25th November 2016. I was sat at my desk at work happily browsing the Black Friday sales and buying Christmas presents. Of course between this, I was getting on with my day to day tasks with absolutely no idea that I’d be heading home without a job later that day.
This time last year I’d walked home, cried a lot and eaten a lot of chocolate. It hadn’t sunk in at all and I was waiting for Ali to get home from work so I could just have a big cuddle. Today, I’m in a bit of a similar situation in that I’ve been around the house crying a lot and I’m waiting for Ali to get home from work so I can have a cuddle. However, that’s simply because I am horrifically hungover.
I remember one of the things I found most comforting at the time was speaking to Rhianna, who had been made redundant a couple of months before I was. Being able to speak to someone who was in a very similar situation in life as I was, who was going through the same kind of thing was so reassuring. She wrote a brilliant post to mark a year since she lost her job, and it got me thinking about the same for me and inspired this post.
I don’t know why but redundancy is something that I (perhaps naively) associated with much older people who were much further into their careers than I was. I definitely never saw it as being something I’d have to worry about at 25 years old. But when it did, it absolutely shattered me.
I completely understood it was nothing personal and was all business. My role was being made redundant rather than me personally, which is just one of those things. But it’s obviously incredibly hard to not take it at least a little bit personally.
It had been my first paid PR role. I’d worked incredibly hard to get into the industry. Job application upon job application. I’d done 6 months in a full time and unpaid internships at a Manchester agency, where I gained invaluable experience. All I can say is thank god for my parents supporting me through those six months. Lifts to and from work from my dad. Not expecting any contribution to the financials of the household. Being leaning posts when I was down about it all.
Finally, I managed to land myself a job. Not only that I got a job in Nottingham and was incredibly lucky that Ali’s parents let me move in with a couple of days notice so I could start the role immediately.
I loved that little job. It was so stressful but so fulfilling and taught me a lot about myself as well as about the industry. It was a baptism of fire of sorts as it was a small company but it was my first real job in the field. Losing it was harder than I ever would have imagined.
BACK AT SQUARE ONE
Redundancy is a very strange situation to find yourself in. Whether personal or not when it comes to the business side of things, it’s still personal. It changes the way you live your life. Changes plans. It changes the way you think and the way you see yourself. In some way, it changes everything. Once you’ve packed up your desk, what then?
Ali and I had been looking for a place of our own and had almost signed on for a lovely little house just two weeks before my redundancy. Something held us back – maybe that’s another vote in confidence for the existence of fate.
What’s next? I didn’t know if I’d have to go back to Manchester, and again I’ll be forever grateful to Ali’s parents for being happy for me to rattle around their house for a few months. Back into that cycle of application after application. Rejection after rejection. Wondering whether potential employers would view me negatively because I’d lost my last job.
Redundancy is very bloody hard. It’s understandably a huge knock on your confidence and it had a negative impact on my mental health without a doubt. But with it, there’s a slight sense of freedom.
Lareese wrote a very eloquent post on her redundancy and thoughts after the news sinks in and you’ve had time to process it.
Yes I was skint, yes I was living in someone else’s house, yes I couldn’t just go and do whatever I liked. But if I’d wanted to do something different, that was the opportunity to do it. So I did some pottery classes and started to learn new skills.
In trying new things I branched out and managed to get myself a job in marketing in February. Then I got promoted in May back into a more PR-focussed role, so I’ve managed to get myself into a position where I can further my career in the same field I was so worried I’d have to leave behind.
I managed to pay off all my debts and get some decent numbers in my savings account. Ali and I got our own place in August and we’ve set up our own little home. I couldn’t be happier – though I will be 100% happy when we have a Christmas tree!
We’ve seen some beautiful bits of the country and beyond this year on a few trips away. Some fantastic people have come into my life both through work and especially through blogging.
If you’re having a tough time with anything, redundancy or otherwise, just remember so much can happen in a year.