Tag: redundancy

5 top tips for dealing with job loss

Cup of coffeee, notebook and pen on wooden desk. Text: "dealing with job loss"

If you lose your job it’s easy to panic.

Then think “why me?”

Then go into mental freefall about how you’ll end up eating dust and wearing rags for the rest of your life.

(just me?)

But job loss is rarely the end of the world. As a great believer in fate (it means I don’t have to take responsibility for myself), there are ways to approach the situation that will hopefully help you to deal with it and feel much more positive.

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5 things on my to do list while I’m “between jobs”

Garden leave is quite a strange animal, because technically I’m being paid to do nothing (thank you previous employer), but I feel a bit like I should be doing something.  That’s not to say I’ve been sleeping in most of the day and then sitting on my ass for the rest of it, but I do feel guilty for whiling away portions of time on mindless stuff, even though I’m entitled to take a break and I’m still earning money and paying my bills.

That said, here are some targets I’ve set myself to complete while I’m off. All attainable; some more serious than others!

1 – Get a job

Although it goes without saying, this has to be number one on my list. I’ve been scouring job listings, set up job alerts to be notified of new roles that are of interest to me, and registered with some agencies. I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where I don’t have to jump into the first thing that comes along, and I want to find a role that is right for me, right for my CV and right for my future, but I also appreciate that “the perfect job” doesn’t exist and I’ll probably need to make some sacrifices.

2 – Give the blog a makeover

This little old corner of the internet has existed in its current incarnation for almost 3 and a half years, and while I’ve remained (fairly) consistent with writing content, I haven’t paid any attention to it’s appearance. A couple of years ago I went self hosted, but it was right around the time my Dad got very sick, and then he died, and I just didn’t have the mental capacity to deal with the new stuff, so I carried on using free WordPress and just let the other subscription lapse. Now I have lots of time on my hands so a shiny new theme is in order at the very least. Also thinking of upgrading to paid WordPress for more flexibility, analytics, etc so any tips gratefully received!

3 – Watch all of the Harry Potter films

Bit of a light hearted one this! I took my sister to Harry Potter World for her 21st birthday back in March and, up until 4 days before, I hadn’t seen 1 film! So I binge watched the first 3 and off we went.

Making of Harry Potter

The visit was magical (I must do a blog post about it) but obviously there were things I didn’t really understand. I intended to watch the rest of the films straight afterwards, but then summer came and time ran away with me. Now is the time to scratch that itch! (I think I may rewatch the 3rd one too, as I got quite confused). I may even read the books as well.

4 – Finishing unpacking from when we moved house

We’ve lived in our house for 15 months now, and we still haven’t finished unpacking. Before you judge me though (I know I would!) for the first 7 months we were squished into a 2 bedroom apartment that was smaller than our old flat while our building work was completed, and then we were so excited at living in our new space after Christmas that we just put it on the back burner! Now, part of me thinks if stuff has been in storage for 15 months and we haven’t missed it then perhaps we just throw it all away BUT some of the bags are full of my shoes, which means it will be like shopping my own wardrobe, which is technically saving money – very important when you don’t have a job! I actually have a partial tick against this “to do” already, as last week I finally sorted out the big bedroom (which used to be the lounge when it was an apartment) – we’ve been lazy chilled out and sleeping in what will be the guest bedroom up until this point. Now we have oodles of space, a king size bed and 3 windows!

Here’s how it looked before (check out the 90s curtains and brass fittings!)

Old lounge

Old lounge 2

And here’s how it is at this moment in time (yes I have a purple leopard and zebra print duvet cover, what’s it to ya?!)

Current bedroom

There’s still stuff to do, like paint the fireplace, change the carpet, and choose the furniture, but it’s good to finally be in there.

Next on the list is the small bedroom (which will be the husband’s music room for all his CDs and guitars) and the utility room which used to be the kitchen.

5 – Go on holiday

Now this might seem like a very indulgent “to do” for someone who isn’t working but, in my defence, it’s been booked since this time last year. And it’s a “special” holiday – to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. We’re flying to Athens for 3 nights and then to Santorini for a week and I’m super excited.

Santorinilead-xlarge

We’ve been talking about going to Santorini since we got together 13 years ago, so it’s been a long time coming, and it was on a travel bucket list post I shared a couple of years back – Athens was on part two of that list where I pondered combining both destinations in one trip. On the basis of ticking them off, I’ll need to replace them and write a new travel bucket list post, right?

What’s on your “to do” list for the next few weeks?

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

 

 

A life update – back to where it all began

Did anyone notice I haven’t posted for a while? <<awkward silence!>>

I started this blog almost three and a half years ago, because I’d been made redundant.

Guess what? I’ve just been made redundant again! Well, I say just, I found out it was going to happen 2 weeks ago today, then I was off for a long weekend, then worked a day and a half before getting put on garden leave (where you don’t have to work but still get paid, in case you’re not familiar with the term).

It was pretty unexpected but not overly surprising, if that makes sense? I’m certainly not angry or bitter with my ex employers because small businesses have to do what’s right for them, and where would being cross get me anyway? I’d still be in the same unemployed position, but with a headache and heart palpitations and sore hands from slamming my fist into walls shouting “dammit”!

So, what have I been up to then? <<whispers>> I probably shouldn’t say this…but…

I’ve been having quite a jolly time! As I mentioned I was off for a long weekend immediately after I was given THE NEWS as we were going to the Rock and Blues festival in Derbyshire. At first it seemed rotten timing (“I’m unemployed! I can’t go spending money on drinking booze in a field watching bands I love”) but then it seemed good timing (“I’m unemployed! Sitting at home moping about it isn’t going to change anything, and I REALLY want to be in a field watching bands I love!”) So that was a whole heap of fun, and you’ll be glad to know I didn’t hold back on spending money on booze, including bakewell cherry gin which, as a none gin drinker, went down extremely well.

Since then, last week, I’ve had lunch with my Mom and brother for his birthday; sorted out the garage to make space for our new boxing bag (more on that new fad hobby another time); this week I talked the husband into taking a day off work (legitimately, obvs) so we could have lunch and drinks and hang out on Monday; tried (and failed) to fight off a HIDEOUS hangover on Tuesday (the trouble with not having a job to keep me in check is that I don’t have a cut off point so drank more and later than I usually would have done).

Oh, and then I just nipped to Scotland yesterday, as you do. The husband had a site visit to do in East Kilbride and it’s a bloody long drive from Birmingham to South Scotland on your own, so being the selfless hero I am, I offered to co-pilot. I perused Primark while he did his thing then we drove back down to a lovely little town called Moffat where we had lunch, and then dinner, and drinks (I’m painting a bad picture of myself here, I know) and a lush overnight stay in a lovely hotel with the BEST duvet I have EVER slept under IN MY LIFE (I found out where they bought it from and I’m buying one, it was THAT GOOD), before coming home via Manchester-ish way where he did another 15 minute site visit and I managed to buy some earrings within that 15 minutes (pro-shopper).

So, all in all I’ve been a busy little bee and <<whispers again>> probably not as pro-active as I should have been in job hunting BUT it’s a been very traumatic and stressful time (not strictly true) and the sun has had his hat on again so I think I was entitled to a few days “me” time before I start the job search in earnest (actually in Birmingham and the surrounding areas, but you know what I mean).

Oh, and it’s not like I haven’t applied for any jobs (I have), or been looking (I have), just in case I come across as a privileged little madam. So don’t judge me yeah, because I’m unemployed and might have a cry.

What have you guys been up to? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

One year ago today…

…I got made redundant from a job I’d been in for 9 years.

Even though I was unhappy, and half looking for another job anyway, it was a massive blow. I wanted to do it on my terms, not anyone else’s.

In truth, it’s the best thing that could have happened. It gave me the kick up the ass I needed.

One year ago

Oh, and it was the pre-cursor to me starting this blog, which celebrates one year of existence tomorrow.

So happy “thanks ex employers for doing me a favour” day today!

Keep calm and get a new job

And happy “one year blogging” day tomorrow!

Blog birthday

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Settling in to a new job

It’s been 3 months since I started my new job. 3 months yesterday, to be precise. I was aware of the impending milestone and thought about it last week, then promptly forgot about until I received an email from our HR manager yesterday telling me I’d passed my probation. Woo and hoo! I mean, I think I’ve been doing OK, but you never know.

I’d been in my previous job for 8 years and, although I’d worked under different managers and in different offices, I was settled there. Settled as in I knew my job pretty much inside out, felt comfortable with most of the people I worked with, was confident in my ability. But the advent of a new director changed the dynamic completely. I was already looking for a new job, admittedly half heartedly, when I got made redundant.

It’s the best thing that could have happened to me in that role.

I read this article in the Metro a while back, and emailed it to myself to remind me how far I’d come (and to laugh at if a bad day arose!) It’s easy to think on your first day that you’re never going to get it. Even if you know that you know your stuff, you can start to feel like the biggest doofus in a new environment.

The expert in anything was once a beginner

And the smallest things really matter! Numbers 2, 8 and 10 in the article. I left home so early it was pretty much still the night before! (OK, slight exaggeration). Lunch was especialy weird, as in my old job I used to come home for lunch. And as for the toilet, it honestly took me about 6 weeks to turn the right way when I came out of the bathroom and back to my office (I got confused with the direction to the kitchen).

What was that about being confident in my ability?!

Sometimes forced changes bring other changes too. Like, for me, this blog. I’d been thinking about starting one for years, never getting round to it. Once I realised I was potentially going to have a lot of time on my hands, I gave me the incentive to get cracking.

New jobs don’t always work out for people; especially when they’re in a forced situation like redundancy and need to get something new. I know I’ve been lucky. The change of organisation size (large to small) and change of culture (corporate to caring) has been a breath of fresh air. I now get to liaise with actual people and hear the difference our product makes, rather than other businesses who are just trying to cut costs their side.

But you know what? If I hadn’t been lucky, and the new job hadn’t worked out, that would have been OK too. Because once you’ve made the move – whether by choice or by force – you’ve done the hard bit. And you realise that being the newbie isn’t the end of the world.

Dresscode: Casual

I start my new job tomorrow. And I have a problem.

Actually, I have multiple problems. I’ve been out of work for 3 weeks. That in itself is a huge change of pace. I’ve kept a routine and made sure I’ve been getting up early (although the odd afternoon nap may have crept in). But I’ve been eating when it suits me, doing what I want, reading blogs, reading books, sitting in the sun, planting my balcony boxes, visiting family. All stuff that will come to an abrupt end tomorrow.

Another problem is the travelling. My old job was a commute of 8 miles total per day. My new job is a 60 mile round trip. That means a complete change of morning routine, leaving home earlier, and getting home later. Couple that with the fact that husband has also changed jobs recently, working closer to home, and that means we will clash. He’ll be at home getting ready when I am. That has never happened, in the whole of our 10 year relationship. I foresee arguments!

And food! In my old job I was able to pop home for lunch. Working 30 miles away makes that absolutely impossible, so I’ll also have to factor in making and taking food with me.

As well as the usual “will I be what they expect?”, “will I be good at the job?”, “will I fit in?”, “where are the toilets?”, “how do I change the photocopier paper?” worries.

First world problems or what?!

Anyway, back to THE PROBLEM.

What to wear?????

Being vain and shallow and pathetically self conscious (in a good way, obvs), clothes are a massive part of being me and being confident. But I’ve been thrown a curve ball. My new workplace has a casual dresscode. WHAT??? I’ve never worked anywhere with a casual dresscode. I can’t crossover my work and non-work wardrobes. They have to stay separate. If I wear work shoes out of work it messes with my head. I can’t use a non work bag for work. I’ll have none of this “make your clothes work hard for you”. I don’t want double the wear for my money, I want to compartmentalise my life. Work clothes for work. Casual clothes for outside of work.

Of course, as has been pointed out to me, I don’t have to conform. But being the new girl (I use the term girl loosely; birth certificate says otherwise) is enough to set me apart, without turning up in my usual work attire of towering heels and dresses.

I’ve reached the conclusion that flat shoes are one of the differences between smart and casual. I’ve never EVER worn flat shoes for work. Apart from on casual days (the irony). And I can’t do ballet flats. As much as I like them on other people, they just make my feet look like boats (they’re not, they’re feet). I’m only a size 6, but they look wide and long and just weird. Plus I’m very much back into pointed shoes at the moment. But even before then, ick. Also, I’m slightly smaller than a 6, actually. I step out of most court shoes. So straps are generally a must for me to keep shoes on my feet.

These from Matalan fit the bill perfectly for me. Pointed, with ankle straps, and reduced to just £8 per pair.

Red flats Black flats

I’ve actually been wearing the black pair during my time off this week. Which defeats the object of work vs non work wardrobe. I like that they show a bit of toe cleavage (I know that’s a no-no for some people, but I’m a fan).

Usually I would have bought these for casual wear. And I like them for that purpose. But obviously, because of my own rules, I now have to make that decision between work or non-work.  Or get over my own own rules.

While I realise these have heels, I think these boots bridge the smart casual gap (I’m not sure I can do full on casual all the time, and I need to keep my calf muscles in practice so can’t wear flats all the time). £25.

Beige boots

And the other key to dress down is basic tops that I can add jewellery and scarves to for interest (grey £8 / khaki £7)

Grey pocket t-shirt Khaki top

And I suppose jeans will have to feature. This goes against everything I’ve ever known. This may be my one concession to keeping work and casual separate. ‘Cos jeans are just jeans.

I’ll be repurposing existing work clothes in a different way – crepe shift dresses with chunky biker boots, jersey midi skirts with flat sandals.

So what will I wear tomorrow? I have no bloody idea! And I’m trying to put off thinking about it until I really have to. Because that’s when the real world kicks in. Eek.

Knowing Me Knowing You

No, I haven’t gone all Alan Partridge and I’m not referring to the Abba song. I’m talking about interviews. I had my first job interview for 8 years today. I got to thinking about the whole process, and how we’re so keen to impress, but how it’s actually a two way street.

Hire me

A job interview is as much about the candidate finding out if the job role is right for them as it is about the interviewer finding the right person for the job. You may have seen a job description, or have a knowledge of the company, but a lot of it is about the feeling you get – from the people and the place. Is it a nice working environment? Can you envision yourself there? Are the interviewers your kind of people, can you see that your personalities will work together? A job is so much more than whether or not you’re capable of doing what’s required of you.

I’m very keen not to rush into anything even though I obviously need a job! Redundancy is a massive shock but also a massive opportunity (for me) to do something different. Not just to settle or panic, but to make a measured move that is going to give me job satisfaction. Redundancy pay gives me some financial freedom so that I don’t have to get another job immediately, although of course it would be nice if I could find employment and then bank that cash (or spend it on shoes).

So, how did my interview go? I’m not a very good judge of these things, so its hard to tell. But I answered all the questions competently, felt confident in what I was talking about and also allowed my personality to show through as well. And that’s enough for me.

Officially unemployed

Today, after 3 weeks of “consultation”, I’ve been officially made redundant. I feel relieved, resentful, angry, frustrated, elated, exhausted, mentally weak, mentally strong, excited, scared, hopeful. So many mixed emotions. Even though I’ve known it was coming since the end of last month, it’s still an odd sensation. Not that I was hoping the company would change their mind – indeed I’d have been disappointed if they had – but even when you’re content with a turn of events, its still an upheaval.

The sun is shining and I can see the rudiments of spring on my balcony. It feels like a sign.

Hyancinths ready to flower / a cute pansy face popping out from the undergrowth

2 year old snap dragon which keeps fighting back / spring berries

New shoots on my strawberry plants / pretty blossom tree

<<end of Spring watch!!>>

Giz-a-job

After a few days of letting the redundancy news sink in, I’ve started to get pro-active on the job front. So yesterday I made some calls to recruitment agencies, and today I had interviews with two of them.

I’ve only had very brief experience with agencies previously, and that was 8 years ago when my skill set was very limited and people like me were two-a-penny; hopefully my career currency has improved since then. What to wear was a slight quandary, as it’s not formal but also you want to project the right image. I took my nose ring out to show I mean business!

While trying to find the first office I came across a young lad with a nosebleed, who told me he’d just had his wallet stolen and was trying to get enough change for a bus. Then I realised I was in completely the wrong place (my geographic knowledge of my own city is poor at times), plus the waistband on my tights was loose so I was scuttling along trying desperately to hoist up my opaques without drawing attention to myself. All this in galeforce winds. At least it wasn’t raining; no-one needs a frizzy me on their hands asking for a job.

My second interview was in another part of the city. I took this photo when I came out; it was beautifully sunny, although cold.

20150304_135442

I thought I’d have a little sit down near the fountain before I left, but then the sun went in and my cape started blowing perilously close to the water (it’s a blanket wrap, I don’t think I’m a superhero). I did spot a lad walking round in a t-shirt, and a girl in sandals. Pretty daft when it’s only 7 degrees.