Dark, God bless him, came down from Manchester to ensure I wasn't alone on my last day, took me out to lunch and made sure my sense of self didn't feel too battered. He is the most wonderful friend. With his unerring sense of timing, he'd phoned me just after I'd got home on the day my boss broke the news to me and I cried all over him.
It was the end of a brutal couple of weeks. Definitely, the hardest part about leaving was saying goodbye to people. Because I'm me (and conscientious), I wrote handover notes for whomever will pick up the work afterwards, and I made sure my business boss (Our Man in the Middle East) has copies. I handed over my projects to someone I can trust to look after them properly. I couldn't just walk out the door, leaving people who depended on me in the lurch. (My line manager, on the other hand....)
Since then, I've spent the last two weeks licking my wounds and trying to figure out a way forward. I have never not worked. The plan of attack has been:-
- Update my CV, which I hadn't done since 2011. It's been drafted and redrafted, and then summarised. (The latter was the hardest part, so I enlisting the help of a friend who writes CV's for the National Careers' Service. Thanks Eva.)
- Updated LinkedIn. At some point over the last few years, they deleted the job details I'd laboriously put up in ?2012, leaving only the headline job titles.
- Signed on with the DWP/Job Centre. No, I don't need the derisory £73 per week they'll be paying me as contribution based Job Seeker's Allowance but this was a point of principle. I've paid into the system for 27 years, I'm entitled to the money. Also, I want the NI "stamps" that come with it, which will go towards my state pension. (I will probably rant about this in another post, later.)
- Contacting agencies. I have contacts at several so have been gradually dropping them all emails. Two are putting me forward for jobs as I type; a third, I shall see next week. I spent Friday morning meeting with three recruiters at the one agency, who were really positive about the job market for accountants in the Thames Valley.
- Working out how to eek out my payoff. I've got savings and a reasonable payoff coming to me a the end of the month, but my "hope for the best, plan for the worst" conscience tells me it could take considerably longer than I expect to find a new job that will pay me what I think I'm worth. I've shut down everything I can think of: the ISA savings; the share investments; the money being set aside for holidays; Audible subscription, etc. The only things I'm committed to contributing to are the joint account for the mortgage/household bills and the housekeeping. I reckon I can eek the payoff out to last a year without having to sell off any shares or raid my existing savings.
- Working out what do with the money. Beyond picking a savings account into which to shove it all for now, this is still at the daydream stage. Each month, I'll transfer back the minimum I need to pay my share of the household expenses. As to whatever is left after I get a new job, well, at the moment, I'm tempted to put it all into an FTSE100 tracker.
- Spending my profits from the Employee Share Save Scheme. Under the rules of the scheme, I had to either sell or transfer my shares from the scheme manager when I left the company. I'm currently sitting on a 44% profit so have decided to sell. As agreed with DH, this profit will be my "mad" money, to spend without inhibition on whatever I fancy. I'm thinking of spending it on a multi-fuel stove for the lounge, a new "fake Aga" for the kitchen (my beloved stove is 16 and showing its age), and getting my sewing machine serviced. Probably not what he had in mind, when he suggested I have some mad money, but hey...
- Figuring out what to do with my days. This is actually quite hard. I don't know how to be "a housewife". I have never been unemployed. I've been in continuous employment since 1992. Even when I didn't have a job before then, I did agency nursing. Without the Olympics or the European Football Championships to keep me entertained (as they did when I was stuck at home with my foot), day time television is mindblowingly boring. I've started a daily To Do List, just so that I don't become completely zombified by TV and, instead, actually achieve some things.