I went into a leisure wear and sports shop yesterday, no don't be shocked, it's not something I do out of habit I can assure you. There was a man standing outside in the precinct with a placard saying 80% off. Oooh that sounds good, a closing down sale trying to shift the last of it's stock before they finally close the door. This shop has had notices up in the window for several months now announcing it's impending demise, I was beginning to wonder if it wasn't a crafty marketing ploy to get the punters in. But no, it is definately closing.
Worth a look to see if there are any good quality walking boots in my size at a ridiculously low price, to replace my trusty £110 boots I bought at half price from the now closed Millets store. Seems like outdoor shops are closing at a rate of knots around here, shame because the only way to get perfect fitting boots is to try on at least 50 pairs, with an irrate assistant hovering over you making sure you put the boots back in the right boxes. Unfortunately there wasn't much stock left, the nearest I got to what I wanted was a pair of size 6 reduced to £20. Although I had thick socks on there was still movement between my foot and the boot, so no good, a recipe for blisters. The size 5 I tried on at £30 were too tight across the width of my foot, I need just enough room to accommodate my bunions, so another no. Ah well, no bother. I could have bought the £20 ones and put extra socks on, but I have plenty of boots which are ok for dog walks, all bought from car boot sales or charity shops for two or three pounds, I don't need any more boots for shorter walks.
Anyway I digress, let me get back to the point of this post. I got chatting to the assistant in the shop, a lady of about 40ish. Just making general chit chat I asked her when the shop was closing and would she be getting a decent redundancy package. Nosey I know, but I always feel concerned for the people who are losing their jobs, asking what are they going to do next. The lady looked quite forlorn, it must be difficult to keep up your moral when the comfort rug is being pulled from underneath you and you will be cast out onto the streets to fend for yourself. No more geting up to go to work in the morning, no more seeing familiar faces on a day to day basis, chatting with your workmates. No more money going into the bank at the end of the week. I really do feel sorry for those people who find themselves up the creek without a paddle.
The lady in the shop told me she didn't know how much she was going to get in the way of a payoff, probably not much she said. Although she has been working part time for a while due to bringing up a family, in the early days of starting with the company she was full time working all hours without any extra pay for overtime. She had basically given her all to her job. But now it was crunch time because apparently the company only has to pay redundancy according to her current part time status. To me that stinks, she gets no recognition for her years of full time dedicated service.
This lady is now worried for her future, as anyone would be in that situation. She vows to go and look for another job, willing to take anything, but the prospects of her finding something are pretty bleak in this area.
I think I am going to go back to the shop and give her a big hug. What I want to say to her is that losing your job is not the end of the world. It might seem like it is, in the beginning, the endless chasing up the benefits people to get what you are entitled to, watching your savings go down as you try and make ends meet, the hours wandering the streets wondering what to do with yourself. Then the reality months later that you may never find a job and this is it, the rest of your life mapped out for you as just another statistic.
I want to take this lady under my wing, and any other ladies which might be going through a similar crisis. I want to say to them there is Life After Money, that money can't buy happiness, that earning money is not the be all and end all. Just because you haven't a job you are not on the scrap heap, you just need to change your mindest, ok not all in one go it will take time. From the moment you stop earning a salary your role changes, you need to take stock of your situation. The first gut wrenching reaction when becoming unemployed is to panic, oh my God how am I going to manage? How do I pay for this and that bill. The hardest thing is seeing a light at the end of a long dark tunnel.
You have to sink pretty low before you can claw your way back up again, but it can be done. If you are a couple you need to sit down together and talk about it. When I lost my job I went through all the usual trauma of signing on and searching for a job, it wears you down, it makes you feel useless. In the end, I thought stuff it, I am not going to bother any more. Admittedly I wasn't far off retirement and I knew I would be getting the cushion of my pension, even though it wasn't going to be a life changing sum. So I limped towards my 60th birthday with very little money but with a sense of impending joy when at last I knew I was going to be free from the shackles of work, and I could relax and be me. Stuff the job centre, stuff work, I ain't doing any more.
But younger people who lose their jobs still have many more years to go before they retire, like the lady in the shop. For them it must be devastating. There is no quick and easy answer to their dilema, everyone will have their own adgenda and be looking for their own solutions to their problems. What I can say are my general thoughts which people can take or leave, it's how I see it. You will have to look inside yourself for answers. You may have to change your priorities, you will definately have to change your mindset. It is up to you if you want to slowly sink into the abyss, or claw your way out of it. If you are struggling don't struggle alone. Talk to friends, talk to relations, seek help from groups, claim the benefits you are entitled to, or even pick up the phone and talk to the Samaritans if you need to. Just do it.
I know you won't believe me when I say the end of work is not the end of life, it is just the beginning. The beginning of new challenges, the beginning of total control over what you do and when you do it. I know you won't see it that way at first because your mindset tells you that you need money to enjoy yourself, but believe me, it just isn't true.
Please feel free to write your experiences here on how you survived redundancy. It might help someone. If there are some interesting and inspirational stories, include the downs as well as the ups, I will copy and paste them into a seperate page and post it above as a stand alone page. If you prefer to post your comment as anonymous please do so.
Thank you. Lots of love, Ilona xxx
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