One year ago today I was told I no longer had a job. To say this came as a bit of a surprise would be an understatement, I’d been promoted regularly, always received excellent reviews and felt like I had contributed a lot to the organisation as a senior manager. But then things changed, and it was my time to lose out, discarded overnight from an organisation I had been part of for 8 1/2 years, just like that, without a second thought. My world felt like it had come to an abrupt end, life was so unfair, why me, what had I done to deserve this? Those initial feelings soon gave way to ones of hope and opportunity – ok so what next, where’s the next challenge, what do I do now? I wrote about my journey from redundancy onwards in another blog, so I’ll try not to repeat too much of that, as it is a very personal journey.
The point of this blog is to reflect on an anniversary, not a particularly pleasant anniversary, but nevertheless one that has had a profound effect on my life. My life has changed significantly, from one of full time, stressful, well paid work to being unemployed, a full time student, earning nothing but enjoying life so much more. And there’s the thing, realising that a bad situation can actually be good – that out of extreme negativity, blame and regret, comes a real positive, an opportunity to do something different, that perhaps I would never have done otherwise!
So here I am, one year later, and almost at the end of my MSc in Public Policy, which has certainly kept me busy over the last year! I am none the wiser about what job I would like to go on and do, but I have learnt so much this year, about myself, about what I enjoy doing, about how to relax and take time out and above all I have learnt that work is not the answer. There have been so many positives to take away from this last year that I would never have imagined. The biggest of those is that I have rediscovered my love for the academic world, my love of writing, reading and learning, as well as an interest in debate, discussion and intellectual challenge. All the things that were sadly lacking in my work life for so long are now a key part of my life as a Masters student. It feels like I have gone full circle, when I first left university, back in 1988, I went to work as a research associate at UWE, a job I thoroughly enjoyed, it was just like being a student again but a bit more grown up. I left after about 7 years due to lack of tenure and uncertainty over contracts, and a general feeling that it was time to do something different. Now I am a student again and I’m considering staying on to do a PhD – if they’ll have me! That would mean 3 more years of study, research, challenge and writing, and right now I can’t imagine anything I would rather be doing for those 3 years – it’s like going home after being away for a long time, it just feels so right, where I belong and where I should be – a feeling I haven’t had for some time when it comes to work.
I have met some amazing people this year, lecturers at the University, tutors, students, other staff, all have been welcoming, friendly and so helpful and supportive. My fellow students are a truly multicultural, international group and I have learnt so much from them about their lives, their countries, their outlook on life and culture. The whole experience has been fascinating and challenging, just as it should be. So for me, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives, of this turbulent, challenging year.