‘You’re letting your redundancy define you. You feel like it’s made you a victim and you’re better than that.’
Have you ever had a moment of clarity that stays with you for days afterwards? This was mine: a kick up the bum from two of my closest friends, one that I really needed.
Six months after starting this blog, I wanted to write a post that gave an update on how things are going with my job search.
But I’ve been struggling to find the right words for it and I think, after that chat with my best mates on Friday night, I finally realised why: I’m still looking back and I need to be looking forward.
Since losing my job eighteen months ago, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on what happened.
It was only a few months ago that I stopped having nightmares about the day they let me go, does that sound pathetic? It was a horrid experience to go through and it has had a lasting impact on me.
I’ve been resentful of the fact I lost a secure job that I worked hard for almost half a decade to get. I’ve doubted myself and wondered why it was me they chose to sack. I’ve worried, oh how I’ve worried, about never being able to get a job again now I’ve got a baby in tow.
I’m glad I wrote about it in January, because so many people have come to me and said they have been through the same thing. It reassured me I had was right to feel sad about what happened and that I wasn’t alone.
But, I’m tired of it all now. I’m tired of feeling anxious about looking for work, I’m tired of feeling regret that it happened to me when I was ten weeks pregnant and I’m tired of feeling nervous about how to explain it to potential employers.
Worst of all, I have realised I’ve allowed it to cast a shadow over my first year with my son. The early nights of non-stop feeding were spent thinking about what I would do about work, the days were spent worrying about whether I’d have enough money to help provide for him.
I’ve let it consume me and, even when I’m playing with Harry, I’ve been worrying about my career. It’s distracted me from what should have been the most precious time of my life.
I’m naturally quite a positive person and I’ve tried to find that side of me again, but I guess the strains of being a new Mum have combined with the stress caused from being unemployed and I just couldn’t find the energy to be more optimistic.
I’d watch positivity videos and read inspiring posts on Facebook and roll my eyes… it just wasn’t where I was at.
Could it be that the straight talking buddies who’ve got me out of several scrapes in the past have come to my rescue again? Could it be that it’s time now to let go?
I’ve had so much to talk about when it comes to Harry and our first year together, my blog has varied a bit from its original purpose – to talk about my journey back into work.
As I enter the final stage of maternity leave (looking for a new job!) I expect that will change. The coming weeks will see me writing to companies to find out about opportunities to freelance.
The latter is designed to help you work out what it is you want from your career and to help you focus on the ways you can develop.
What a perfect time to crack that out again, here’s a video I have recorded to explain a bit more about it.
Doing this exercise made me realise I still feel such a passion for writing and social media and, for the first time in my life, I’m in a position where I can actually take a risk on getting the exact job I want.
So many times in the past I’ve applied for any job that comes up for the simple fact that I had bills to pay and debt to consider… how glorious that that is no longer the case.
So, how is it going so far?
‘Exhausted me’ is inclined to respond, “not great”. I’ve applied for a few jobs that I really like the look of via Indeed, but either not heard back from the recruiter or told I don’t meet the criteria so which is quite disheartening.
But if I take a breath and I think about my reply, given I’m right at the beginning of my job search at the moment, it actually ought to be “I’m off to a good start”.
I’ve been doing agency work for just a few hours a week which has a focus on social media management, it is ideal for me because I can work it around my nearly one year old son and I’m learning so much about that side of PR.
Amazingly, I found the work through Facebook. A friend added me to a group where recruiters post freelance opportunities and it has all gone from there.
Who’d have thought it… spending my life on social media wasn’t such a bad thing after all!
And what’s next?
The bit I’m really nervous about: sending out speculative CV’s to people I want to work with.
I’m struggling with the decision about whether or not to include my redundancy, pregnancy and time off with Harry, so I’m going to take advice about that.
But after that it’s down to me to sell myself. And do you know what? I can’t do that if I’m still feeling sad about what happened last year – I don’t want that to be the first impression people get of me.
2016 was a rollercoaster year and that was always going to have an effect. My doctor explained perfectly why I was having a tough time: life with a baby is hard enough to adjust to, but I’ve had to cope with this daunting change in my employment too.
But, what defines you in life is the way you handle these things and I’m determined it will be the thing to make me not break me.
It’s time I set my path straight again.