Unexpected life changes – voluntary redundancy

The last thing I expected that day was a call from my boss while I was on maternity leave, to speak to me about redundancy…

I had worked in retail travel for all of my life, since I left school at 16 to take a position on a Youth Training Scheme.  I had known for some time that I wanted a career in the travel industry & this seemed the best way to get my foot into the door…

Fast forward 18 years & I was a Manager of a busy high street chain of travel agents.  Prior to my maternity leave, I had taken up the position in a store in a different town from ‘my’ branch – this move freed up the opportunity for three different & new managers to take up positions that would not have been available otherwise; I was helping my region out by making the move & as I planned to take my full year maternity leave, I was happy to help out.

My regional manager told me that the branch I was covering was closing, redundancy was an option.  My regional manager knew that this may be something that I would want, having recently had twins & not having made any plans to return to work yet, if ever…

Unlike many others in this position, redundancy was an option that could possibly work for me; I had not yet decided if I was going to return to work at the end of my maternity leave, it was highly unlikely that I would be able to work full time but I was unsure if there would even be a role for me part time.

Knowing this fact did not make the process any easier.  For any of you that have been through the whole redundancy process, you will know how lengthy & time consuming it can be – frustration of having been served a 90 day notice; having to chase HR departments about decisions; waiting on the postman for confirmation of my package option, as for some reason figures were not given over the phone.

Even though I chose to opt for voluntary redundancy, the whole process was extremely stressful – I did not receive confirmation that it had been approved until the day before I was due back from maternity leave.  Luckily, I did not have to work my 12 week notice period, something that suited me well due to childcare, then it was offical, I was unemployed for the first time in my working life…

I found this an extremely unsettling notion; I was used to paying my way, splitting costs, getting up for a reason in the morning.  Yes, my children took up most of my time. Yes, I had my healthy redundancy package to live on. But I didn’t feel like ‘me’ & this was so unsettling.

I worried that if I was out of the workforce for too long that I would become unhireable & have an out of date CV, but having worked for the same company for over 14 years & been used to being the person to do the interviewing rather than be interviewed, I was scared too.  When I was younger I did flit from one job to another when fancy took, but now I had responsibilities; my share of the mortgage, car loan, bills to pay, children…I was starting to lose confidence in myself & in my abilities.

I decided I needed to get back to work quickly, but I was unsure if I wanted to head back into the travel industry.  I had my redundancy money to help fund any changes in salary that starting off in a different direction may incur.  I wanted part time work, ideally at a weekend when my husband would look after our children, so no childcare costs to eat into my salary.  I was lucky to find Mojomums – a role that could fit into the hours that I needed, a new challenge out of my comfort zone but using my skills, a boss that understands the demands a working mum has.

Voluntary redundancy isn’t something that works for everyone, but for me it came at the right time in my life.  If I had been offered it prechildren there is no way I would have even considered it. Now, I can’t image still doing that job.  18 years in one career is enough for me – I now look forward to my working days & am learning new skills all the time, which is something I think looking back that I needed in my old career.

So if redundancy is offered to you, don’t immediately panic.  Take time to sit & think through a plan of action, it might just be the best thing for you…

 

 

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