In November 2019, Mothercare UK went into administration making over 2,800 people redundant. In 2020, coronavirus hit and the world stopped.
I had been with Mothercare in the PR team for two years when the inevitable administration happened, it was a great tragedy for those who lost their jobs as well as losing another beloved high street brand. It was a big moment. With any big change in life comes a certain amount of instability, but also new opportunities. Whilst people including myself lost their jobs, it opened us up to a new world. For some the new world involved searching everyday for the right job and for others, they had already secured their next role.
In a weird way being made redundant & taking my time to figure it out, better prepared me for lockdown so I feel I should share my experience with you.
The 3 months that I was out of full-time work for, (over Christmas time as well!) were hard. I felt, and was in some ways, isolated. My days went from being super busy and surrounded by colleagues, to being inside the flat or at a cafe job hunting. Socialising was also limited with no regular income. I hadn’t been out of work officially since 15 years old. At 16 I got my first job – that’s nearly 10 years always working. This was going to be a big change in my life! But in those 3 months I became familiar with my own company, I created a routine for my new role as ‘job hunter’, and I learnt to accept moments of sadness, as well as calm. I definitely had my moments wondering, “why did this happen to me?”, “what if I don’t find the right job?”, “Christmas will be bleak!”. As it turned out, the only thing making this situation worse was my own thoughts at times!
You may or may not know that I have been working full time in PR & Social, as well as presenting and DJ’ing in my own time for the last 5 years. Running a double life is surprisingly easy when you’re doing things that you love and that motivate you. Although, despite how much presenting and DJ’ing motivates me, I found it very difficult whilst unemployed from my full-time work to find joy in this endeavour. I learnt that this was okay too – it is okay to feel like this when an unwanted change happens. As a human being, you need time to process mentally and physically.
The positive from all of this was that I learnt a lot about myself, values, and business. I was also open to new and more exciting opportunities which were not obvious before.
What I am saying is – change can be hard, but good can come from it.
Through all of the interviews – some good & others not so good – I learnt a hell of lot about different companies, different interview processes, and different expectations. I also learnt how to say no, and thankfully didn’t let the pressure of being made redundant force me into an unsuitable role. For example, in an interview with one company I was told – very matter of factly – that if I was needed outside of working hours then my “dinner with Aunty Margery” would have to be cancelled, and proceeded to fluff this over with the idea that joining their business would be like joining a new family. I didn’t buy it. They also asked if I would be happy to give up Radio & DJ’ing to ensure I could work whenever needed out of hours… absolutely not. Not to mention they were offering a fraction of the salary I was on before. Absolutely not x2. Needless to say, this wasn’t the role for me & I rejected the offer that followed, feeling great that I knew my worth. In the end I found the role that fitted the bill and I am so glad now for waiting for the right opportunity.
Yes smile, but also BE PATIENT, in the face of adversity.
If you can apply the above, whilst knowing your worth and staying focused, you will get what you want out of most situations. You also have to readjust your mindset a bit so you can rationalise if something doesn’t quite go to plan. Ask yourself, “what did I learn from this situation?” learning will always bring you out on top.
I wouldn’t change anything about this time in my life, it was my first experience in this sort of situation and I learnt a lot. In a weird way it feels as though it has better prepared me for lockdown because of everything I learnt about spending time on my own. In these rare moments that can change your life in a second, my advice would be LEARN as much as you can from the situation at hand.
Of course, Coronavirus lockdown compared with solely being made redundant can bring different types of pressures. In fact the impact of the lockdown may have landed you in that very situation of redundancy. In which case, I feel for you & I hope you are getting the support you need. Additionally, there are thousands of people losing loved ones, and that is a totally different sort of change to deal with. If you are struggling with grief, you can read NHS advice here.
If this article has helped one person to see the light at the end of the tunnel, or to have a different view on spending more time with themselves, then I will be happy. I hope sharing my experience of redundancy, isolation & learning will help in some way.