In January’s Link Emma Kimber wrote about being unemployed 18 months after graduating. Here Angela Atkinson describes plotting a new direction in middle age – a prospect that many people will be experiencing.
Back in March 2010, I was told I was surplus to requirements and left my employment of 16 years looking forward to the future. But it had taken me some months to be in that position of optimism.
The whole process began in October of the previous year when ‘re-structuring’ was announced. From that point, until my employment was finally terminated, I was on ‘garden-leave.’ For me that meant never knowing from one week to the next if I was going to have a job or not, if I was going to be called in to the office to do any bits of work found for me.
My employers sent me to a career consultant. He said, “no matter what the reasons for the redundancy, you will feel as if you have been kicked in the stomach. You will feel simply dreadful. And you are entitled to feel that way because it is dreadful.” And he was right, it was.
I was 53 at the time and the only thought I had was: “What on earth am I going to do? It’s so tough out there now.”
Although I’m luckier than many in that I have no mortgage to worry about I was still quite terrified about my future.
It was my daughter who helped me to find a way through it. “Think about it Mum,” she said. “For ages now you have dreamed of doing an English degree. Well now you can and then you can go into teaching English in some way. You are really good at English and you’d love that.”
Fuelled with excitement I formed a plan of getting to university in September 2010 then doing adult teaching qualifications post-grad. University applications submitted I signed up for a creative writing class to get me writing and using English again. But then a stumbling block; I was a late applicant and the courses were full.
“Okay,” I thought, “let’s try it the opposite way.” So I got enrolled on a PTLLS course: Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector and began volunteering with an adult literacy class. As soon as I could I re-applied for university, this time successfully.
In the meantime I have done another creative writing course, am continuing with the volunteering and am now doing CTLLS, the next qualification level for teaching adults.
• Angela is offering courses in using a PC and Microsoft software, tailored to the customer’s needs, at very low rates. Evenings and daytime sessions to suit. Contact her: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 07732 681881.