Sunday, 9 October 2016

Gainful employment

before I left college I had a weekend job. I worked for an electrician, fixing washing machines, toasters, irons etc. It brought some money in, not a lot but some nevertheless. There was, unfortunately, no permanent job when I left college so I managed to get a job as a civil engineering technician at Southampton university. That was a fascinating job, working with postgrad students to build experimental equipment so that they could gain their Masters degrees. I met many hard working young people, most of them from foreign lands, Egyptians, Iranians etc. But again it came down to money and the fact there wasn’t enough of it. I joined a company where, over a period of 30 years, I worked my way up the ladder, slid down a snake, started climbing again…
This summer, after a period of illness, I was told that I was no longer needed and was duly paid off. This was an interesting time which, if you follow me on Facebook, you would have seen that I labelled #vexit and allsorts of people were following to see the outcome.
After 33 years of continual employment this came as a bit of a shock to the system. All of a sudden I was unemployed. Too young to retire and, it seems, too old to start again. What does a chap do in this situation?

Well, too start with, I have to ‘sign on’. That is an experience in itself. Walking into a job centre for the first time in my life and finding my soul being sucked out of my body as I do so. There is something about the atmosphere of this place, from the pile pile of discarded cigarette butts outside to the slightly grim lighting inside, that is not conducive to a cheery outlook on life. It may be fine for those who have no interest in work an just want to play the system for whatever they can get out of it, but for someone who wants to work it is depressing, to say the least.

On the whole, I am positive. But every other Tuesday the thin veneer of positivity that covers the fear and depression that unemployment brings cracks like the sugary crust on a crème brulee and my will to live stalls. But I am not desperate yet. I am taking my time to find a job that I want to do rather than what I have to do. In a couple of months I will have to apply for any job but for the moment I look to the adage that if you find a job that you love you will never work another day in your life. That job is out there somewhere, I will find it (the crust on my crème brulee is, currently, intact)
In the meantime, starting from #vexit, I move to #vennployment. keep an eye on my Facebook page for further developments.


Giant68 :-)

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

I seem to have gone off the boil just lately, no blogs, gripes, moans or whinges for quite a while. I am worried, maybe I am losing my grumpiness… My reputation will be well and truly shattered. So, here we go in an attempt to restore my grumpiness.

Towards the end of last year I had a small health problem resulting in me taking time off of work. 4 months off of work to be more precise. Can’t say I really enjoyed it much, sitting around watching daytime TV is not what I like to do. Good God! Do people really fight to get on Jeremy Kyles show? Are they that desperate to get on the TV and have their 15 minutes of fame, whatever the cost to their dignity? Me? I tried to get on Mastermind and was turned down, basically because they didn’t like my choice of specialist subjects. But I did have a great day out in London. Anyway, I digress…
4 months off and I eventually get back to work and spend a huge amount of time trying to catch up with all that hadn’t been done while I was away. Then came the bombshell. After 3 weeks of being back I am told that I am going to be made redundant. Just me. I am surplus to requirements. No matter what I think of the coincidence, nothing will change. But here’s the thing. I suddenly feel as though this should happen. I feel a sense of wellbeing. No feeling of ‘Shit! What am I going to do?’ After 30 years of working for my current employer, at some point in the near future I will be cast on the scrapheap. Somewhere in my subconscious, my mind must have decided that this is the best thing that can happen. Maybe my stress level will start to drop, my heartbeat can fall to a normal level. Or maybe it is the pills I am taking for the small heart issue that put me on the sicklist for months. Either way, I feel pretty good.
But what happens next? I don’t know. The future is very uncertain and I am not sure what I want to do. Obviously I need to find a job, I still have a mortgage to pay. I have some very good friends with the right kind of skills to put me on the right track to finding a job, from advice over what I need to know during the redundancy process to helping me write a CV. And also friends who will just take me out for a coffee, or a beer, and let me rant at them over the injustice.

As I write this I have several job applications in process. But I have also had a couple of turn downs. No matter how positive I feel the turn downs still chip away at my confidence, a little bit at a time, just a small sliver knocked off of a corner, but it is enough to drag my mood down a little every time. Sometimes I feel really down, and I try to hide that because I can be pretty horrible if I don’t try and keep those feelings down. Sorry to those who have to deal with me at those times.
More than 50% of the time I feel pretty good, though. It feels that a great weight has lifted off of my shoulders. Maybe I should have left this job years ago but we fall into safe mode. The current job is known and the big, wide world outside of it is dark and scary. We get institutionalised, and we remain in the safe zone, sometimes to the detriment of our health.

I leave at the end of July. I have started looking for jobs, registered on many employment agency websites and hope that someone wants a hardworking, grumpy old bloke. Time will tell…


Giant68 :-)