Having worked for a company for 32 years I was made redundant in 2009. Hurt and angry at the time I proved they failed to fairly apply company selection procedures during the process and won damages from them. At the time I was confident about the future. We had good insurance cover to protect us financially and I had many years of experience working for one of the UK's most respected companies in an area which was both high pressured and had many transferable applications for the skills I used. Things were getting tough in the job market but I was convinced I would be back in a job in a fairly short time. I had bags of experience, bags of drive and lots of technical skills. I wanted to work. I wasn't one of those workshy wasters who would live off benefits. The next few months carefully removed all of my conceits. Not only didn't I get a job, I didn't get any interviews either despite applying for hundreds of jobs.
The introduction to benefits through jobseekers allowance and the joys of JobCentre plus and its institutional bureaucracy, while giving me the occasional chance to post a rant or make fun of the ludicrous side of the situation, soon took its toll of my good humour and tolerance. The lack of any improvement in my situation and the absence of any hint of potential jobs soon began to erode my self-confidence. The absence of interviews or indeed responses to applications across that winter though made me even more determined. Surely something would come my way?
For the last few years of my employment I had volunteered in the children's hearing system and my employer had been given an award for their support of my participation. I found this role really rewarding and realised that ideally I wanted to take my career away from big business towards this direction but unfortunately, I also realised that financially I couldn't afford to do this because of the commitments of mortgage and modern life. Now, with a redundancy package and solid insurance protection behind me, I wanted to make that move so much of my efforts went in that direction.. Despite my best efforts this continued to bear no fruit so I was forced to combine job applications back into my previous employment arena. Hundreds, maybe even thousands, of applications elicited no response, not even the acknowledgement that they had been received. Those who did respond listed lack of formal qualifications, failure to meet specific criteria and worryingly, lack of recent employment history. This final comment more than any other caused me some real despair and certainly many sleepless nights. Despite that, I rewrote and rewrote my CV numerous times, tailored each application to the specifics of the job advert and continued hammering home application after application, sometimes eight or 10 a day, week after week, month after month.
When I started applying for jobs I looked for salaries around the earnings I'd been making. By the end of the year I'd reduced my expectations by 20%. As time went on and more and more applications disappeared into the void those expectations reduced and reduced 25%, 30%, 40% and finally 50% but still there was no sign of any takers.
Finally, a week ago I had an interview. This, in the area of social services that I so desperately wanted to get into, was for part-time work, but by this time all insurance cover had ended and I have never been entitled to any financial benefits beyond 26 weeks of unemployment benefit long since ended. The interview seemed to go well but as is the way with these things, you can never tell.
Last night, I got a phone call from my interviewer offering me a job. Not just the part-time job had applied for, but a full-time job in recognition that I have the kind of potential they are looking for. I was stunned, in fact I still am. Finally, someone other than family and friends, believes in me. Two bloody years of Purgatory but finally somebody believes in me.
Once all the checks have been done to allow me to work with vulnerable groups and once my references have been received I will be back in the land of the working and finally my working life will be moving in the direction and in the kind of area I want. I will be working with people suffering from autistic spectrum disorders.
See you later.