Redundancy – a Big Decision is Made

Sun 16 – Sat 22 Aug 2020

So this wretched pandemic has now not only cost me my gym and holidays but also my job. πŸ™ I have spoken in previous blogs of big changes coming and last week I had to take a decision: to accept voluntary redundancy or try for a new job where I work as my old post had gone in the new structure? On Monday I took the big decision that there was no new job for me and thus no other option but to accept voluntary redundancy. πŸ™

Eleven years later…

I finish with my current organisation at the end of Aug – a week away! It really is the end of an era (I’ve been there 11 years!) but I am certainly aware there are people who will have a tougher redundancy than me. I’ve got no kids to worry about. But it’s still a real blow as I am in my mid-fifties and ageism abounds in the jobs market. It will be the first time I have been unemployed since I left school at 18 and that only lasted for 2 weeks. Basically I have never not worked before. πŸ™

β€œThe one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live only as you can.”

Neil Gaiman

What next?

This really is the big question for anybody after redundancy. My answer: I don’t know yet, it’s all too soon. I will live off my redundancy payment for a while and think what I really want to do. Time is ticking away and I am not going to waste it. The future is exciting but I need to work through my current feelings and identify what my brilliant future will be. πŸ™‚

Books and Reading

Suspect books will play a big part in my life post-redundancy. Indeed, several people have suggested I follow a career linked to books and literacy because of my passion. Nice idea though I don’t have much background in it at a professional level. But food for thought.

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

Stephen King

‘Big Sky’ by Kate Atkinson

sunny sky with bits of cloud

As I reported in my previous blog, this was last week’s main reading book. And it is the next volume in the series featuring ex-policeman and private investigator Jackson Brodie. I have read the other novels by Kate Atkinson including the previous four adventures featuring Jackson.

This is a wonderfully written novel with some very good characterisation and a clever plot. There are a lot of coincidences which come together to make a story. And isn’t life all about coincidences? I really enjoyed reading this and it is the epitome of good contemporary British fiction. Highly recommended as are all the books she has written.

Dark Corners Collection

Managed just to read one of these short horror stories written for Amazon

  • ‘The Sleep Tight Motel’ by Lisa Unger An intriguing and sinister story about a woman on the run who stays in a motel. Good though perhaps the way it ends is slightly disappointing.

My latest reading book

I have gone back to an author recently discovered. I am reading ‘The Black Friar’ by S G MacLean whose first adventure of ‘The Seeker’ in Cromwellian London I recently finished (read about it in last week’s blog here). The second book is as evocative as the first – you can completely feel the darkness, suspicion, and Orwellian nature of Commonwealth London.

Health and Efficiency

Jog-run

animation of a fat man running

A very disappointing run last Sun morning. I look forward to my weekly jog-run though inevitably there’s part of me that always says ‘you can leave it this week.’ True of all exercise I think and part of the exercise process is ignoring this voice. It is fascinating that no matter how bad a run goes (short of aggravating or causing an injury) I still never regret it afterwards.

Disappointing because of a poor time and pace. πŸ™ 33 mins and 38 seconds so well over the 32 and a half minutes target. And the result was a slow pace of nearly 6 mins and 45 seconds per km. The first 4 km stretches were OK, it was the last one that let me down with it taking me nearly 7 and a half mins to do that last km stretch. Ah well, next week. Video report can be seen here.

Long purposeful walks

Again, something I suspect I will be doing a lot more of now I have taken redundancy. I love walking, finding it very therapeutic. Apparently Trisha Goddard said she dealt with depression by putting the baby in the buggy and walking miles – I can totally empathise.

Doctor Who's Tardis

Walking between Dave and mum’s is my main walk. I could get the tube but I still don’t feel comfortable (how is Transport for London ever going to make money again?) plus I need the exercise. About an hour and a half with a coffee on the way. I put in my earphones and listen to Big Finish Dr Who adventures – lovely. πŸ™‚

Weight and post-redundancy exercise

A good bit of news that I’ve come back down after last week’s weird rapid and unexpected jump in weight. One of the tasks for my new future must be to get better control of my diet. And, alongside that, a new exercise routine. My beloved gym shows no signs of reopening and, obviously, money is going to be tight in the future so I need a new, effective, and cheap exercise routine. Definitely something to work on in the coming months.

Personal Development

Absolutely no doubt that this is going to be a major area for me going forward after redundancy. Once I’ve identified what I want to do in the future to give me an income, then I need to focus on my PD to ensure I am able to do that. Could well be around improving my tech skills but could be a lot more than that.

Languages and writing

Meanwhile, I continue with my daily European language learning on Duolingo. I am doing a range of southern and northern languages which is great for comparing and contrasting. Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and French vs German and Dutch with outliers thrown in – Russian, Polish and Greek. I’ve also dabbled in Latin which reinforces the southern languages. πŸ™‚

Laptop and a coffee

And I continue intermittently to try to write a novel. Up to nearly 55,000 words with my target being around 100,000. It is fun to use time out particularly as I am walking to think about how the plot and characters should develop. πŸ™‚

Art and Culture

I can think of all the things I love doing that I am going to be able to do more of with redundancy… well until the money runs out. One of these is visiting more artistic and cultural places as well as experiencing more events. Obviously made different by the virus but clearly something to look forward to.

Tate Britain

Painting

Managed to slip in a nice gallery visit on Fri morning. One of my favourite and regularly visited galleries but I had not been there since lockdown started in March. Went with Dave and we did British art up until 1900. A nice tour including some unusual Victorian art – much better than the usual insipid and lecturing art of that period. Although it was presented very poorly, pictures crammed on top of each other so they could not be viewed properly. πŸ™

Other highlights of our trip

Good to talk to the staff outside on strike. People from the shops and cafes who are facing redundancy as well. They were fine for us to visit the gallery but wanted to explain their plight. The management of the Tate do not sound like nice people in the way they are treating some of their most vulnerable staff. πŸ™

Our gallery trip was followed by a visit to our favourite charity shop now open again. I ended up buying a book on skulls and a t-shirt. And I also bought a cheap plant at a nearby plant shop that, with some TLC, should grow up healthily. πŸ™‚

Family and friends

Mum

She continues to be fine. Though I really need to be careful that after redundancy I don’t end up spending more of my time being her carer. Think she just likes having me around even though I spend a lot of time in my room either working (that will be over soon) or doing stuff I enjoy doing such as reading or being on my pooter. We do spend time watching TV together though mum’s negative comments can be tiring. Is it possible to get older without becoming disenchanted – I will find out.

Friends (and work colleagues)

Be happy about nice things

I have said before, my work colleagues are often also my friends especially the brilliant people who make up my team. And some of them are taking redundancy as well. So my time until I go is being filled with making sure they are OK.

The first duty of a manager is to look after their staff. In particular, I want to make sure they know they can rely on me in the future for anything such as character references and general advice.

Must also use the time after redundancy to catch up with my non-work friends. I probably have ignored them a bit over the last few months even though they are great people. And I certainly won’t be contacting just to use them to get a new job. I’m getting so much advice about ‘using my network’ but friends are not there just to further one’s own ambitions. πŸ™‚

β€œIn the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Martin Luther King Jr

The Week Ahead

  • My final week before redundancy. So got to return my pooter, charger and security pass as well as collect the stuff from my locker. πŸ™
  • Got a big Zoom farewell with my team on Wed afternoon
  • Also on Wed I’ll be doing interviews to appoint a job-share person with one of the people from my team who is staying on – basically my last ever duty
  • Need to start the process of ‘detoxing’ after 11 years = stop checking work emails, Workplace, and Slack.
  • Start the process of building my life after redundancy discovering what I want to do next with my life πŸ™‚
  • Will finish ‘The Black Friar’ and move onto a new book. Plus read at least one more Dark Corners short story / novella.
  • Jog-run and lots of walks plus some good quality sleep. But must start to plan my post-redundancy exercise routine.
  • Think about my personal development that’s relevant to the next stage of my life. But also carry on with my language learning and novel writing.
  • Spending time with mum though my brother might be around a bit more than usual this week

And Finally

4 thoughts on “Redundancy – a Big Decision is Made

  1. Love love love this blog! Such an inspiration. similar position on the job front and guess for many others so quite timely.

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