I honestly never thought that redundancy would happen to me. I don’t know why as it’s hardly uncommon, but I somewhat naively thought that I had become part of the furniture at my old workplace.
In the immediate aftermath, I wanted to keep it a secret from as many people as possible, as if my fate was something to be ashamed of. Now though, six weeks later, fully rested and ready to start a new job on Monday, I can honestly say it’s probably the best thing that could have happened to me.
This is why.
So what happened?
Hand-on-heart, I’d hoped that Ginetta would be my forever job. I loved the drivers, the teams and most of my colleagues were an absolute dream; I thought I had the best job in the world. Plus, I’m a sucker for routine, so I was scared of how I’d fair if I had to work in a ‘proper’ job where 9 to 5 wasn’t so much fun!
That all changed for me in June. It was coming up to my 31st birthday and a couple of doubts had started to creep in to my mind. I started to ‘put the feelers out’ and see what other roles were out there for me and even applied for a handful, but in the back of my mind, I questioned whether or not I was doing the right thing.
Would choosing to progress my career be at the cost of a job I loved?
Thankfully (I can’t believe I’m saying that) that decision was taken out of my hands when I was told my role was at risk of redundancy. After the initial shock had subsided, I realised I was actually being handed the opportunity I needed to take some time off and figure out what the next step I’d been wondering about actually needed to be.
Obviously, when I got home that first night I just cried. Well, cried and drank a bottle of fizz I’d been saving ‘for emergencies’.
I guess the tears were because it felt as though my life was no longer under my own control. The main thing was however that I felt like I’d become a burden on Mark in the space of an hour. Yes, I had been handed a fantastic severance package, but what if I just couldn’t find another job I loved?
Mark was understandably brilliant and we are fortunate that we’re in a strong financial state, so I knew that money wasn’t something that I needed to worry about – at least for the first six months or so.
What happened next?
The next day, feeling slightly hungover, I realised this was actually the first day of the rest of my life. I put on my favourite punk rock playlist and cleaned the house from top to bottom. The next day, I went through all my wardrobes and threw away a load of old clothes, bags and shoes. Having a good clear-out was incredibly cathartic.
As I’d been already been looking for another job, my CV was up to date and I was registered with quite a few agencies, so I didn’t start actively looking for work straight away. I was enjoying being a housewife for the time being. Plus, Mark made sure I did a few days’ work at his business, so I wasn’t sat around watching back-to-back episodes of The Real Housewives of Orange County.
Not having a job gave me the headspace to work out exactly what I wanted from the next stage of my career; not just in terms of workload, but in terms of where I wanted to be based – and what I was looking for in a team. I realised that the things that mattered the most to me were working somewhere I felt appreciated, and where my ideas, experience and opinions were not only valued, but encouraged.
What did I do next?
After I realised I probably couldn’t get a job as a real-life DCI Vera Stanhope, I was torn between returning to my roots in Journalism (easier said than done), or finding a job in PR. I knew one thing was certain; I wanted to write.
It’s strange how things just fell into place. I dropped an agency based in Mirfield a line to see if they were looking for anyone. While they weren’t, Andy (the boss) knew a lady who might be interested in meeting me and offered to put us in touch.
I was introduced to Katie, the brains behind Scriba PR, and I instantly felt warmth as we started to email. The company is based in Huddersfield, which was a relief considering I thought I’d have to commute into Leeds city centre every day if I was to continue in PR.
She suggested we meet for a coffee and a chat to explore if there could be a way in which we would be able to work together. A few days later, I packed up my portfolio, pulled on the smartest dress I could find and headed to their office.
As I waited to see Katie, I was a complete mess. I hadn’t ever really had a job interview before (was this an even an interview?) and I really wanted to make a good impression. After 10 minutes with her though, I was completely at ease. I brain dumped what had been happening over the past six years, and busied myself with ‘show-and-tell’ of my portfolio, then the conversation just flowed.
I was really open about wanting to find a bunch of people I could really get along with and learn from. Katie encouraged me to speak to the team, and before I knew it, I’d invited myself along to their social evening later in the week.
I joined the Scriba gang as they gathered around a table at The Manor House, and from the moment we all chinked our glasses, I felt like part of the team. I laughed until my face hurt and I knew this was the place I wanted to be.
When Katie called me this morning to ask me if I’d like to become their newest PR Account Manager, I could have burst with excitement. Scriba offers me an opportunity to develop my own skills, and their client base is one of the most interesting I’ve ever seen. In a real twist of fate too, they actually look after the PR for someone I know, and I’d like to think he put in a good word for me too.
How has redundancy been good for me?
Redundancy afforded me the time to really decide what I wanted from my career. I wanted to find a job where I could really see myself in the long-term, rather than just taking one because, well, who wants to be unemployed?
I think unless I was pushed, I would have found it incredibly hard to leave the world of Ginetta because my life was filled with so many incredible human beings and even better experiences. The thing I’ve come to realise now is, my life still has those wonderful humans in it, but I’m about to meet a shed load more and I genuinely cannot wait.
I truly had the time of my life at Ginetta. I learnt so much about PR, social media and marketing, but in the end, I also learned a hell of a lot about myself and what I want out of my life and my career. On the day it happened, it felt like my world was ending, but in hindsight it’s probably the best thing that could have happened to me.
Yes, I’ll miss a lot of the awesome people I’ve met in the paddock and I’ll absolutely be gate-crashing your hospitality and hanging out in the media room when the circus comes to town. As it stands now though, I’m incredibly excited to join the Scriba PR team and start this new chapter in my life.
When your boss puts fresh flowers on everyone’s desk and ensures you have a team social every month, you know you’re going to enjoy it.
Here’s to the new chapter.