One year ago today!
One year ago today, the company that I had worked for since leaving university, for 13 years, came to an end.
One year ago today around 800 people walked out of the building for the last time.
What had started out as a great company, a fascinating concept, a fun place to be, had evolved into just another bunch of numbers to be bought up and split apart by the big guys.
I could reminisce about the old days and how much I enjoyed my life then.
I could tell you that when I first started working there in 1998 the company was just starting out. There were major glitches in getting us up and running. The number of customers we received far outweighed the number of customers we expected and we had hour long waiting times on the phone lines. The first time we got the service levels above 50% (50% of calls were answered before they hung up) we had champagne to celebrate.
I could tell you about how short staffed we were on our phone lines. How on a Sunday night there was only 2 trained operatives on the telephone lines (I was one of them), with 120 people waiting in the queue.
I could tell you about arriving for my shift and my whole team being put through a 15 minute aerobics session each morning to wake us up.
I could tell you about the parties to celebrate breaking even, years ahead of schedule. Of working my way up through the ranks. Becoming a specialist in my area. Earning promotions and pay rises. Daily challenges, changes and new ideas. The fantastic people I met, the great teams I worked with and of course the clashes that occasionally occurred.
I could tell you about how much fun we had and what a great place it was to work – in the beginning at least.
Maybe I will tell you about these things over time.
Today, let’s look at what has happened in the last year instead.
I know that some of my old colleagues are still trying to find work, although the majority of them have now moved on. Some have gone in new directions, bigger or better things. Some returned to learning, some carried on with what they already knew. Some even went back to the same building, but for a different company.
I found a new direction. I started an entirely new role in completely different profession. I became self-employed, something both scary and challenging. Something I had often wished to do. I had a lot of help from a good friend to get me started, but I also had to do it for myself!
I now work part time. The hours that I do are much less than in my old life. I now have time to take my kids to school and pick them up. They can have friends over after school, because I am here. Before they would have been at school in clubs and being cared for by other people whilst I worked. Now, I get to cook them dinner and do homework with them. I get to read to them before bedtime. Now, I have time.
I earn less. I no longer have the spare cash to splash out on holidays at will or to have my hair cut and coloured monthly. But I do have the cash to pay for my kids presents and clothes. I buy them food and birthday parties. We have family days out. I am not rich and I don’t have sick pay or holiday pay or bonuses. But I do have money.
I have more energy. Instead of rushing from bed to kids to schools to work to meetings to hometime to kids to dinner to bed, I have a brisk daily dog walk with my new puppy before I sit down to work. I get the house tidy in between writing. I get dinner ready after I complete a task for work. I am not tired all the time, I have stopped smoking. I feel better physically.
Yes, there are downsides. There are days when I feel that I am worth less now, because I do not have the mental challenges, the big career. I no longer make decisions that effect a whole business or handle huge sums of money. There are times when I sit alone in my home office and miss adult chatter and meeting new people. Working from home can be very limiting.
Do I feel I have moved on, or backwards, sideways or down?
Somedays I feel all of these things. But one thing is new. I no longer feel that restricted. I was made redundant and I found a new path. I can do it again if I have to. There is a freedom in knowing that if I want to try something new, then I can.
One year ago today my safe working world ended. It has been a year full of changes. I plan on plenty more to come.