Retrenched in The Netherlands?

Migrating for career growth has been a global trend. We are proud and excited to be chosen for new challenging roles in a foreign country. We look forward to the new adventure.

Once arriving into a new country, we are continuously challenged to fit-in, and balance ourselves, with respect to our past and our cultures. If all goes well, we could keep working until we retire.

But in recent years, as technology is ever changing, products are also evolving at a similar rate. We now see many companies in perpetual re-organisations. This often has the dire consequences for the few who are caught out, asked to leave, for whatever reasons.

As a foreigner in The Netherlands, or in any other country, being retrenched is a very traumatic experience. This can easily develop into depression, during this stressful time. Coupled with the fact, that you have little or no network, other than the few colleagues at your previous company. Most foreigners feel completely isolated, also with the shame of not sharing this guilt with family back home.

Fortunately, the Dutch society takes a serious view of unemployment and takes responsibility towards helping the unemployed to work again. This group is called the UWV (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen), under the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment.

The concept is simple, as, during our employment years, we pay monthly unemployment (insurance type) premium. This is legally mandatory, it protects us, as it gives us the opportunity to apply for unemployment benefits. The amount of money and the duration of this benefit will be evaluated by UWV. As the laws are revised every few years, its always best to talk to UWV directly, or check online (yes English version is available too), for accurate facts, instead of our personal/social network.

According to Fred Paling, Chairman of the Board of Directors UWV, he shares that

“people are at their best when they can participate in society with work. The society functions best when as many people as possible take part in it. Our mission is to make a difference, together with our partners, by promoting work for people. If work is impossible, we ensure income quickly”.

To meet their goals, the UWV has professional coaches, assigned to individuals. Furthermore, they organise Hackathons, Speed-Date events with employers, online training and an updated list of several thousand vacancies countrywide. Several weeks ago, they had also supported through Exhibition for jobs in Scandinavian countries!

Yes, being unemployed is challenging, this is much more challenging being away from your home country. Fortunately, in The Netherlands, there is a good support system. The best advice often given would be to not to fall into the depression by staying at home, trying to keep active such as go to places like open work space Seats2Meet where you meet other flex workers and can stay in an office-like environment.

Marielle Sijgers, the co-founder of Seats2Meet, shares that “at S2M we believe in people. We believe that connecting them makes them stronger. Everything we do at S2M is aimed at connecting and empowering you to excel, both as an individual and as a professional. To become the best version of yourself. For yourself, of course!”

Simple do’s, while reaching out to several senior recruiters, in the region, they share a piece of common advice to :

  • learn the language and integrate, personal connections that help us;
  • connect with UWV coach, work with the system, as they want to help you get a job;
  • why not start with less paying jobs to understand the culture whilst searching for suitable challenges?
  • else why not try doing volunteer jobs? There are so many to choose from!

And some simple don’ts, from people who have been in this cycle, and wish to help others from their personal experience would be:

  • do not stay locked up at home, as this will show on your persona when you go for interviews; but do some sport or hobbies and try to present a positive glow; as nobody will give a job to someone who gives the appearance of being in depression!
  • do not trust smooth talkers, who offer you a challenging role at your personal expense, to work for free, with the promise of grandiose careers, as you will be bitterly disappointed; yes sadly, these people will feel justified to use every possible legal way to avoid keeping any commitments made!

Be positive, do not despair, relax, try to be positive. Yes, there are systems set up to help you, understand them, use them. Yes, you will find a job, think out-of-the-box, as Eindhoven is exploding with wonderful opportunities!

.. #EveryBodyMatters, you are not alone!

For Eindhoven News: Aroop Bhattacharjee

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