Well in a nutshell in May 2018 I was made redundant from my job in public sector communications. It’s taken me a while to write this post and even longer to publish it but so much has happened with the Digital Mums course and other things I’ve barely stopped.
The Oxford English Dictionary definition of redundancy is: ‘The state of being not or no longer needed or useful.’ Great. At 38 I found myself no longer needed or useful. What now? This was brand new territory. What do you do when you’re made redundant? I’m sure it’s something that happens to other people. We’d never even imagined this scenario, much less prepared for it. I loved my job and always put in my best (despite working in an often challenging environment). I was made to feel like all the hard work I’d put into my job over the last six years was for nothing.
I’ve always championed working mums and written previously about how proud I was to be a one and then there I was, all hung out to dry with no job to speak of. I felt blind sided and my confidence took the biggest knock. I experienced every emotion going – panic, sadness, guilt, excitement, anger, back to panic. I decided the best thing I could do was ride my emotions and see where they brought me. I landed on excitement. I chose to see this as an opportunity. I believe that everything happens for a reason and at that point in my life I was meant to go in a new direction.
Also, since having my daughter, my priorities had changed. I was constantly on a quest for the elusive work/life balance. In a vain attempt I reduced my hours to 34 a week which I classed as ‘part time’ (it isn’t) so I could spend one day a week with her and reduce our child care costs. The reality of this was that I was working really long days Monday to Thursday so not really seeing her during the week other than at bath and bed time when both of us were tired and grumpy.
Initially I went into default mode searching for jobs in the same field and even applied for a couple but my heart wasn’t in it and I would have been in the same position as before. What’s the point in that? I wanted something that would push and excite me. I needed a career with flexibility, where I could choose my own hours, work from home and be there for school drop offs and pick ups.
Enter Digital Mums! I’d been aware of them for a while through social media. I loved their Instagram account and know people who have been through the training and established a career. My background in communications has given me a strong skill set but I wanted to upskill in Social Media Marketing as all my research showed that increasingly businesses are investing in social media and digital marketing to promote their brands rather than traditional media.
Head v Heart
I still felt conflicted, my head was saying “Get a job and pay the bills” but my heart was saying “try something new, do something for you, this is your time!” After a couple of calls (to the very patient Digital Mums admin team) my heart won and an application form later I was signed up to start training as a Social Media Manger.
Make no mistake, I have to make this work. I financed the course with some of my redundancy payment. I don’t have anyone bank rolling me. This isn’t a hobby. This isn’t me putting off going back to work (as a couple of people have inferred). This is my career that I’m investing in. Some people have found it hard to get their heads around my decision as there isn’t a job at the end of it but, as I like to explain, I will be responsible for making my own opportunities. There is lots of work out there but it won’t come to me, I’ll have to go out there and chase it!
Much to my delight a whole new world has very generously opened its doors to me. I’ve been busy getting involved in different networking activities on and off line where I’ve met loads of really cool, supportive people who are out there making a living doing their own thing and who are always willing to give great advice. I’ve been busy working and practicing on my personal social media channels and I also took a beginners photography course to understand once and for all how my camera works and how to take great photos. So between that, navigating the terrible twos, potty training and keeping the house (relatively) clean and tidy, I’ve been constantly on the go!
So yes I was made redundant but I am far from redundant. I have a new career to focus on. I have a fresh perspective and a new mind set. I feel braver, more determined. I’ve found something I feel passionate about. I feel good about this decision I’ve made for my family. I’m happy and looking forward to the future. Pretty good eh?