In 2006 I was working as an administrator in the higher education sector. I had been offered the job through a recruitment agency. The day I walked into the office, I knew it was going to be a positive work environment by the way everyone greeted me with happiness and smiles. It was a small team of people working in different departments and it wasn’t long before I had settled in feeling I was a valuable member.
I worked in this role for a number of months, enjoying the varied role in event management around the South West region of the UK. The role grew my self-confidence and it was the first time in any organisation I had worked where I had recognition from the senior managers.
The months went past and it was announced one day at work that our office was closing due to a restructure. My heart sank. I hadn’t seen this coming. This was my first experience of being told I was no longer needed in the office. It felt as though my world had caved in. I felt so uncertain about my future in what I was going to do after the closure. My head was spinning and I was emotional.
My manager was very caring and together we talked about how I was feeling. She sent me on a workshop with my work colleague which had been organised by the company to help those who were going to be made redundant. The workshop was spread over 5 days and took us through some self-development ideas in upskilling and resume building exercises.
The workshop gave me some confidence in being offered my next job role using the insights I had gained. However it was over 6 months after the office closure before I was offered a PA role for a CEO in our local town.
More Uncertain Times
I had a fairly relaxed role as a PA and liked the fact I had my own office. Although I felt a little isolated away from the main part of the office, I enjoyed the time I was there.
It happened again. Another office closure announcement. This was happening within 2 years of the previous office closure I had experienced.
This time it was around 7 months I was out of work.
As before, I began the job searching process again looking for administrator and PA roles. I lacked confidence and doubted I would ever find another job.
This was the time when I thought I needed to do something different.
I couldn’t wait around feeling gradually worse about myself. I had to do something positive and feel I was taking a step in coming out of this situation.
A Change In Mindset
I took some time out to think about other careers and other jobs I could do with some of the skills I already had. I researched the types of jobs which were being advertised and then picked out the skills I would need for a reporting analyst type of role. Lots of IT jobs were being advertised and so I analysed the skills and competencies from the job descriptions. I had some of the skills so I decided I wanted to upskill. I already had some IT qualifications and I so I decided to learn some SQL during the time I was out of work. SQL was mentioned in the job descriptions for these types of roles and this was one area I wanted to become confident in if I was to change my career.
I bought a book on SQL and completed the exercises in between reading the pages. I practiced writing out the SQL language to fully grasp it. I then decided to apply for a senior reporting analyst job in the retail sector. I had a feeling I needed to apply for the job even though I doubted myself.
A few days later I received an email regarding my job application. As I opened the message I thought to myself it was yet another unsuccessful application along with the other 50+ jobs I had applied for during the time I was out of work.
It turned out I had two interviews and then I was offered the job. I couldn’t believe it. I was out of work for 7 months and now I was going into a job as a senior reporting analyst leading a team! Woohoo!
I stayed in this role for over 2 years and gained so many skills from a job I thought was way out of my reach. It had taken a change of mindset to kickstart me into realising I could decide how I responded to the office closure. I had decided to take charge of my future and in this process, be confident in changing my career path.
Developing my resilience has enabled me to step back up, accept what has happened and move on. The office closures were situations out of my control. However I learnt I can control how I respond mentally and emotionally to these situations which helps me in preparing for similar uncertainty in the future. This was a process of reinvention though upskilling and changing my career path with confidence.