“There’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to say it. Your job is at risk of being made redundant.”
I’ve had this same conversation four times in the past eight years, most recently two weeks ago. Each time ‘at risk’ has led to me losing my job, and this time is no different when last week I was given the confirmation that I am again being let loose to find new employment.
I’m 29 and have had ten jobs since leaving college in 2003. My CV makes me looks like I’m a non-committal fly-by-night worker, when that just simply isn’t the case.
In 2008 the recession hit and I had my first taste of redundancy. I was in an office job that I wasn’t in love with so when the news of my redundancy came, I found the whole experience quite exciting. With thoughts of new horizons and greener grass, I was ready for this move. I even found a new office role the same month. What was all the fuss about?
November 2009 I found myself in the same position. The business I worked for was failing, my whole team was given the heave-ho and I had to get to job hunting again. This time I wasn’t so lucky, the ‘new horizons’ thoughts failed to make an appearance this time and it took me five months to find another job.
During this time my confidence hit rock bottom. Applying for job after job every day and getting nowhere was soul-destroying. With no money coming in from my side, thankfully my partner was still earning so we could at least pay the mortgage, we had no extra income to enjoy life with. Living like hermits was no fun and I felt incredibly guilty inflicting this life on my partner. Basic food shopping, no socialising, no eating out, minimal electricity usage (no Jeremy Kyle daytime TV for me) but plenty of money was spent, or wasted, on public transport visiting agency after agency because they insisted on meeting me face-to-face.
What was wrong with me? I was a good person, a good worker, why didn’t anyone want me? Interviews were getting harder and harder, how could I justify why no one had already given me a job after all these months?
Then in March 2010, I was given a lifeline; a new job. Someone trusted me again.
Here I grabbed the opportunity to learn new skills in my free-time and discovered I enjoyed creative writing. So much so that after a couple of years I was able to cut down my hours at work and start freelancing my writing services. This time gave me the experience I needed to move my career into the marketing field. And just in time too as the R word was cropping up again. My lifeline was being outsourced, and once more my whole team was out.
Luck was on my side again as I found a new job within a month but instead of being the great career move I wanted, it was a stop-gap office job until I could find my way into a breakthrough marketing role. I knew I couldn’t cope with another five months out of work.
A few months later and I had landed my dream new marketing role that set me on my creative career.
Vital creative career experience gained, I was then able to actually leave a place of my own accord last October when I was offered my next marketing job. The one that would take me on to still bigger and better things. Or so I thought until two weeks ago when ‘the conversation’ was had.
My manager (older than me) tried to console me with a tale of how she had been made redundant twice before and everything would be fine; I smiled along as I couldn’t bring myself to admit that this was my fourth time, and I wasn’t even 30 yet.
Sadness, anger, guilt, lack of sleep; these oh-so familiar emotional states are back with vengeance along with the shaming thoughts of ‘is it me?’. The Recession began in 2008 but I am yet to see an end to it. Once again I am in a failing business and have to find the energy to start over. I wonder how long it will take this time?