When Redundancy Strikes

by Jan Evans 9 months ago in humor

From Kondo to Conga

Eight months ago I was made redundant—it was day 18,919 of my life and I was now redundant. Well, I didn't become redundant, but my job did. During this time, it's been a struggle to find work and I’ve only worked a total of about 13 weeks before recently landing a short-term contract.

So how have I coped with this massive life change? My first thought was that this is a great opportunity—an opportunity to change industries or careers, and I walked out with great skills, experience, and enough money to keep me afloat till I found another job... which the toe cutters assured would be quick, given how great a catch I was. The reality is that I had more success finding my life partner on Tinder than I’ve had finding work since that fateful day.

Things certainly didn't go to plan, as I soon discovered that jobs were paying much less than what I was earning—goodbye big chunk of redundancy to cover the shortfall! And that jobs were hard to get, and as weeks went by without work, I wondered what on Earth I would do to survive. Work was the one constant in my life that I could rely on when other stuff may have been going on, but this ship had now sailed and I was adrift without that anchor.

I had been sharing my journey on Instagram, leading up to and after the round of impending redundancies, and people were in awe of my resilience, vulnerability, authenticity, and my ability to find bright moments in even the hardest of days. This paved the way for me to consider how I could use this spare time and my natural storytelling to do something more purposeful with my life.

With the help of a life coach who offered me some sessions, I began to explore how I could begin to share stories in a wider forum. So I started making some short videos about redundancy that I have shared on LinkedIn. I continued to share my journey on Instagram, which saw people telling me how funny and positive I was as I took everyone on a journey full of tears, laughter, heartache, and hope. I became an inspiration for those who didn't know how to cope with some life challenges and gave a real-time sharing of the power of resilience. If there was a Nobel Prize for having resilience, I would be a hands down top contender, as I have faced so many challenges through my life and fought through them with a smile on my face and the ability to keep going.

So far, my purpose and passions have not turned into a way to help pay my rent—or anything else you need to pay when you are an independent woman—and as time went on, I laughed and joked about going home to live with my mother. As each rejection came and each dollar drained out of my bank account, that joke has now become my reality and at 52, I am packing up my life, leaving the city I love to begin again in my mother’s spare room. I live smack bang in the centre of Melbourne and I am a fast-paced city girl who is now mentally adapting to life in a much smaller town, where I can’t just walk out the door and hop on a tram or stroll to the gallery, and the thought of not hearing city life singing me to sleep each night makes me feel sad already.

The decision to move was forced on me. I had $3,000 in the bank—enough to pay a month’s rent and not much more. I contacted my bank and put my loan payment on hold, gave notice on my place, and hoped for a miracle as I worked out how to take another hard step on this journey.

I'd still been applying for jobs and my desperation saw me writing a "looking for work" sign, taking a photo of myself holding it and posting it all over my social media to try and find work. Did I feel like a failure? No way! I was determined to leave no stone unturned to find work, even if people thought I was crazy. But still no work came from that.

I got a call out of the blue about a short-term role and I took it, even though it wasn't great financially, but anything is better than nothing, so I gave thanks to the work gods and began planning my move. The wheels had been set in motion, and now, with just $200 in the bank, I didn’t panic, I just accepted “what is” and decided that I had to be realistic about my situation, what I could and couldn’t take with me as I returned to the external womb that is my mother’s home.

I don’t feel worried about finding work once I am there, but it costs money to move and the more stuff you have, the more it costs. I began to put items up for sale on my Facebook and had impromptu garage sales as I began sorting stuff out before starting my contract. I earned a few hundred dollars and ended up offering much loved possessions as a pay by donation scenario. What I discovered is that “stuff” doesn’t seem to have any value anymore—expect by me, who was watching it go to new homes for a gold coin donation, and ultimately being packed into boxes and sent to the secondhand store. This was devastating; the tears and pain were real, as I saw the first wave of my belongings leave my life so I could lighten the load. I had been keeping many beautiful things for “one day.” That day was now here, and it wasn’t the “one day” I had envisioned it to be. It was hard to say goodbye.

As the second wave of downsizing takes place, I continue to do what I do best, and that is to find light in every moment, no matter how terrible it might seem.

People said a while back I should “Kondo” my things, but this is beyond Kondo, this is hardcore survival due to enforced change and I have to accept it, embrace it, and open the door to a new beginning—even if it isn’t what I’d hoped for. This move isn’t a bucket list moment, this is a “fuck it” list moment… fuck it, I am going home to live with my mother and I can't take a lot of things with me. On the day I made this video, I was surrounded by things to sort through, so I decided to dance and bid farewell to the next lot of items that I have to part with in the only way I know how… by just being me… beautiful, natural, joyous, sparkling me.

Jan Evans
Jan Evans
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