From bust to boom


Just been made a redundancy statistic “ check out one executive’s story of work lost and hope found …

It was like being in a bad dream. There I was, running a meeting to firmly embed a clients business and the next moment, bags packed out on the street. Something about re-structure, tough times and reducing overheads. I’m a bit scant on the detail. I could see the CFOs lips moving but the sound was deafened by my internal voice going off, screaming in disbelief that I was becoming a casualty of the GFC (general financial catastrophe): Part of that ever-growing statistic … should I ring the ABS and let them know to add one more to their total? It was hideous, I was going to be common and I hate being common.

The CFOs voice came back into tune when I heard him say my email was already defunct and could I please pack up and leave now. For a person who normally has a lot to say, no words came freely in that moment. In fact breathing proved difficult.

10.45 Monday morning: Nothing to do and nowhere to go ¦what the!? I got into my car and pointed it in the direction of my home, where my flat mate was busy looking for employment having lost his job three months earlier “ maybe I caught it from him – like swine flu, will our friends have to wear masks when they come over to the home of redundants?

I got as far as the local park before I had to pull over, my body shaking uncontrollably surrounded by mothers and their babies “ a perfect environment for a now unemployed, single, childless woman “ yup all three of my triggers were covered. And just when I thought things couldnt get worse, I heard my name being called. Who the hell knew me in this crowd? And there I was face-to-face with someone I met at a meditation retreat a few weeks earlier. œYour daughter is gorgeous, oh and I lost my job 15 minutes ago.” Two statements that clearly follow each other ¦not! Needless to say the conversation was swift.

Sitting on a park bench, tears flowing freely under my dark glasses (mandatory redundancy wear), the phone rang hot as the news travelled. My grandmother was the least sympathetic, telling me to stop crying and reminding me losing my job is nothing compared to being single for the rest of my life and then without missing a beat, plugged the benefits of Melbourne and how now would be the perfect time for me to come home ¦she needs her granddaughter around.

That conversation was followed with me being offered a secretarial position in my father’s medical practice “ the benefits were endless apparently ¦parking, lunch, flexible working hours,not to mention the chance to see him everyday. How could I resist?

Hunger took me home eventually. More calls, more tears, constant shock. And then the first day was over.
Somehow things got worse the day after the day before. What to do now? I got so much advice about how I was going to feel and how important it was to express those feelings “ the sadness, the anger, the frustration (bloody new-age friends) but no one told me what the hell to do when the structure I had come to rely was gone.

But even more importantly what to wear. ¨¨As I sat on my bedroom floor in my towel after a spin/yoga combo (anger release/meditation “ both redundancy mandatories) sobbing, I thought do I stay in my dressing gown all day or should I put on a tracksuit and if so what sort of tracksuit “ the daggy ankle biters that have been washed too many times or the ˜noice velour one reserved purely for the off chance I get upgraded on a flight? And which shoes? Do I stay in slippers, graduate to thongs, runners, ugg boots, what? Make up or no make up? Wash my hair or leave it in the matted mess I woke with? The dilemmas went on and the sobbing picked up momentum.

And then through my haze of tears, I had my first entrepreneurial thought and no it wasnt cupcakes (what is it with people who are made redundant and baking cupcakes anyway – not that theres anything wrong with cupcakes exactly but how many companies can the market bear?). No, I’m thinking redundancy wear “ a range of clothing that slowly weans corporate maniacs off structured, woven, restricting clothing and gets them into mismatched, loose-fitting, pajama-like attire.
I think Im onto a winner.

Follow Naomi’s further adventures in unemployment land next week …

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Profile: Naomi Menahem is a multi-faceted communications specialist with core competencies in major account management and business development. She is currently enjoying the thrill of exploring her next career move in the middle of a global economic re-structure.


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