…on Redundancy and Opportunity.

Some useful (UK only) links for those facing redundancy –

It’s been an unexpectedly interesting month, I think it is fair to say!

On June 16th my position was made redundant (remember, it is always the job, not the person, which is made redundant) and so after 12.5 years there (23 years of regular employment in total through various companies since graduating) and so now, for the first time ever, I am officially (and unexpectedly) unemployed. It’s a new experience, to put it mildly.

I went through a huge range of emotions in the first week or so afterwards – elation at being free from work, shock at being dumped after 12 years with no notice, excitement at what I was going to do next, fear of what the future might hold if I can’t sort something out, hurt as to why I was the one let go (it was only ever my position at risk, but that still doesn’t stop it hurting a bit!), and so on. I didn’t realise that I would go through all these emotions – sure, my job had been removed and so I was out of work, but that was fine, I could cope. But these emotions really did hit me for six for a good week or two, pretty much scuppering any and every attempt to move on at that time.

Fortunately (in a way) there was plenty of other stuff to keep me busy; the whole Compromise Agreement and Solicitor thing; signing on at Jobcentre+ (something I had never had to do until now); phone my redundancy insurance company to start the long laborious claim process (and boy do they require a lot of paperwork to be completed!). These all served to give me something to do and to keep me occupied until I’d got over the initial feelings, thankfully.

I have to say, the Jobcentre+ part of it was the bit I was dreading the most (you hear stories…) but turned out to be the least painful, indeed most helpful (so far) part. My initial signon appointment was pretty short and gave me an idea of what I needed to do. Then I had a full interview at the next sign-on date, which woudl be about 3 weeks after redundancy, by which time I was starting to get an idea of what I wanted to do. Which happens to be to start my own business (a topic for another Reflection in due course). The lady at my interview was very helpful here, giving me contact details for several resources which she felt might be appropriate ad useful, and she was right; better yet, they were all resources I’d have been unlikely to have stumbled upon by myself, so Jobcentre+ really did do what they could (so far) to help, and they did so in a friendly manner which was an unexpected bonus.

So, I have decided to start up my own business. It’s something I’d been toying with for a while but in all honesty I do think that had I not been given the push with this redundancy, then chances are in 10 years time I’d have still been in the same job, still saying “Any day now I’ll start setting up my company, you’ll see…”.

I’m under absolutely no illusions, this is not going to be easy, it is not a path to instant riches! There’ll be lots (and lots) of hard work, plenty of stress, and absolutely no guarantee that I’ll make anywhere near enough money. But even if it all crashes in a heap (which it won’t), I will have no-one to blame but myself and, best of all, I can at least look back and say “I Tried”. It is said that we don’t regret what we do, we regret what we don’t do; I know with absolute certainty that come the end of my life as I look back, I woudl regret never taking this opportunity to have my own business far more than I could ever regret any failing which may arise from doing it. Besides which, it is not going to fail. How can I be so sure? After all, something like 80% of start-ups fail within 10 years. And I know a few people who have tried and didn’t suceed as they’d hoped. I know I will succeed because I have been learning from their mistakes (many of those people have been kind enough to share their lessons with me), and I am putting together the best team in order to give myself the absolute best odds of being in the 20% which succeed. If I am going to do this, I am going to do it properly, and that is why I will succeed.

Which doesn’t stop this from being a very scary prospect, of course, and doesn’t stop the money being tight for at least the next year or two. But it is so going to be worth it when the business takes off and is a roaring success.

We can’t always control what happens to us in life, but we absolutely can always control how we react to it. That’s the difference between succeeding and giving up.

Am I scared? Too right I am! But I am also excited, optimistic, and I feel more alive now that I have done for many years!