All the very real thoughts and feelings of redundancy

Written by Sophie Clemens, 26.

COVID-19 has probably affected us all in some way or another but for me I’m “lucky” enough to say it has only affected me financially (which is also pretty bleak) and not physically or too bad mentally so far.

As the weeks of lockdown passed, I was getting more and more bored, I just wanted to return to work – from home. I hate sitting around and doing nothing. I was put on furlough and very fortunately the company I worked for was making my furlough pay so that I was receiving the full 100% of my normal monthly income. Every few weeks I Whatsapped my Managing Director and asked if I could come back to work or if not still post from home (social media posts) as I was getting paid either way. I totally understood there were rule and laws about the furlough contract, but I just wanted to get back to work.

After around 10 weeks of lockdown the company I worked for had begun to get back to some sort of normality and some kind of business, I was however not needed for the time being. As the next few weeks went by of some of my colleagues returning to work, I felt more and more lost. I was bored and interacting with the same 2 people every day, I just wanted to see my workmates and friends. By this time, people I knew all kept telling me “oh just enjoy your time off,’ or “You should have nothing to complain about you’re getting full pay, others aren’t so lucky,” and whilst I knew I was in a more favourable position than others this didn’t make me feel better with my mental health. I wanted to work, and I was becoming more and more stressed about my future work prospects.

I struggled trying to hold back the tears so I didn’t sound like a complete loser on the end of the line to my (old) boss

Last week however I had a phone call explaining to me that the business I work for had been hit by COVID hard and that they had to make cutbacks, therefore my job role was one of those at risk of redundancy. I was slightly shocked but mostly worried and a little sad. I loved my job and definitely didn’t want to lose it. I did my best to think of other alternatives to compulsory redundancy and came up with a 22 point and explanation list long of all the reasons of what I thought I brought to the business and why I should be kept on. As the next few days passed, I started to feel more and more sick. As someone who can suffer with anxiety the waiting and not knowing as well as the thought of being jobless left me feeling helpless and a bit useless.

When I received my final consultation call yesterday, I had a weird anxious feeling in the middle of my chest, but I couldn’t help feeling slightly optimistic after I realised I had a longer list of redeeming qualities than I first thought. During that call I was told that unfortunately I was one of those who would be taking compulsory redundancy as my job role was a luxury the business just couldn’t afford during the current pandemic. I recognised and appreciated the reasons behind it, but I couldn’t help getting upset. I struggled trying to hold back the tears so I didn’t sound like a complete loser on the end of the line to my (old) boss.

I had been told that my bosses fully agreed with the reasons I had sent them and that my redundancy was in no way reflection of my performance as I had in fact given my all to the company. This gave me little solace though as I felt like I had basically been sacked. I felt like it was my fault and that I was the least important person out of everyone. When the first extended family member inevitably asked about my job and how I felt I’ll admit I cried. I pride myself on my hardworking nature and now it all seemed like a bit of a lie. I was easy in the knowledge that having studied my field of work at university the job to me wasn’t just an income but a passion and therefore it felt like a bit of a kick in the teeth to no longer be able to do it.

People always try to tell you “don’t worry something will turn up,” or “I’m sure you’ll be okay,” and also “It’s not just you lots of people are in the same boat,” but without being rude to those people I don’t really care about them, I care about me and what I’m doing. I care about how I feel. As mentioned, being someone who suffers from anxiety the very real worries of how am I going to pay all of my bills and will I be stuck in a job that I don’t particularly like forever did fill my mind. People are trying to be kind with their words but as people who may not feel anxious and or understand what goes through my mind their “help” doesn’t come across quite right, as appreciative as I am.

When I look at my life now, I can’t help but think I have very little

So, I know I’ll be receiving the next month’s pay then some redundancy money and holiday pay essentially meaning my pay-out will cover the next two months for me. That gives me a little time but not enough when you know how badly the market and economy has been affected. I’ve applied for all sorts of jobs already, around 15 in fact, ranging from sports media, communications and marketing to administration or school teaching assistants.

When I look at my life now, I can’t help but think I have very little, no boyfriend, no job and no house. Although these things all take time and only feel right in certain circumstances and situations, they’re things that do cloud your mind. I’m hoping, as they say it may have been a blessing in disguise or that these things all happen for reason. For now, though, it’s a waiting game, so hand me the chocolate please, or the wine, either is good.

“Realise, that if a door closes, it’s because what was behind it wasn’t meant for you,” as “every moment is a fresh beginning.”

This contribution was written by Sophie Clemens, 26. Visit her profile here to find out more about the voice behind the words.