Participation and success in paid work is a key element of identity for many men. The increased prevalence of downsizing and the associated discarding of individuals from their workplaces, then, has particular relevance for men. This paper shares qualitative findings from an exploratory phenomenological study investigating the experiences of Australian executives who had been made redundant. Three themes related to male identity are presented here: Failing as the breadwinner; Being less of a person; and, Losing success. The participants in this study shared feelings of anger, sadness, fear and embarrassment as a result of the assault to their identity that accompanied their involuntary redundancies. The impacts of redundancy were not only felt in relation to their job loss, but continued after returning to work. At a time when downsizing continues to feature as a routine part of organisational life—for some, an experience repeated throughout their careers—further exploration of the experience of redundancy and its implications is required.
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