Here’s What Redundancy Really Feels Like

One Big Move

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Today marks three years since I was made redundant. What a journey I’ve been on since then.

Let me first break down the context to all of this.

At some point in 2011, I got friendly with people that ran an SEO agency. By the next May, I was a full-time employee and began a career in digital marketing. The two owners were joined by me, and they began to grow significantly (up to a maximum of 12) from there.

Things were good for a good while.

By late 2015, both of the original owners had left, and our biggest clients had decided to take their digital marketing in-house. It wasn’t looking good. Now housed in WeWork Moorgate, our team was down to four, plus anew owner, who kept assuring us that good times were ahead of us.

We were naïve and thought it must be true.

January 2016 was dry. We had a fraction of the client work we usually would, and most of the month was spent pitching work that never came to fruition. Again, the four of us weren’t concerned; we were in a great environment and were in a rare phase where we had time to do as we wished (with me working on one of my ecommerce business whenever I had chance, another watching every season of Drag Race, etc).

It was a good period, from our perspective.

Friday 29th January 2016 rolls around and it’s a normal day. It was odd that we hadn’t been paid yet, but the owner assured us the payment was just a day late, and we had nothing to worry about. By lunch time, we had decided that we were having a table tennis tournament in one of the meeting rooms between 3/4 of us (as one was ill). As the owner didn’t return from lunch for a whole two and a half hours, we may have been on the fourth tournament before we had to rush back to our seats.

Once she did, we mood was about to change.

“I need to talk to you guys.”

Someone must have laughed and said that she made it sound sombre.

Then she started crying.

She dropped the news on us that the company was liquidating, effective immediately. That’s where she’d been for the past couple of hours. Nothing else she said in the following half an hour or so really mattered, because we were all trying to process it and figure out our next moves. (She then told the ill one the news over the phone).

That day I was due to drive home to Nottingham for the weekend. I got off the tube at London Bridge, headed to Shad Thames where my car was, and set off on a three-hour journey to the Midlands. I was going home specifically to go and see Scorzayzee in Clash Money rap battle, and I had this wild news lingering over my head. I had to blank it all out for a couple of days – I’d have plenty of time to figure out what I was going to do once I returned back home.

Monday morning was a day of action. I made a massive to-do list, called THE DAMN LIST, and set about getting things done.

I’ve still got that list, which went as follows:

Finance

  • Claim redundancy
  • Move savings
  • Budget
  • End non-essential direct debits

CV

  • Update
  • Refine LinkedIn
  • Request x2 references

Job Hunt

  • Define ideal role
  • Contact agencies
  • Check LinkedIn

Admin

  • Rinse LastPass
  • Rinse Dropbox
  • Rinse Google Drive

Misc

  • Buy suit

I was organised, but had serious work to do.

The day after, we had to go back into work. We had to return to work a few days later to drop off any work equipment we had at home, and to be given more information about the redundancy, how to claim what we’re owed and things along those lines.

I swear that I was on the biggest hype for the next fewweeks following that. Hollie was concerned that I had to spend so much time alone, but I was in a new headspace. I felt like I had so much more potential and it was about time I made an effort to show it. I’d broken free from a job I enjoyed, but had been doing for four and a half years. I had a little time todo different things.

Ever the opportunist, I made sure my first days as a redundant individual were fruitful by making an enquiry. I wanted to know how much the total value of all the old office equipment was. Once I got the figure back, I jumped at the chance to buy it all from the insolvency firm so I could sell it all on eBay. I had a spare room filled with conference phones, iMacs, iPads, and all these other bits, so I could make sure the cashflow didn’t dip.

I can’t explain why, but Lovers Rock was my soundtrack during these days. I was listening to loads of John McLean, Peter Hunnigale andJimmy Riley for my jobless phase – the whole of February, March and April 2016.

The office equipment flips would only take me so far for these three months. All the goods sold rapidly and I wanted to keep the cash asa cushion. As I mentioned previously, I got some very lucrative freelance work to keep me occupied for this time, while I was actively jobhunting every day. That was the catalyst to form a company, and I was already racking up a list of achievements within days of losing my job.

So let’s talk about that job hunt. It was spent going through the same cycle of five or six websites, until I found something that hit all of my criteria. It’s tedious and it makes me even more grateful I didn’t try to get my first post-grad role after I had graduated.

I had never had a job interview until this point. It was an alien experience and it definitely wasn’t something I enjoyed. The job hunt went something like this:

  • 25-30 applications
  • 1 interview for a job I didn’t really want
  • 3 interviews for jobs I wanted
  • 3 call backs for presentations for jobs I wanted

The job I ended up getting involved just a single interview question: “How much are we going to have to pay to have you?” The rest was a chat. For the presentation, I just did the damn thing and walked into it.

My redundancy experience was a lucky one. I might have had three months without my regular pay, but the redundancy pay outs were much tastier than anticipated, the freelance work was a blessing, and most wouldn’t have the confidence or vision to buy and sell all the office equipment. I’m going to assume all the warming vibes of the Lovers Rock kept me motivated throughout the ordeal, seeing me through until I found my feet by May.  

Possibly the craziest part of all this is that Cameo was conceived during this chaos.

*Listen to P Money & Blacks*