These days I'm hearing more and more about the stress and heartache redundancy brings, so I decided to write a very personal piece reflecting the gamut of emotions I experienced whilst going through this very same process.
Wow, what just happened??? It's very early, the sun is just rising and London is dragging itself out of slumber and preparing to hurtle its way through another chapter of the working week. Hell, I only went to bed a couple of hours ago and it's not as if I have to get up, I have nothing to be up for, for god's sake! I'm exhausted but buzzing, sleep doesn't come easily right now....
Rewind three weeks. I was made redundant! Just the word itself has connotations of hopelessness. Yeah, OK, I had said many times that I wanted to leave my job, find something more meaningful, more ME...but not like this. This isn't what I meant when I whispered that wish. One minute I was there and the next I was gone, and all within less than an hour, after 15 years. FIFTEEN YEARS! Three weeks of panic and bewilderment and anger, oh yes, lots of anger, later, here I am, finally finding a sort of equilibrium between incapacitating fear and a crazed urgency to find my former self.
What has surprised me most is that although I wanted change, now it had actually manifested itself I felt completely devoid of my identity. Where has 'me' gone?? I was there and then I vanished. I can't fathom how this has happened. The job wasn't 'me', I wanted to move on, had thought about it, planned it in my mind even. Hadn't actioned anything though... So how on earth have I ended up feeling devoid of an identity? Not even a particular identity, just any old identity will do. Anything in an emergency!
The old me knew who she was, hung out with lots of wonderful friends, had a passion for music, fashion, dancing, history, all the things that told the old me I wasn't following the career path I was meant for, and yet now, I'm unable to identify with the old me at all, because now all that matters is that my job has gone. I can't for the life of me comprehend why I've allowed a job that wasn't my true calling to define my existence so completely. It must have surreptitiously crept up and infiltrated my subconscious, and now it's holding me ransom.
As realisation is seeping slowly through the sun-drenched curtains I shuffle to the kitchen and make a cup of tea. Ah yes, the British panacea, and it does work to some extent at least until the kettle boils again...
Quite some time, and a few thousand teabags later...my mind finally unscrambles itself enough to resume a semblance of rational thought and I discovered that right now, in this one present moment, I'm OK. I am exactly the same person I always was. All the stuff going on in my head is just that, stuff that I'm making up and giving meaning and significance to way beyond what it deserves. All the shambolic, desperate thoughts and feelings are just an elaborate distraction.
I felt no hate towards anyone, just confusion. Why? Why me? It was the lack of answers that confounded me. Knowing the 'truth' in any situation has always been a big deal for me. The truth has been my salvation throughout my life. Having that knowledge as a starting point, a firm footing, instead of the quicksand I now seemed to be mentally negotiating on a daily basis... no answers were forthcoming and I eventually managed to reconcile that, and let go of the pursuit.
In my silence I found the space to think long and hard and eventually discover I don't need a particular job to validate my self-worth. Two years later, I can look back and admit that it was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. By letting go of all the usual external trappings that I held on to with such grim determination, and valuing my own inner strength and capabilities I can now appreciate myself for who I truly am, and know that I'm better prepared to deal with all the ups and downs of life that lie ahead. Of course I still have the occasional wibble, but I try to be kind to myself, give myself a break and then get on with it. My experience led me to train as a life coach, and I'm now heading towards the life and career I'd always longed for, without even realising it at the time. Here's to the future!