“When this pandemic started what seems like a year ago now, I was furloughed by my employer who I’d worked for since I left school. Four months down the line in late July, he decided to close his business and I was made redundant. At age 39, with a young family to support, I felt angry, rejected and washed out.
“At first, despite the glorious weather, I just sat around too stunned to do anything. Gradually, as time’s gone on, I’ve started to do more – gardening, walking, jobs around the house, and I’ve even started learning Spanish.
The lockdown has meant I’ve also spent far more time with my family, something that simply didn’t happen when I was working.
“All this has made me realise that, far from being important, I hated my job and am glad to be out of it. I’ve not bothered to look for anything else whilst the world’s in this mess, but I have to face the fact that my redundancy money will run out in another few months. I suppose that means I am going to have to find another job, and all this will seem like a dream.
“It seems awful to say I’ve enjoyed this pandemic, but I really have, and I wish there was some way in which I could continue this life. Will I really have to go back to another tedious, unrewarding job?”
“Losing your job is hard, but so many people have done as a result of the pandemic, and I fear many more will. Times ahead aren’t going to be easy – but it’s an opportunity to reassess your life and rethink your priorities.
“Have you and your family sat down and thought about what is really important to you all? Maybe they’ve enjoyed seeing more of you, as well as seeing a less pressured side to you too. You don’t say what your previous job was, but I get the impression it was reasonably well paid. Could you adjust your lifestyle to manage on less?
“Or, could you retrain in some way – something people are being encourage to do with new training opportunities. You say you’ve enjoyed gardening, walking, doing jobs around the house and learning Spanish. Why not start there? Could you offer your services as a gardener; a dog walker; a handyperson? Going forwards, almost all of us are going to need to think outside the boxes we’ve been used to in some way or other.
“Even if you go back to doing something similar to what you were doing before, new ways of working might mean you are able to work from home, perhaps at least some of the time. There are job opportunities going, even now, so you could always just have a look and see if there isn’t anything going that would fulfil you.
“Obviously, if you’re going to make dramatic changes, you will need to involve your family in the discussion. You don’t say if your partner works or not – perhaps they haven’t been but would like to, so maybe another opportunity to look at might be them becoming the main breadwinner.
“The most important thing is to talk to the people you love if you are going to make changes that affect them. Even if all these ideas are too much, consider the impact on them if you do go back to a ‘tedious, unrewarding job’. You won’t be the parent and partner they have grown used to over the past months – and that’s someone they might miss.”
If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.