I realise that it’s been two years now since I started this blog. I started it when I was made redundant after the company I worked for decided to rationalise its offices and close the one I worked in. So as good a time as any to look back on two years of unemployment / enforced semi-retirement.
At the time it came like a release. I had worked for the company for 25 years and for much of that time dreamt of getting out of it and doing something different, something with a purpose. When the opportunity came along, I took it willingly. My departure was eased by a redundancy package, and then about a couple of months after I left, by my company pension kicking in.
My aim initially was to try to get contract work in my old line of business and I thought it would be easy to find within a month or so of leaving. Of course, I couldn’t go back to my old employer for a couple of years, but surely there must be lots of other opportunities?
The recruitment consultants I contacted were very positive about my prospects. Gradually though as the weeks after I left turned into months they rarely contacted me and even more rarely returned my calls.
I started to expand my search out, looking at the charity sector, business admin work, anything basically. I have applied for quite a lot of jobs and been invited to about 10 interviews; so far with no success.
The fact is that I don’t feel ready to retire: my mind is too active and I still need to earn money.
How have I used my time? I have done some volunteering. I took a writing course. I have tried to improve my photography. I have written some news and feature articles for my local paper. I went through the lengthy process of applying to become a magistrate. This is something I dearly wanted to do. I enjoyed observing cases and watching the criminal justice system in action. I had a terrific second interview which was very stimulating and I felt I was on fire. But though found suitable for appointment, I got filtered out by the quota system. Well, I suppose there are only so many grey-haired, middle class men they can take if they are going to have a representative cross-section of society on the bench.
Then there’s this blog that I keep writing from time to time – and this is my hundredth post!
I have tried hard to think of businesses I could start on my own based on the things I enjoy doing as hobbies (baking, writing, photography). But, perhaps it’s just me, I can’t see how to turn them into paying businesses.
Hope and expectations rise and fall, although it always feels more comfortable when I am taking action, rather than just waiting on others to come back to me.
The search continues. I am still travelling hopefully. There is no other way.