MY WIFE and I have been married for 15 years and have two young boys, aged seven and eight. Up until Christmas, we were both working and had a great lifestyle.
I had a management job in retail and went to work one day in January to be told my store was in administration and we were all made redundant. I was shell-shocked. I had worked since I left school and had never been unemployed before.
I am now on benefits and finding it very hard to cope. My family are supportive and encouraging but this has devastated me. I am questioning myself about whether it was my fault and I feel like I am withdrawing from my family. I know I need to do something but don’t know what.
Redundancy is a terrible thing to happen to anyone but sadly has become all too common. I am really sorry that you and your family are having to go through the difficulties it can cause, but I am glad to hear that they are being supportive of your situation – you should keep this in mind at all times. I can assure you
this situation is not your fault.
As we have all seen recently, there are retail businesses failing on an almost daily basis, and none of this is the fault of any one person. I suspect that inside you do know that, but a lot of your problem right now is fear of the unknown and uncertainty about the future. For the first time, you are not in control of your own future and that can be very hard to deal with.
Please accept the help your wife and family are offering and talk to them about your fears. If you still feel the same way, though, you may need some extra help – there is counselling support available. The internet can be helpful in finding someone local that you can confide in.
I am in my early 50s and up until recently had been employed with the same company since I left school at 17. I knew the company was in difficulty but I suppose, having been there so long, I never thought it would affect me. A couple of months ago, however, I got the call to go and see the boss and left his office having been made redundant. I went home that day and spent the next week or two staring at the ceiling with no real comprehension of what was happening.
My partner has been incredibly supportive, and in the last few weeks I have begun to look to possibilities for the future. One thing I have always regretted was never having gone to university. My redundancy settlement has given me the choice now and I am seriously considering it. Am I mad to think about studying at my age?
Are you mad? Absolutely not. Why should age make any difference to someone looking to fulfil their life’s ambitions? There is a growing number of older people nopwadays who went to work straight from school and feel that they missed out as a result. Many of them are retiring or finding themselves out of work but with the means to take the risk of doing what they want rather than what they feel they need to.
I’m guessing that your partner is supportive of your desire to go on to further education, so what is holding you back? A degree may give you a new career path. Although we hear about ageism in the workplace, many employers value staff with rich life experience as well as qualifications.
• If you are affected by any of the issues in Lifelines and require further advice, contact
Relationships Scotland (www.relationships-scotland.org.uk)