What a tough six months it's been. Months of defeat, being beaten down by prospective employers and trying to stay sane in a personal world turned upside down.
I was made redundant back in April 2019 from what, for me, was a well paid job. The announcement was a shock to me and done in a very underhand way, including being told I couldn't mention it to colleagues until it was formerly announced, and yet it was only announced the day after my last day. It was awful having to leave and not being able to say goodbye to people.
The whole experience with that company shook my confidence in my own abilities as an L&D professional. Hence it definitely affected the roles I was then applying for. Throughout the six months I was averaging applying to 8 roles a week. I had 8 interviews all unsuccessful with feedback along the lines that I was either over-qualified/experienced or simply the 'wrong fit'. And that's if I got feedback. Three of the roles I simply never received any contact at all after the interview. I was applying to junior roles asking for 1 years experience and with 15 years experience I couldn't even get an interview.
My amazing wife pushed me to keep busy and get doing my artwork that I haven't had head space to do for years. So I started doing my pen and ink animal illustrations and then also started dabbling with button jewellery and steampunk jewellery. I've now got an Etsy store selling my prints, jewellery and offering pet portraits.
I also decided to restart offering my life coaching.
But and it was a big but, there's no way that would all bring in enough pennies to pay the mortgage.
So what to do? What do you do when you don't feel you aren't skilled or confident in doing what you've done for the past 15 years?
Well...I applied for some random roles that sounded interesting, and more importantly were local to home meaning no expensive London commute. Roles that might allow me to regain my self-confidence while learning a new skill, and give me head space and energy to continue to create my artwork and also offer my passion of life coaching.
What happened? My local hospital invited me for an interview for a role as a Sterile Services Technician. It's basic pay, will be hard work and involve shift work. But let's unwrap that. Basic pay isn't great, and now having some understanding what the team does is very underpaid for the importance of their work, however the shift work as long as I manage it well, will allow me times and flexibility to keep doing art commissions and virtual life coaching. And the hard work part? Well bring it on. For the first time in a long time I'll be doing a job where I feel I'm making a difference.
Thankfully the two interviewers were able to see past my age and unrelated career; and paid attention to my excitement for the role, ability and interest to learn new things, and maturity to think for myself.
Now I'm not going to be trite and say that being made redundant was a good thing in the end. It's been a horrendous experience with daily fear of losing our house. It has however had a positive side-effect of really challenging me to think about what's important.
The future is going to be hard. Between my wife and I, even together we won't be earning what I was earning on my own. However we will get more time together and the freedom to be creative. We've survived on less before and let's face it you live to your means.
If you are going through something similar and need help then please contact me for some coaching and support.