Now that it has finally happened, I’m feeling a bit drained and over it all. More than a year ago, my senior manager indicated that projected work was not at the level previously anticipated and that this may have in impact on the team. A few months ago, he announced the process to be undertaken for a resources review within the team. A few weeks ago, he advised me that my position would not be carried forward into the new financial year and a few days ago, he confirmed the date and details of my departure. Because of ongoing projects, that won’t be for three months yet, but at least there is a definite date.
Some people have no notice of impending redundancy, having their work ID card and mobile phone retrieved as they are being ushered out the back door. I can’t complain about the lack of notice, nor the redundancy payout which is more than fair. Between the sudden death approach though and the painfully drawn-out process that I have experienced, there should be a realistic and compassionate compromise.
All is not lost however. For some time the joys of corporate life have not necessarily been waning but the joys of working with decreasing autonomy and increasingly restrictive policies and procedures palled a long time ago. Most people hit a peak in their career a long way before retirement age. From then on, the opportunities are fewer, and career moves seem to be sideways rather than forwards. Increasingly, I have been thinking ‘Is that all there is?’ Motivation has been at an all-time low, driven only by the salary that was deposited into my account each month.
I have been planning my escape route for a while and my redundancy payment will help to fund the start-up phase. Of course my nearest and dearest are advising that I should be taking all sorts of actions now to attempt to secure another job and not to rely on my own devices, but you know what? I am not going to listen.
For a start, I am what would be described as a mature-aged female and I know that options for re-employment are limited. From about 40 onwards, I found that opportunities dried up significantly. If I think back to the times in my working career when I have been the happiest and the most engaged, it has been when I was self-employed. My success record has been a bit erratic, but in hindsight, I can see that I was under-funded, lacking in crucial knowledge or experience and without appropriate mentors. In spite of those impediments, I still managed to support myself.
This time, I have a wealth of life and commercial experience, and a better understanding of what I don’t know. I am up-skilling and on a massive learning curve. At times it seems totally over-whelming but it’s exciting too and I can’t wait to be able to devote myself to growing the business full time.
It won’t be without challenges, and I will put together a risk management plan to mitigate those. Social isolation, demotivation, and time management are a few of the issues that I will have to address. I am relying on planning and networking to help here, plus explaining to others that working from home is still ‘working’ and explaining to my two cats that just because I am here through the day, does not mean that I am available to constantly refill the food bowl.
I am really interested to learn how others have tackled the career change later in life, and in particular if you have started an entirely new business. Did you feel more confident as an encorepreneur? What were the problems that you encountered? Are you glad that you did it? Tell me.
At any given moment you have the power to say that this is not how the story is going to end.