Saturday, September 29, 2012

Carpe Diem

It is exactly a year since I left my last job. Like some politicians, I resigned to 'spend more time with my family'. My elderly mother had just moved to Lewes and my oldest son was struggling with a debilitating condition that prevented him from attending school, so I wanted to be near them.

However that wasn't the whole story. I also think I'd reached a crisis point where, in my mid-40s, I was no longer willing to tolerate the frustrations of working for other people. Ironically, it was probably the most successful job I'd had and I enjoyed a good relationship with my employers. But I felt ground down by the nine-to-five routine, the 25-mile commute and the grim environment - an open plan office on a drab industrial estate.

Although there was little danger of me regretting my decision, I made this short film to remind me why I'd left:

One year on, I feel as if I have become myself again for the first time in 25 years. It is as if I have been been deprogrammed after belonging to a rather unpleasant religious cult.

Some people find security in the routine of working so many hours a day, for so many days a week, for so many weeks a year, but I couldn't stand it and felt as if the best years of my life were ebbing away. I had watched my father endure years of hard work and a tortuous commute, only to succumb to heart disease within months of retirement. I wasn't willing to follow the same path.

The last year has been difficult. I have been trying to negotiate the thin line between self-employment and unemployment - time versus money - but I think I've cracked it. In a few weeks I will be starting a new project which should, hopefully, provide the financial security I need to deal with the challenges that lie ahead.

That's Plan A. There is no Plan B, so I'd better make sure that I get it right.


Martin said...

No doubt about it, Steerforth, you did the right thing. And, one year on and you're still here...and feeling much better. Result!

Annabel (gaskella) said...

Good luck with the new project, I hope it works well for you.

Kid said...

Seize the day - and grab the money. Somehow I think you'll do it.

Little Nell said...

Well we can all mop our brows with relief as we encouraged you to make the leap as I remember. I look forward to heraing about the next project.

Lucille said...

I've just returned from the Sussex countryside to the city grime. Can't wait to get away again. Well done for taking charge. Good luck with the next project. Do post more views from your present workplace.

David said...

I'm glad that the leap seems to be turning out well for you. Good luck with the Project. (Is it really a whole year...?)

Canadian Chickadee said...

I must be one of those persons with impoverished souls, because I loved my job, and the people I worked with, and when I was laid off, I cried at least once a day for a month.

It was a devastating blow. Not just the loss of income, but the humiliation and the loss of purpose nearly did me in, because I was forced to give up a job I enjoyed for a seemingly never-ending round of problems.

I had eight years of it before I saw any light at the end of the tunnel. I tried everything to get back on track, but nothing seemed to click. Why I never became an alcoholic or an axe murderer I'll never know. Without my husband to stand beside me, I might have.

So I'm glad that the huge life change is working out for you. You seem like a such a nice, intelligent man, and you deserve to succeed. Congratulations on your first year of your new venture. May your new business go from strength to strength. Prost!

Steerforth said...

Thanks for the words of encouragement. I'll post a progress report once things are set up.

Chickadee - I'm sorry to read that you went through such an awful time, but at least there was light at the end of the tunnel.

I haven't been made redundant, but I went through the experience of seeing the company I loved taken over and ruined by some awful people. My position became untenable and I jumped before I was pushed.

When you've invested so much emotional energy in a job, it's impossible to just walk away. It's a bereavement. I'm glad that you managed to survive what sounds like a dark time.

In my case, I'm ultimately glad that things happened the way they did. If the chain I worked for hadn't been taken over, I'd probably still be there now, working harder and harder in a futile attempt to fight declining high street sales.

As you say, the loss of purpose and the humiliation is hard to deal with and I've seen some people broken by experiences like yours, but it sounds as if you have emerged stronger and wiser.

Canadian Chickadee said...

Sorry, Steerforth, I didn't mean to be such a downer.

I guess I am stronger (than I thought I was anyway). But as to whether or not I'm wiser, I'll have to leave to others to decide!

Have a great week! xox

The Poet Laura-eate said...

You're looking well on it! Lx

Rosie said...

Close escape!