Spring at last.

What a dreadful few months this has been. Since before Christmas I have been back to fighting those darn demons again, but with spring on the horizon things are starting to look up a bit better once again. Through out these 3 months I just haven’t had it in me to write my blog, despite so much going on in my life.

The news that I was told in October that I would lose my new job, totally gutted, along with several other colleagues, it was a bolt out of the blue, and as the time is drawing ever so close to the finishing date (sometime during the first 2 to 3 weeks of April) it has become more and more difficult to comprehend what is going to happen job wise in the future. Already the job searching has begun, and last Thursday I had a job interview for what I do see as a perfect job and an added bonus it is very close to home. Just one thing, so many people have been interviewed for the position, I won’t know for a few more days yet but I doubt very much if I will get it, but at least I managed to get an interview and tried my best.

However, one thing is certain now in my mind, this current job I am in was not meant to be after all, and may be it’s for the best I am being made redundant. I wonder if anyone remembers the old saying, although we can’t see it at the time, things happen for a reason. I believe in this case it to be completely true. But it has given me several more months of very valid experience and knowledge in another specialized industry.

It was the first Christmas and New Year without my dad, and somehow we got through it, although it was very sad and strange not to see him Christmas morning, and then round the dinner table with my brother, sister-in-law and my nephews. It is also very strange to realize that next month, on my birthday, it will be the first anniversary of dads passing. I can’t believe where this past year has gone, it just does not seem real without him around.

The dark mornings and evenings with the dismal weekends throughout the winter months, travelling too and from work have taken its toll on my physical and mental well-being. In January I ended up with a virus that knocked me off my feet for a few days and then a severe bout of laryngitis in February. On top of all this I found out my diabetes has got worse and I am now on daily medication for this as well as new medication for a couple of other problems associated with the diabetes. Not really the best start to the year.

My daily routine starts when I get up between 5.45 to 6.00 am each morning and get ready for work to start a journey to work that takes about 1.1/2 hrs plus. This includes two bus journeys as well as waiting around time for connecting to the 2nd bus services and then a 15 to 20 mins walk down what has to be one of the dirtiest, and most dangerous roads in Birmingham which is a route to a major freight company in an industrial area. On the good side they say a brisk 20 min walk is good for you every day.  The road and footpaths are littered with rubbish that has been deliberately dumped, including large truck tyres, as well as the rubbish thrown out of the windows of speeding cars. The footpaths are blocked by trailer lorries which one has to walk into the road into oncoming, and sometimes speeding traffic in order to get around these parked vehicles. Normally I would be able to avoid this long walk and take a short cut, but unfortunately there is major bridge repair work going on which means the short cut is cordoned off until further notice. I’m guessing it will re-open the week after I’ve finished this job!

On arriving at work each day for an 8.30 am start I then have to deal with one particular male colleague who has to be the most arrogant, big-headed, loud mouthed and disrespectful person I have ever had the misfortune to meet in my entire working career. This has lowered my mood considerably over the past few months, but now I won’t have to work with him much longer which is a huge sigh of relief.  The rest of the team I work with are a fantastic bunch, and it is down to them that I have managed to survive and get through each day in this job, and the fact I have been able to learn so much about the concrete industry. Then, on finishing work between 5.30 to 6.00 pm I have to repeat the same journey back home, this time through a crowded city centre and finally manage to get home around 7.00 to 7.15 pm. feeling exhausted, but not able to get ready and go to bed because of having to have a light meal in order to have my evening medication and allowing the meal to digest before I can go to bed. If only life was so much more simpler.

This is a very long day with travelling and working in any ones book, and to do it through the winter months and through the dark mornings and nights has taken its toll on my health. Thankfully the past couple of weeks has been a big improvement, lighter in the morning when I leave home and of an evening when I leave work, which has made it more bearable and also a few warm mornings with some bright sunshine and blue skies.

The Saturday mornings I have had to work, which is one in every third Saturday, have usually been the better Saturdays regarding the weather, but because of having to be up at 5.00 am to be in work for 7.00 am by the time I finish around 10.30/11.00 am I am too exhausted to do anything, including going out with my camera. On my free Saturdays the weather has been dismal and so this has kept me indoors.

With all this going on I can understand why so many British love to go to warmer, sunnier climates during our winter months.

The last couple of Saturdays I did finally manage to get out and about with my camera, a trip to my nearest local zoo in Dudley and then last week-end to the Birmingham Nature Centre. Just pushing and willing myself to get out on both those days has helped me to start fighting back those demons. There is something about being around animals that does help to lift ones spirits. It means that with the better weather comes the chance to get out and about more, go on walks which in turn should help the diabetes and my blood pressure. I even have a couple of day trips planned. I also want to find time to relax and do some fishing in the summer months. I always used to find sitting on a river bank watching the fish rising to the surface and splashing, hearing the birds singing and the water rats and voles diving in and out, always made me smile and even gives me inspiration. In all honesty I think they all look forward to the spring as much as we humans do.

I probably say this every year, but I do love spring. It’s a new beginning, a fresh start, a colourful time of year, to see the carpets of  daffodils and crocuses rising from the ground, it warms the heart, and also allows our souls to breathe again. I realise I have a few  busy and uncertain months ahead of me, the stress of job searching, then starting a new job, working with new people, adapting to a different environment all over again, improving my diabetes, but I also intend to give myself some me time whilst out exploring with my camera, this is something I haven’t done properly for a few months.

 

Approaching Spring

Spring soon will be here
Away from the winter’s snow
Drying up every frosty tear
And causing the landscape to glow

But the shine of spring I need right now
I need all the help I can get
To wave goodbye to this past winter
In hopes that I can forget

I’ve lost all my real friends
And almost ever other friendship too
Right now I am just amazed
That I haven’t yet lost you

The approaching spring will hit restart
It’s something that we all need
The approaching spring will fix our hearts
And allow our souls to breathe

by Matt Burgett

 

Many thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

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All Hope lost….literally!

Isn’t it  strange that at the single blink of an eye how life can be so cruel?

Just a mere 5 weeks ago, in my last blog entry, I wrote about my new hope for the future with the company I had just started working for. Finally, at long last, the permanent job and the security that goes with it. It gave me the chance to be able to fully settle down into my new role and give total commitment to it and think about the next few years ahead and feel a little more comfortable about it all before its time for me to retire.

On 12th September I started working for Hope Cement/Construction in a new and very challenging role. I was finally able to start looking to the future with real optimism and start to make some ‘concrete’ plans for my  future. At long last the opportunity I have waited for since 2012 when I finished at D&A. A permanent job, no more temp contracts or worrying about what would happen when my next contract came to an end, where would I need to look now for that new job, how much more disappointment and uncertainty would  I would have to endure, how long would that next job last. An endless list of questions, which I had finally hoped had come to an end.

It occurs to me how strange it is that so many people enjoy the challenge of moving from temp contract on to the next temp job contract and not feel insecure, then there are people like myself (and may be my age has something to do with this) who don’t like that uncertainty, but who need more stability in there lives to be able to function properly and generally get on with their lives.

Over the last 4 years a great deal of my future plans and my life in general has been put on hold, all pending job and financial security, even my pension fund has been on hold, not being in a stable enough position financially to pay into that has been a huge worry.

On 1st August this year Hope Cement was bought out by the Breedon Group who are a major aggregates company in the UK. For those of you, who like me at first didn’t really understand the aggregates and concrete business. A short quick lesson… this means Breedon own quarries around the country, they extract these natural resources from the ground and process them to produce primary aggregates, mainly for the construction business. These aggregates are items such as  gravel or crushed rock and sand (but, I hasten to add, not your bog standard seaside sand) There are other companies who make the cement powder (Portland Cement) which is the binding material.

In short when you add together specific quantities of cement powder and the aggregates and the correct amount of water you produce a concrete mixture. All depending on what combinations of each product you use, plus any additives, then define what type of concrete is produced and for what type of job. When these mixtures are produced, a deep intense chemical reaction happens. However let me assure you that making concrete is not that simple, there is a great deal more to it than people realize.

With Breedon owning and running their own quarries, and Hope batching and delivering concrete mixes to major construction sites around the UK this has now produced a perfect marriage.

Like any major company changes, there is always going to be fallout.  In the short time I have been at Hope’s I have firmly become one of the members of the Birmingham plant and office team, as well as dealing with our Hope Doncaster Head Office colleagues on a daily basis. So the shock news from the announcements made across the company at the same time on Monday morning just gone, blew every one of us out of the water. In short, the new company restructuring means the Hope HQ in Doncaster will be closing with loss of all jobs there, our Birmingham shipping office, which is where I work, along with my two other colleagues in the office, will also be closing,  as will a few other small shipping offices across the UK and these jobs will all be centralised at the main Breedon offices. Unfortunately, this means because of the locations of these centralised offices many of us will not be able to travel there and take up jobs within the new company structure.  Fortunately, however the ‘batching plants’ will remain unaffected and fully operational. We have been advised that whilst the ‘transition’ of the business takes place, with regards to the offices and admin work from the smaller shipping offices into the centralised office, we will in about 6 to 9 to months for all those concerned (around 40+ people) be made redundant.

A bit of De Javu going on here I think!

This looks like history repeating itself, as was the case of Boots Opticians taking over the great Dollond & Aitchinson Opticians. Company restructuring, moving sections of the business elsewhere, job losses etc. It’s very hard to trust in the motives of companies who take over other companies….unfortunately this is what happens all to often now and how the average Mr and Mrs Joe Bloggs is affected with their livelihoods. But in all fairness having said that, Breedon is a top company in its field and they want to expand their business, and their growth in the future, so in order to make money and gain that future success they have to find ways to improve their existing business and make saving in the present. However this means in short this is the start of the loss of all of Hope cement/construction.

My decision now has to be based on whether I stay and wait out the next few months, get more experience in this industry and get more shipping/logistics experience and at the same time guarantee myself a monthly salary and pension for that length time, and a small financial incentive at the end of it,  or whether I start searching for that all new important job that will define my future. At present I am having my doubts about whether a permanent position can be found, or whether I will be hopping in and out of short-term contracts, it is all so unsettling.

At the moment time is of the essence. There is a lot of ‘seasonal work’ to be had, which in short is more insecurity, and I do want to learn so much more about this particular job and the industry, I made a commitment to the company when I was offered the job and I feel obliged to honour that commitment and be true to myself as well as them for as long as possible.

At the same time I am feeling anxious about letting any possible opportunities pass me by on the job front in the next 6 months,  but having said that another 6 months job skills is another feather in my cap and will look good on my CV.

In addition to all of this Christmas is almost upon us, and this year will be so sad and different for myself and my family, as it will be the first one without my dad, and this added worry about the job doesn’t help matters.  And whilst I have appreciated so many good and positive comments from my close friends and friends on fb about my employability, this past week as well as in the past, it still worries me that getting potential employers to notice you is still the biggest challenge these days. The hardest part is not finding the job itself,or even doing the job. Realistically the hardest part these days is getting yourself noticed enough to have an interview set up and being able to present yourself and your abilities at that interview, and as so much of this is done through job agencies these days it actually makes it even harder.

A  couple of years ago I was told I should change my CV and ‘tart it up’ by adding some stuff to it to impress  any perspective new employer. This is something I firmly do not believe in, may be my decision to not do that is my own downfall, but I have always been honest about my capabilities and don’t want to mislead any employer into believing I can do something which in actual fact I haven’t done.

For now I think the right choice is to stay where I am, get the next few months out-of-the-way and come the Spring it will be a new beginning for me as well. I do love Spring, it is my favourite time of the year, a fresh new approach, and hopefully a new opportunity. What can I say? This job was obviously not the right one for me.

Why are choices like this so hard to make?

 

 Choices

We all have a choice
to live a lie
or be ourselves
to laugh and cry
or to follow someone else

to look up and smile
or bow down and frown
to walk the whole mile
or take off our crown

We have a choice
to shout out loud
or chant a whisper
to fly through the clouds
or to be blown like paper

to conquer our fear
or hide in the shadow
to the wise words hear
or be thrown out the window

We all have a choice
to climb our highest mountain
or fall into our deepest hole
to drink from life’s fountain
or live life like a troubled soul.

 Allen Steble

Thanks for stopping by.

History repeating itself!

It seems history can and does repeat itself, or at least in my case it does!

Having gone into work this morning,  everything seemed normal. However I am now back at home having been told at around mid day today, due to financial cut backs within the company I work for……or should I say worked for, that they are having to let me and about ten others go.

It’s very strange that around this time last year I was only saying how lucky 13 (2013) was for me, but strangely enough 13  months later it’s just the opposite.

At the moment I am  in shock from receiving this news earlier, and still trying to make sense of it all, and of course asking why me again.

I’m of course trying my hardest  to not let it get me down. but  it does seem that being made redundant for the 2nd time in two-years is one hell of a kick in the teeth.

On a more positive note, I went from 20 years of vast experience  in the Optical trade to having learned in the last year a great deal about watches and how they work, learning  a lot of new skills on the administration/clerical/customer services side of things.

Question is what do I do now? Where do I go from here? What sort of  jobs do I want to apply for?  How will I manage financially until I get a new job/income? So many questions just buzzing around in my head at the moment.

The one thing I did learn early last year, is that despite what skills and valuable experience you have, there are so many people who apply for one job and the employers can afford to pick and choose….as a result of this a huge number of job applications just don’t get looked at or acknowledged, this in itself is I know very upsetting and stressful.

For the next few days with the Easter holidays coming, there is very little I can do job application wise, except be patient and keep hoping the right job comes along very soon. And after all it is important I remain positive and optimistic. And I will need these next few days to re adjust as to what has happened, with another big change in my life. May be history will repeat itself again, like last year, and in a very short time I will be able to land that new job……this time for keeps.

 

Many thanks for stopping by.

 

Up and down.

What a strange emotional week this has been for me.

Earlier in the week I was able to share some wonderful memories with my readers about my Mom who I lost to cancer 12 years ago. Being able to remember certain positive aspects of her life has helped in some way to deal with her anniversary these last few days.

Over the last couple of  evenings I have been gradually catching up with the blogs I subscribe to via email. In fact I’ve been catching up with the last 3 or 4 weeks worth. I don’t normally leave them that long but with one thing or another time has been short and the fact my laptop crashed on me the other week, I have been spending my spare time of an evening getting my new laptop set up and in running order and making sure all my photographs  are safe. But I was saddened to read that an old friend who writes her own blog has being going through a very tough time recently, health wise both physically and mentally.  And so I want to sincerely  wish Caroline  a  full recovery on both levels. And I know that once you are back on track Caroline, that you will succeed, you have proved it can be done, and I do believe you can and you will do it again, once you have learnt to live within your own expectations and not expect too much from yourself. So if your reading this Caroline…Get well soon.

But catching up reading her posts from these last few weeks has bought it home to me just how vulnerable that those of us who do suffer depression really are. I have a great deal of respect for this lady who over the last couple of years or so she has been doing a lot to try to help eradicate some of the stigma that is still attached to depression especially so in the workplace. She taught me a very valuable lesson back in 2011 and that was about being open with others about your depression, because only then by  being open about it helps you to deal with it and duly give you the energy to get on with the rest of  your life. Hiding your depression is very draining and debilitating mentally and physically not only on the body but also on the soul. And we still have a lot of work to do out there to make people  more  aware of what depression is really about, and for them to have some understanding of how this illness affects peoples lives.

I was at an appointment with my GP in March discussing my reduction in my own anti-depressant, ( as I touched on briefly in my blog of 13 March….Sweet smell of success) and although back then my initial reaction was that everything was going really well and it looked like my life is finally heading in the right direction  I wanted to discuss with my GP about reducing my dosage of 40 mg Fluoxetine per day to 20 mg per day for a few months before finally gradually reducing the 20 mg per day down to nothing,  she did make me come to realise that I was back then on a ‘high’. Yes I had found and started my new job and it felt really good, I had a holiday in April that I was looking forward to with considerable zest, but she pointed out to me very wisely that it was more likely I was going through a ‘honeymoon period’ so I should give it a little more time before starting the process of reducing the meds. It did of course make a lot of sense. So just for the time being I will have to maintain my safety barrier, and remain very cautiously optimistic.. But as is the goal of any one who suffers depression, we want to be free of our meds to live a normal life….and it can be done.

In addition to this,  today I had a day’s holiday from work.  It’s been a very sad day in so much that I visited my old work place to bid a final farewell to my old friends and work colleagues. Some of us will of course be remaining in touch, and no doubt soon we will be meeting up and  talking over the old day’s at D&A before all the changes that started taking place a little over three years ago, which lead us all to being made redundant. During the time I was there until Christmas last year, I had made a lot of friends over the years, and in a sense it was my second family and second home. We had all devoted so many years of our lives  to the old company. It was sad today to walk into the old warehouse that was until just a week ago was stacked high with pallets of stock on racking from floor to ceiling, and was such a busy hive of activity every day. Seeing it today desolate of people and all the stock, and the racking all taken down brought home to me the reality of what the last three years was leading up to. There are just a few people left now to tidy up any loose ends, before over the next three weeks the  huge warehouse  will become an empty shell  for the first time since before it opened 25 years ago, and the last handful of staff will be gone. It truly is  the end of an era. And for those old friends and colleagues today and some of you who are  also my  fb, friends I want to wish you all every success and happiness  for your futures, whether moving on to pastures new or retiring,  we have all been through the good as well as the bad times together, and the last three years have been extremely tough for us all, but we have survived. We are all in our own way’ might oaks’.

The Mighty Oak

Stand tall oh mighty oak, for all the world to see,
your strength and undying beauty forever amazes me.
Though storm clouds hover above you,
your branches span the sky,
in search of the radiant sunlight you
count on to survive.
When the winds are high and restless and
you lose a limb or two,
it only makes you stronger, we
could learn so much from you.
Though generations have come and gone
and brought about such change,
quietly you’ve watched them all yet still
remained the same.
I only pray God give to me the strength he’s
given you,
to face each day with hope, whether
skies are black or blue,
Life on earth is truly a gift
every moment we must treasure,
it’s the simple things we take for granted
that become our ultimate pleasures.

Kathy J Parenteau

Many thanks for stopping by.

Big brother is watching you!

I knew it wasn’t going to be easy looking for a new job or career, and I’m glad now I took a month off to rest up.

However over the past three  weeks I have started to get things rolling with my local job centre and numerous online job sites, registering for the meagre  income called the job seekers allowance, and have come to the conclusion,  looking for another job is in itself a full-time occupation.

In the old days , some 20 to 25 yrs ago…..job searching was about looking in the local newspapers, going to the job centre and picking up a card or four with details of the vacancy on it and then taking to the desk clerk, they would either give you the details of whom to contact, or phone the company there and then and arrange an interview date and time, attend the interview, and then out of simple politeness receive through the post, or via a phone call a job offer or a  sorry in this instance you didn’t get the job. My, how things have changed……and supposedly for the better. Alternatively you could pop along to local companies and drop your CV into their personal staff at different locations.

Now you have to make an appointment with your local job centre  just to register your unemployed, and complete the relevant forms on line before a further appointment, to fill out another load of forms.  So frustrating.

Technology has apparently made the job searching and applications process so much easier, but I have to ask the question, easier for who? Certainly for the employers who’s  HR dept’s don’t want to get too involved in HR duties!! But having what I have learnt over the past few weeks, despite supposedly making it  also ‘easier’ for us the employee to seek work, I am actually finding I am coming up against numerous stages of applying for a job that have been set up to deter most people from applying for many of the jobs available. In some  cases there are jobs that may not be  actually available but some companies are just going through the motion of advertising outside for jobs that they have already filled by staff already working within that said company.

I had to laugh at one of the vacancies I saw on an online job site a couple of weeks ago.

Example in brief….. Full time  experienced post room clerk required for busy company. Salary was negotiable  dependent on age and experience. Some filing also involved. Among the qualifications required applicant must literate and numerate and……wait for it …..have a graduate degree qualification!  I kid you not, but somebody must have been having a giraffe!

The job entails receiving, sorting and distributing post and packages to various internal departments in a large busy inner city office. Occasional filing of documents within departments. Ok, so one has to be able to read and write to determine which dept the post is going to, and of course the individual’s name on the pkg or envelope, and learn the lay out of the building, which like any job comes with time and practise. And know where files go and in what order. But I have to ask, what the heck has having a graduate degree qualification got to do with distributing internal post or filing documents?  Even looking closely at this particular ad, I read through the details several times, and even taking into account of any person wanting to progress through this particular company this particular qualification requirement  seemed unnecessary. My conclusion….employers want to minimise the number of people they wish to interview thus making fewer people apply to the ad. I’ve heard at starting at the bottom and working your way up in the company, but this has got to be ridiculous.

I could do that job with my eyes shut, in fact part of the job I have done for the last 20 yrs (and jobs before that) entailed me to do both sorting post and packages, and filing. In addition to this I was a goods inwards officer  for the best part of 14 years, and  I also trained internally to become a BSI auditor (now ISO) and reached internal senior auditor status (for 3 years before choosing to step down, due to other commitments) and as a result of this achievement I trained others as internal BSI auditors, where up on we were responsible for auditing 3 main manufacturing sites in my company) I didn’t have a graduate degree qualification to be able to do that, I didn’t need one, in those days it was about learning on the job, and thus gaining that valuable experience and putting it into good practise. In addition to all of this most agencies and employers want to look at how you conduct yourself at an interview, and rightly so, they want to see if you ‘seem right’ for a particular job, if you have any colour sense in the way you dress for the interview, if your shoes shine, some put more emphasise on this than the real experience a person has to offer. I was surprised to be told a few months ago by someone that when your offered an interview by a company, to do your homework on that company, who they are, what they do, their financial position, their performance in the market, get to know all and everything about them, in other words impress them with your in depth knowledge on them. I asked the question why, and the reply was, because that’s what employers expect now!!  I think that getting a job as a clerical assistant, or a picker packer, cleaner, warehouse operative, post room assistant, filing clerk or admin assistant and so on doesn’t require you to know the financial market share of that company, perhaps as a senior manager, executive, director it would help.

Aside of all this I also put myself through evening college for a little over a year to gain a qualification in logistics and distribution management, having passed both exams I then became an Associate Member of the Institute of Logistics (AMI  Log for short) Although I no longer use these letters after my name, and I don’t use the skills and expertise I learned about 12 yrs ago, I still have some knowledge of these procedures. But having said all that I learnt more about the various jobs I did with my last employer by hands on experience and getting involved at all different levels. Practical experience goes a long way.

But what has annoyed and frustrated me these past couple of weeks is how, for want of a better phrase, whilst you are unemployed and doing your utmost to find a new job ‘you are owned’ by the job centre and government for that period of time. Not only do you have to report to them every 2 weeks at a time that is arranged by them to ‘sign on’ in order to receive the job seekers allowance and or any benefits, and if you are unable to attend you have to have a good enough reason and provide proof, you also are told that you have to job search at least 5 times a week on the various job sites they recommend, and look at the local paper, and write at least one letter to an employer per week, and phone at least one employer a week. In addition to this one has a log sheet, to write down all the relevant information of where  you have applied, what job you have applied for, via what job site/method of contact and so on, also on the job site they recommend there is a facility for you to save that job you have applied for,  which to a point is fair enough, but then if you fail to do any of this or not prove you are looking hard enough for work you get penalised.  So through out all of this big brother is watching you!! I have been spending a good 2 to 4 hours a day almost every day these past three weeks (including weekends) looking on at least 6 reputable job sites I have signed up for and the numerous agencies employers go though for the vacancies I can apply for, in addition to this I have set up job alerts via emails from sites when new jobs become available that match my own criteria. All this and the form filling, emailing my CV has meant that I am already doing a temporary full time job, but even so because your not getting the replies or results, the job centre seem to be of the opinion one is not trying hard enough, which doesn’t do anything to boost ones confidence.

But we are back to the problem of selective employing by so many companies that no matter how hard you look or try,  you fail to get a response  from that company, or despite like the above vacancy  you can do that job, unless you have that degree you won’t be able to apply for that particular job.

In conclusion I have found that there are barriers being put up out there by employers because if you don’t have the specific or right qualifications, you’re not of the right calibre for the job. And yes I do understand and fully appreciate that there are also many jobs out there in certain fields that are tough and do require a certain amount of expertise and hence the need for a university degree or two, and I have no qualms about that, and there has to be certain areas in each and every company that need people of that quality. But even most university students who have left several years of higher education with many qualifications on paper are finding it more and more difficult to find a job in their field, this is most probably down to lack of actual work experience in a work place……and it seems everything always comes down to time and money.

Since I left my secondary school in the summer of 1981 (which is now some 32 yrs ago,) I have always worked, apart from 2 separate instances where I was unemployed for about 4 or 5 months each time, and I have to add not through lack of trying to find work on both of those occasions. But by being given an opportunity to work at my last company 21 yrs ago, I was able to prove to them my worth and hence my development within that company, so I must have been doing something right all them years.

Having written this post today, I have been fortunate to attend an actual job  interview today with a very well-known company to work at their local distribution centre, but I was surprised to find that the gentleman who interviewed me today happened to mention to me that they have very few woman who apply for this particular type of work, and he personally would like to see a change in that. So I do feel honoured that I was selected for this interview today, but this has been mainly down to the fact that I have a vast amount of experience in this field, and they found my CV very interesting. I hope to find out by the middle of next week whether or not I have the job (as they still have other people to interview tomorrow) Further more despite being very nervous the past few days with the interview approaching, I was surprised to find how relaxed and at ease I felt, and how well I handled the interview.

In the meantime, tomorrow is yet another day, and I am ‘required’ to attend another appointment at the job centre to have a ‘CV health check’ done by a professional as this is mandatory I must attend or else! (even though I have to say my current CV was created by a professional a little while before I was made redundant from my last job.)

Many thanks for stopping by.

Here begins a new chapter in my life.

We all have to make decisions at some point in our lives……that’s just the way it is.  On occasions they are made for us because of circumstances that arise, and basically we can not always be in control of some life changing decisions.

These past couple of months  have been a bit of a traumatic time for me both physically and emotionally……..as it  turns out they go hand in hand. In recent weeks I have had to make a very big life changing decision, and have come to terms with the realisation that I must do what I believe really is the best for me.

The main reason I have not been posting for some time now is because of having to try to keep a clear head, and do a lot of thinking, as well as continuing to carry on with my routine of going to work, which hasn’t been easy due to health problems on a physical level and being  on strong painkillers 24/7 attending physiotherapy and hydrotherapy sessions on a weekly basis. Whilst the injection I had in my knee a few months ago worked really well, it was unfortunately short-lived and the pain came back with a vengeance. I won’t bore any of you with the details, but suffice to say it has been affecting my mobility severely for the past 6 or so weeks.

Those of you who have read my posts regularly will know that for over 18 months now I have had the threat of  compulsory redundancy over me. It’s never been a question of if it happens, but more as to when it will happen. These are decisions made by others and are out of our own hands. The time zone of when it would be happening has been extended on several occasions, it meant a lot of plans in my life have had to be  been put on hold. However in this instance, something that happened to me at work recently on a personal level as well as the mobility problem forced me to put things into true perspective  and has greatly influenced me to finally make a decision which the more I think about it the more I feel is the right decision for me personally.

My loyalty to my employers has been such that it was my intention to stay until the bitter end, which would have been up until the middle of 2013. For me it meant the continuance of routine, independence, a regular income, and the chance to continue working with my friends and colleagues some of who  have known for just on 21 yrs this very month. Overall it meant some ‘normality’ whilst living on this knife-edge, not knowing from one day to the next when some one would come and tap me on the shoulder and say, I’m sorry but it’s your turn next….we no longer require you and your redundancy is effective forth with.

Well, as of today that decision has been taken out of someone else’s hands and is now in my own hands…..therefore I now control my own destiny. I recently put in my request for my redundancy on early release and this has been granted. Today I walked away from my work place,  my head held high, for the last time after a very emotional farewell with my work friends and colleagues, most of who only found out this morning this was my last day…….because that was the way I wanted it and planned it, (my coping mechanism!!) Only six people have known in the past few days of my decision to take early release, and that it was actually going to happen for me. However, some of us will continue to stay in touch.

My intention now is to take two or three months off, get myself feeling fit and well again before starting  a new job. It won’t stop me from looking for work, because the right job might just pop up when I least expect it. This will give me the time I hope to think about what it is I actually want to do, prepare myself and also to give myself the proper time I need to heal physically and emotionally……and without worrying about paying the bills but also give myself to real ‘me time’ to pursue my love of photography and art/craft and spend some time with my friends, and take a much awaited and well-earned holiday to Scotland in the early Spring.

I feel as though today a huge weight has been lifted from off my shoulders, a burden that has been weighing me down for a long time now, and one which has been affecting my depression and anxiety.

It’s now time to start a new chapter in my life……for better or for worse!!

What overshadows the positive?

Whilst going home on the bus a few days ago, I overheard a bit of a conversation between two elderly ladies sitting behind me.  They were talking about our NHS, and basically discussing the outcome from an incident that had occurred to someone they both know. They were saying that in their opinion the lack of diagnosis and care to this person was not right, and in their own words ”it’s awful how were all treated these days by the NHS”. I think they might have forgotten all the incredible work our NHS do and all it’s positive aspects…….most of what we don’t get to always hear about.

All this got me thinking. To begin with I thought it was  unfair that such a generalised comment highlighted such negativity. It’s strange how quickly people are prepared to put something or someone down, because they get to hear, or know of something happening. Such stories are highlighted by the news media…….in other words they make a huge issue out of certain things…..the bad things. It seems that they are all very quick to jump on the band wagon and criticize anything that goes wrong. As a result of this it ‘overshadows’ all the good things that happen and rarely gets a mention.

We must not forget all the great things that do happen each and every day, but sometimes we hardly get to hear about them in the news media. We get to hear about a ‘selective few’, but then they get quickly forgotten because something big and bad comes along and overshadows it.

It’s very much like this with depression. With myself for instance, I always seem to be in a state of mind of thinking only bad and negative points when I am at my lowest. And I can say with all due respect to any or all sufferers of this illness, that they too  must go through a similar if not the same sort of experiences. Of course there are good things that have happened in my life, as with any ones life…….it’s just extremely difficult, if not impossible sometimes to remember them, and to put them into true perspective, because the depression overshadows all those positive aspects. All or any good things that have happened  seem totally inconsequential at that point in time.

And I am sure there are many out there who can relate to what I am saying. and so it seems when ever we try to remember these good thoughts or memories its very hard to see through that thick cloud of fog.

There have been numerous occasions in my life, in my deepest darkest days, when even though I can and do try to remember the positive points, the idea of telling myself that those good things can happen and will happen again, is extremely difficult. This is where over the last year or so  CBT has played a big part in my thought processes. CBT is not the be all and end all of depression, some days it is still a very difficult concept to grasp, and to turn your thinking around from the negative into the positive…..namely because the negative still has a habit of overshadowing the positive. In some situations, CBT just does not work for me, in other situations it can be very effective.

The last 2 days have been very difficult days, not just for myself but for all my other work colleagues, some of who are  good friends. For those of my new readers who have recently subscribed to my blog (and I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to you all for reading and joining) I would like to just put you briefly in the picture, so to speak……I have worked within the same company for the last 20 yrs. Three years ago, the company I worked for ‘merged’ with another bigger  ‘ better’ company. Last year due to changes in one major aspect of our work being contracted out abroad some of us were TUPE’d over to another company and then seconded back to the other company, but knowing full well by the end of this year 29 of us, including myself would be made redundant. The remaining staff however, about 20 of them, who were not TUPE’d over, and have continued to work alongside  in the other half of the business with us,  were until yesterday morning not aware of their futures.

We had all guessed and even expected what did happen yesterday, was what was going to happen.But you still hang on to the hope that you might just be wrong. And even though you were sort of expecting it, it’s still very difficult and even heartbreaking to have confirmed officially in an annoucement what you were expecting. My remaining colleagues and friends, some of who I have worked alongside for the last 20 years, have now had their fate sealed. They too will be made redundant over the next 6 to 8 months, because of their side of the work being contracted back to the companies other main distribution site in a different part of this country and to a different set of staff from the company who merged with us.

Our company, in particular the site where I work, before the merger 3 yrs ago, had spent years building its reputation, implementing a smooth and efficient running business for our customers ( who are our branches, so that they in turn can serve their customers, the public) Even the most senior HQ staff have had to acknowledge the standards and reputation that our distribution centre have achieved……..hence one of the main reasons for their merger in the first place.

We have all had our ups and downs over the years, but we have worked together as a most incredible and extremely efficient and very knowledgeable team (apart from the odd one or two!), and have worked with a brilliant set of  managers and team leaders. We have seen a huge number of changes  within the company, some good, some not  good, but we have adapted to these changes in order to maintain or improve our levels of unbeatable services. But the news yesterday overshadowed all of these positive factors, and it is extremely difficult to accept that everything we have strived for, everything we have built up and created from absolutely nothing is now being taken away from us.  As one of my managers said to me yesterday, and I quote…”we are this place, we have built it from nothing”. This place has existed for 24 years, and I am proud to have been part of that for the last 20 years. To some people out there, they could turn around and say ‘but its just a job’. Which to a point, for some of my younger colleagues, and those who have not been there very long will probably think the same. But for many of us, we have spent a huge part of our lives working for this company, in this place through thick and thin, we see it differently.  We have spent most of our time at work than at home. We have built up our own friendships. We are affectionately known by others in the same company as a ‘family’.  All our lives are now about to start changing.  And because of this one major change in all our live, it overshadows everything we have done, everything we have acheived individually and as a team.

Even though at present all these good points, are being overshadowed by what is happening, and I have no doubt that in the future I will still face very difficult and challenging times, and will still have very negative thoughts about my life,  I will have this page of my blog to remind myself that I should be positive in my part in what we have acheived over these last 20 years.

For many of us this truly is the end of an era!