This Time Last Year…

This is something I’ve written about, an account of how my life has changed in various ways over the past year and a bit. Some bits of it you may have gone through, be going through now. Either way this is my story and is something that’s happened to me so feel free to have read… Here goes

This time last year my life took what felt like a sudden U-turn, a month ago to this year I found myself leaving a steady job that I had had for over 10 years. I had been working for a very well-known British retail establishment. I had made many new friends during my time, gained new confidence through my many years and learnt about how to deal with various situations and communicate with people especially with many, many people who I did not even know. The job took me through college, university and eventually into post-graduate life. I got to know people who were similar to myself, had similar problems to myself and were generally good people to know. Sadly however, as the saying goes “All good things must come to an end”. My time did eventually come to an end, but not as I imagined it. Like many others in similar positions who wanted to make the leap to another form of employment to another and I always believed that mine would basically go a similar way. Go on to pastures new and everyone wishes you well for wherever the next stage in your journey takes you. Sadly, for me the reality was completely different. With new faces came new attitudes and sadly not all of them pleasant, understanding, caring or willing to listen to what you might want to say. Bitter treatment, false accusations, harsh words, preconceived notions, words and actions taken completely out of context and bullying in disguise brewed-up within the following weeks and months that were to come. What many do fail to realise is that when things like this happen to people it hurts them, upsets them and makes them second-guess themselves. The pain that they carry isn’t physical but is one where it cannot be seen, in your mind, weighing heavily on your emotions and continuously going round in your head. But you disguise it by using your facial expressions and calm voice. You begin to put on a calm outlook so as not to let people know just how hurt you are on the inside and you pace yourself from your peers so as to not let on that your superiors have just come down on you like a ton of bricks. In your mind the warning that your job could very well be on the line if you don’t watch your step plays heavily on you. You reflect back on your time spent with your superiors who seem to spend hours quizzing you in a very gruelling manner, being made to feel like a criminal. A while afterwards you been to reflect on past situations which cause you to reflect on your behaviour, words spoken and you begin to second guess yourself. You also remember the harsh words said by your superiors which basically boil down to “Look, far as I’m concerned this did happen, why don’t you just admit it”. Yet deep down you know that what’s been alleged didn’t happen, anything else didn’t happen in the way it was said and words written in one way are twisted to appear in a different way. Other words directed at you start to weigh on you “Well I’ve got 3 other people all saying the same thing, claiming that this did happen so I’m going to have to go along with it”. You fantasise yourself saying to them that the only reason they are going along with it is so that they don’t have to believe what you’re saying so they can prolong things further. After more time passes and more accusations follow you eventually come to the realisation that your superiors, for whatever reason, just seem to have it in for you and are basically trying to force you off the cliff-edge. The more it goes on you begin to wonder if they are trying to wear you down or gear you into a position so that they can give you the boot. During your grueling meetings with your superiors you mention to your superiors if they’re actually aware of your problems which partially explain your behaviour and why it is the way it is. They look at you in an arrogant manner, almost as though they don’t really believe what you’ve just told them. They ask for proof despite it being on the records for your duration of employment.  Eventually you come to the only conclusion that it left; jump before you can be pushed. You make the decision to leave your job. During a conversation with the parents about recent events and allegations along with yet another situation in which things were taken out of context and exaggerated a decision was reached. A suggestion was made, and I can still remember the words very clearly in my head “Maybe it’s time you thought about moving on”. With those words said by one parent and backed by another I began to look back through all the memories I had of the workplace, colleagues I’d got to know, laughs I had shared, the banter which helped me get through some long and occasionally tedious times. It had all come to a sudden end. Another talk followed and this time with my siblings both of whom backed the decision claiming that was probably for the best and my superiors clearly weren’t nice people. For over ten years I had shown nothing but dedication and loyalty to the work force. In many ways this took a massive weight off my shoulders knowing that I wouldn’t have to put up with accusing eyes from the superiors, all waiting for you to make just one ill-footed move giving them all they needed to strike. A sick note was handed in declaring two weeks off and right there between those two weeks you hand-in your letter that you’re leaving. After two weeks the day had officially come; I was out on my own. I cleverly hid the tears that I had shed just a few days prior, the upset, shame, embarrassment and anger to mask away my pain.
After over ten years in the job I left into the dark world of unemployment, wondering what to do next and how I would manage.
The next two and a half months that follow feel like an eternity. After over a decade in a work-based routine then into the world of joblessness. You decide that you don’t have much option but to sign-on, a decision you thought that you would never have to make but with no income what other choice do you have. You realise that your savings, regardless of the number, won’t last forever. The fateful day comes when you go to the Job Centre and you take a few minutes to look back at where you were that time last year and look at where you are now. The words go around and round in your head “how could it have come to this?”. The saying ‘here today gone tomorrow’ couldn’t ring any truer in your mind. You are now back at the bottom of the ladder, a place you hadn’t seen since you entered the job-world and thought you would never have to see again. And now you’re back and wondering how to get back up again. You recall a light-hearted comment that you were told by a friendly face prior to being there, “once you go in, you’ll never feel clean again”.
In the days that follow you begin the process of looking for work, but this time you begin to look for other jobs that are completely different to what you’ve been doing before. You decide to use your own experiences to help others in their lives. In go the job applications, hoping that someone will take note of what you and of your achievements as well as your own experiences and take a chance on you. What you lack in terms of professional experience you know you can more than make up for it in personal experience. Eventually interviews come in, not jobs but interviews, and whilst they may not be actually offering you any work, you’re filled with hope that you’ll get it. After all, the job is the next stepping-stone after the interview. You go to endless numbers of job interviews till you get the point where you joke with your family that if you could get a job where all you have to do is do continuous interviews, you’d practically get the job hands-down. Sadly, after the first you get your first reply ‘After much consideration we have decided not to pursue your application’, this coming along with ‘Unfortunately you have been unsuccessful with your application’. It turns into what feels like a gushing stream of ‘After much consideration we have decided not to pursue your application’, ‘Unfortunately you have been unsuccessful in your application’ ‘After much consideration we have’, ‘Unfortunately you have not been’, ‘After much consideration’ ‘Unfortunately you have’. Basically, it’s no after no, after no, after no. All those no’s and afterwards you begin to question your employability, how employable you really are, or if you’re even worth employing, or if you really are destined to live on the bottom line. You contemplate whether you might be better just going back to work for your previous employer whom you left before, you shudder at the thought but it slowly dawns on you that you might not have much choice. Thoughts go through your mind that even if you went to another branch the reasons why you left the previous one would be brought up, something you just don’t want to even think about. Another thought that also dawns on you is to return to the same working environment, but to an establishment that rivals the one you used to work in. It’s probably not what you where wanting but it dawns on you that you might have to and you remember the infamous saying “beggars can’t be choosers”. One day, and after seemingly endless days of job-hunts, interviews and rejections you get the offer of two job interviews, both on the same day. You attend them both and you come out with a positive feeling from the two but remembering that your luck could still go either way with either of the two. Your bad luck is confirmed when you get the reply from one saying that despite your good efforts the answer’s no. The blow is made even more depressing is that it came the same day of the interview, just hours after you have it. Days pass and you don’t hear anything from the other one and you begin to wonder if you’re actually going to hear back from them at all. Eventually that day comes, however, there is a twist of fate. You are informed that you weren’t successful in getting the job you originally aimed for but you are offered another one, either way you take it and without a second thought. After all, it’s a job and there are possibilities of progression. You realise this means you don’t have to remain sign-on anymore. Eventually you start the new job, it’s been a long struggle but either way you’re there, you embrace your new job and the possibilities that could follow. In the days that follow you begin to pursue other interests outside of your new job whilst forever grateful that someone took a chance on you and now it’s your time to demonstrate they were right.

So here I am and this is the story of how my life changed in only 14 months, and I couldn’t be any happier.

 

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