What We Leave Behind
Posted by dirkgently1066
14th Jan 2014

It was, ironically, going back to work that made me feel the most depressed about my redundancy.

It has taken some time but I have finally started to unravel my feelings. When I accepted redundancy, I was delighted. I was coming to the end of my time at The Priory and felt good about myself for the first time in years. My head was clear, I was happy and I had every belief that great things waited for me.

But as time went on, I started to become more anxious. Although I consciously took some time before starting the job search, I worried that I wasn't moving quickly enough, that I should be doing something. But I still believed, still held on to the dream of a bright future.

Then the panic started to set in. What was I going to do? I started looking at jobs and none of them seemed right. I applied for a couple here and there and never heard anything. I grew frustrated. The novelty of being at hime had long since worn off, I was desperate to get back to work. Before I knew it, my old insecurities were taking over again.

I spotted it and corrected my attitude. For a time. But it didn't last. I started to listen to that negative voice in my head, the one that told me I was no good, that I was stupid, that I would fail.

Out of desperation, I decided to pursue some temp work. I thought it would be a breath of fresh air, something to keep my mind occupied and get me out of the house. Something to bring my confidence back.

The first job I was offered was a cleaning job.

To that point, I don't recall ever feeling so low. I turned it down but that just made me feel worse. Had it really come to this? Was I at the point that all I could secure was cleaning work?

Another offer was made. Admin work they said, so I took it at late notice. I was at the building before I received an e-mail with the salary. Minimum wage.

When I got home that night, I did something I haven't done in over ten years. I cried.

Then the next night, I cried again.

Why has it upset me so much? It's just work. It's just something to tide me over, get me back into the work environment. Isn't it?

To me it is more. It represents how far I have fallen. I was a manager. I had the respect of my peers. I was a financial services processional. Now, I am being shown how to use the franking machine by a career non-achiever. I am ashamed of myself. I am embarrassed.

But it is more than that. This is the first time I have worked in six months. It is the first job I have had since being made redundant. It is only now that I have moved on that I realise the sense of loss.

I need to grieve.

That may sound strange. After all, this isn't a death, it is a job, and one I always moaned about at that. But it was my life. it was my identity. It gave me status and validation. it gave me a place to belong. It gave me structure and purpose.

Now I am lost.

And I feel angry. This was never supposed to happen. I was supposed to go to therapy, get better, then go back to work, carving out a new role for myself with my new found confidence. But I wasn't wanted. I was surplus to requirements. A spare part. Obsolete.

It is only since starting work again that I have come to realise how much I defined myself by my job. Only now that it has been taken away do I realise how much I needed it.

I wish I had never entered therapy. All the positive words, all the good intentions, all the dreams are ultimately meaningless. I am more depressed now than I ever was before entering the Priory. I want to go back in time. I want my old job back

Does writing about it help? I don't know. I don't really know why I do it. Catharsis? Emotional outlet? Attention seeking? Probably all of the above.

Of course I know this will pass. Eventually, I will find a full time job and I will start to claw back some of my self respect and self confidence. I will revisit my therapy notes and be thankful for the opportunity The Priory gave me. I will wonder how I ever could have wished to go back to a job that made me so miserable.

But right now, I cannot get past the bitterness and the regret. I need help and I don't know where to get it from. Other people simply do not understand.

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