Fresh out of university it took me what seemed like forever to find a job. After a couple of months living off my parents, when my pride levels couldn’t get any lower, I was forced to apply for Job Seekers Allowance. Six months I trekked to the job centre every two weeks feeling lower with each visit I made. But eventually, they came up trumps with my dream job! It was an advert for a Junior Buyer for a small and local fashion enterprise. Absolutely perfect for me and my BA (Hons) in Fashion Buying and Merchandising! Suddenly all those months of desperate job seeking seemed worth it.
I wanted that job so bad I didn’t sleep for two nights before my interview. Had to use the old ‘talc in the pockets’ trick to combat my sweaty palms. But the dream continued. The lady I interviewed with, the owner and manager of the very small company, was absolutely lovely and we hit it off instantly. I walked out of her office feeling quietly confident that the job was in the bag.
Sure enough, two days later, I got the call and embarked upon my glorious new career just a week later. It was everything I’d ever wanted. The job was ideal, my colleagues were wonderful, and my boss could not have been more supportive.
I know what you’re thinking . . . too good to be true right? Well, you’d be correct. Imagine my dismay when only three months after undertaking my position, my boss calls me in to her office to explain that they’d just hit really hard and unexpected times. I knew what was coming that moment. Last in . . . first out. It was a very long way to fall for me. I’d gone from flying high to bottom of the heap in the space of about 5 minutes. I had absolutely no hard feelings towards my boss whatsoever. She really didn’t have any choice and the situation she found herself in was really every bit as sad as mine.
But that night as I drove home all I could imagine were those endless, demeaning, pride beating, financially draining months of trekking backwards and forwards to the job centre again and my heart just sank. In that moment, frankly I couldn’t think of a single worse thing on this planet.
However, things were a little different this time. Upon my first visit there, I was offered a selection of government funded training courses . . . amongst these ranged from health and safety to specific courses such as NRSWA renewal training (Hence to say I didn’t opt for that one!) instead I settled on one of which was ‘Skills support for redundancy’. This option seemed more appealing to me than my bi-monthly visits to the centre to trawl through pointless job ads. At least it would fill my time and who knows? I might even find some useful information.
So I signed up . . . and quite honestly I’m not sure there’s any way I could find to describe for you just how helpful it was . . . but I shall try. The first day was really just an ice breaker, introducing us to the course and the other people who were on it. It was great to meet other people going through just what I was and chat to each other about how it was making us feel. Immediately I felt more supported than I was before and that was beneficial even if I never learnt a single thing. Over the duration of the course we were assisted with individual career planning and skills analysis and we formulated a career and job search action plan.
The really amazing part for me though, was that following the creation of my action plan, my trainers were able to identify a local training opportunity for me and I was able to complete the course on placement as an apprentice at a much larger firm. I must have done fairly well, because on my last day of placement . . . . They called me in to offer me a permanent position!
A year down the line I’ve already been promoted once within my department and I’m going from strength to strength. I could not recommend these courses enough and would advocate them to anyone I knew who was seeking employment. Speak to your local job centre about the courses available to you and find out like me that there is life after redundancy.