, had 3 interviews lined up and started advising my colleagues to do the same. I then took a year contract to cover someone’s maternity leave as there was clearly no stability in the market and it seemed that no-one seemed to know what the right thing was to do. A couple of years later, it was time to totally jump and go out on my own with my own ideas. The positive history that had started to repeat itself was from my clients, it didn’t matter where I was working, there was enough that wanted to know where I was, what I was doing no matter who I was working for.
If I hadn’t been made redundant and finally started working for myself, I wouldn’t be in the situation I am in now, I may be up the creek in my paddle boat with everyone else in the industry but I’m in my boat, with my oar and no one can take that from me. I wouldn’t change a thing and now 11 years later I am writing about my experience and for the love of god hope it helps someone, somewhere.