1 February 2012

Thoughts on forthcoming unemployment

Last week, I was formally told that I would be losing my job. I'm not formally being made redundant, but think of that way as a shorthand. It's slightly more complicated than that, but I don't want to bore you with the details. I also don't want to breach confidentiality.

This is just a collection of some of the thoughts that have swilling around my head and heart over the last few days. It is unlikely to have structure or order to it, so I hope this comes across as being comprehensible, if not convincingly coherent.

I was given an invite to a one-on-one meeting with my line manager where I was given 30 minutes’ notice. 5 minutes after the invite was sent, I was forwarded an email which basically stated my job description with the epilogue “[these roles are now to be performed by another company within the group.]”

This meeting confirmed what I had long been given reason to suppose. Yet in spite of this, it still came as a kick to the stomach. I completely lost all appetite and though I didn’t time it, I don’t think I ate anything for over 24 hours. The fact of my forthcoming unemployment helped to sharpen up a lot of things in my mind, yet there were still a myriad of thoughts floating around that were unformed and which I failed to crystallise into words for several hours. After I got home, I spent the evening pacing up and down my flat trying to enunciate to myself what the implications were and what my plan of action would be.

First up, I knew I would need to go back on the job hunt, which, though I looked around gently a year ago, I have not had to do for just over two years now. In order to do that, I’d need to update my CV. The thing with this is that I always try and have a “master” copy of my CV which goes over the 2 page maximum. Then I can tailor it down depending on the requirements of the job I am applying for. It is easier to take things out that are less important (but which one can still bring up in an interview) than it is to add them in.

I am not yet at the section where I am panicking about being unemployed. I reviewed my finances (which I always keep in good order) and could tell at a glance that, assuming I don’t receive any jobseekers’ allowance, I could live for about 4 months. Straight away, I started paying more attention to the price labels on the food in the supermarket and questioning whether every penny I spent was a justifiable expense. I know most people live like that anyway, but it is a consequence of my working in finance for several years that my sense of proportion has become warped so that only sums over £2 really register on my radar.

I was allowed to take a day off, which I spent at home, not really doing much. I tried to distract myself with housework and did a little work on my CV. But most of the time all I had in my head were materialistic concerns. There were a number of things I had wanted to buy this year; a new tv, because my current one won’t work after the digital switchover in April; a new bookcase, because I have too many books; I wanted to go on holiday, as it’s nearly 2 years since I last had a break. It doesn’t look like any of that will happen now.

One of the words that was floating around my head was ‘emasculation’. To clarify, I do not feel that having a job makes me any more of a man than I otherwise would be, but the lack of a job takes away a feeling of usefulness. When it comes to jobhunting, I have to put on a thicker skin than the one I normally wear. I don’t take rejection very well, and so every application I send is done with an immense amount of trepidation and of fear that someone will take a look at my CV and think to themselves “this person is not good enough for us.”

The stress of this kicked off a migraine at the weekend, which wiped me out for pretty much a day. I don’t get them very often, but it’s usually only at times of high emotional stress. Thinking ahead, I was trying to anticipate all the inane questions I’d get from recruitment consultants about what sort of role, company, salary, location, etc. that I would be after. This is a process I really despise. When looking for jobs, I broadly subscribe to the idea that beggars can’t be choosers. Yet recruiters try and pin you down to one particular type of role or one industry. In the past, I did look at banking with an open mind, though I decided against it. My understanding is that one of the roles I interviewed for was subject to redundancy procedures a few months later.

I don’t know where I’ll end up; I’m willing to move, though I am extremely reluctant to go to London. If I could find something within 15-20 miles of where I am now, that would be great. But if I get the opportunity to move to the north again, then I would consider it very seriously.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress, or lack thereof.


  1. Sorry to hear this mate. I hope the job hunting goes well.

  2. Ouch, good luck finding a new job and, as stressful as losing this job may be, please don't be too harsh on yourself.