I’ve been at a networking event this afternoon. You know the sort of thing. An unwilling victim is press-ganged into talking about something topical. Everyone agrees the problem is ‘intractable’ or ‘challenging’ or ‘an opportunity’. Then we all get to mingle over tea and biscuits.
We had safely reached this stage in the proceedings when I found myself in a little gaggle of glum looking folks. Everyone, it soon transpired, was under threat, was about to be under threat, was working their notice or, in one case, would be going back to the ranch this afternoon to announce to their management team that half their posts would be going.
One of the gaggle who knows me slightly told everyone else that I was closest of them all to getting my ‘last day’. I took it to mean my last day at work rather than any message from supernatural powers about my destiny. (Although I did wonder why she was carrying that scythe.)
On her words I became an object of interest. Soon I was fielding all sorts of questions. Here are the top five (chosen because they sparked most discussion).
What’s the job market like? The real question here is: is it easy to get a job? My answer here was the enormously helpful, ‘It depends.’ There are a lot of vacancies advertised. There are even some in the public sector. So there are jobs to be had. BUT if you expect to hop into a similar job at the same sort of pay just around the corner from your old job, things are a little tougher. So, unless, you get incredibly lucky or your skills are massively in demand you need to do some hard thinking. What salary drop can you afford? Could you move or work away from home? Could you go it alone and start a business? I know. It’s all scary stuff.
CVs? People were pretty anxious about CVs and job applications in general. I passed on the advice from Jonathan on an earlier post about the relative weight of CVs and personal statements in public and private sector recruitment. I also made a point about having a ‘mega cv’ from which you draw in tailoring the one you need for a particular role. I also shared @NaturalGrumps CV views although I did modify the language slightly.
What’s a reasonable price to pay to get advice or join a jobs’ board? This only came from one bod but it’s so important I decided to include it here. DO NOT PAY ANYONE ANYTHING FOR GENERIC ‘ADVICE’ OR TO BE NOTIFIED ABOUT VACANCIES. NEVER. FULL STOP. END OF. There are people – using the term loosely – out there who scent blood in the water over public sector job cuts. Do not give them your money. There are plenty of routes to get good, free advice via the internet. There are even some resources on this blog. So called ‘exclusive’ job listing sites do not carry anything that you can not find somewhere else. Just think about the bad logic of recruiters only chosing to advertise through one pay-for website. Would you recruit that way?
Phew. Feel better for getting that off my chest. Here’s the last two.
Money worries. There was a lot of common worry here. For specific queries on pensions and similar you need to go to experts and they probably will cost. If you are in a union then they should be able to help you find someone reputable but personal recommendations are good too. A recent piece of useful advice given to me was ‘to look before leaping’. That was about buying a franchise and came from a franchise owner but I think it holds good.
How do you feel? People were interested in the psychological impact of redundancy and the changes it brings. I think the only advice worth having here is that you will feel pretty lousy, angry, down, despairing, upbeat and resigned. Probably all in the same morning. As with any loss losing you job takes time to adjust to. Few of us can take this sort of knock and it not hurt. That’s what families and friends are for. And the wider networks you have through work.
I suppose I take too much of the learning I’ve had to acquire for granted but that was one of the reasons I started to blog. To let people know there are thousands of us all in the same boat and facing our own particular versions of the same worries.
There’s a long, long road a-winding until the land of our dreams. (Just think yourself lucky that this isn’t a podcast.)