Procrastination

As mentioned in my February update, I can’t say that I’ve been doing my utmost with my job hunting and I guess that as well as enjoying my free time too much, I’ve been suffering badly from procrastination.

I even borrowed a book from the library to help me focus but I haven’t gotten round to reading it yet…ahem!

What have I been doing instead of job hunting?

  • Sleep – Upon my return from my hols, the last two weeks of January were spent sleeping a lot as I was initially jet-lagged and then poorly with a virus.
  • Binge watching TV – I’ve been watching stuff like ‘The Man in the High Castle’, ‘Blacklist’ and ‘Homeland’. No daytime TV – I’d not stoop that low!
  • Reading blogs/tweets – I didn’t read any blogs while I was away so caught up on my reading. I also culled my Twitter feed to a more manageable level – following too many is just distracting and tweets that I may actually want to read end up getting lost in the noise/spam.
  • Practising my ukulele – Still getting used to the simple chords but I can ‘play’ a couple of tunes now. A great way to relax, though I need to learn how to ‘sing’ AND play at the same time – note sing in inverted commas as I can’t hold a proper tune!
  • Painting and decorating – I’ve been glossing the doors in the house, but got bored after a few so still have more to do at some point.
  • Matched betting (MB) – I started to do a bit of horse racing MB during the day, to help boost my profits. I still very much prefer MB on football but thought I’d see if I could tap into the much-touted riches of the Cheltenham Festival which are taking place this week.
  • Bird watching – It’s not very often that I get to sit around and enjoy the wildlife/birds in my garden. The grey squirrels have been keeping me entertained with their antics and with winter over, a variety of birds have returned to the garden.  However, I never expected to see a hapless pigeon being caught and plucked alive by a sparrowhawk…I’d seen a mass of feathers on my lawn previously but had thought it was the work of the neighbours’ cats!
  • Hunter looks smaller than the prey and yes, those bits scattered about are feathers!

I’m glad that I haven’t resorted to playing games on my PC or tablet as I would end up losing hours/days. As a former gamer, I can’t say that the thought hasn’t crossed my mind, however. The only game I have going is Pokemon Go, which really only means that I park a little further away from the supermarket so I can do an extra bit of walking (to ‘hatch’ eggs and ‘catch’ Pokemon!).

I’ve been maintaining a routine of sorts, so still attend my gym classes and work out, plus of course, I’m now playing netball too. I’ve continued to wake up to my alarm as if I’m going to work every day and going to bed at my usual time. This way, my weekends remain different and are something to look forward to, ie drinking and having lie ins! 😉

A Little Progress

Anyway, since I started drafting this post just over a week or so ago, I ramped up my job hunting efforts and I have had two job interviews – just goes to show what a little effort can achieve, I guess.  I hope I make it through to the next stages of interviews but realistically acknowledge that nothing is guaranteed (even though I thought the interviews went quite well) and that I could well be job hunting for a while yet.

Just need to make sure that I don’t fall back into a routine of procrastination!

End of an Era

I hadn’t really given much thought to my redundancy lately – that is, until I received my P45 in amongst my Christmas cards in the post last week! Yep, it’s really happening!

My severance pay hit my bank account on Friday and I immediately shifted funds around various high interest current accounts and also put some in Premium Bonds.

As this money is ear-marked to be spent on normal living costs, it’s all staying in cash, not in investments and none of it has been added to my Future Fund – not until I get another job.

I’m also not planning to ‘treat myself’ with any of it – there’s nothing really that I want, although I will use some of it to buy some new work clothes which I will need for my next job.

I’ve been pretty good on the clothes/shoes shopping front – I bought a grand total of 3 tops and one pair of trainers – all year! So yes, I do think it’s time I bought some new decent work gear.

End of an Era

So today was my last day at work. It was kind of surreal saying goodbye to people I’ve worked with for the past 21 years – some of whom I will keep in touch with, others I’ll probably never see again.

There had been lots of tears when a large number of people had departed on Black Friday, but I’ve never been one to cry at work so I held it all in (I noticed I was shaking a little as I handed in my laptop and security pass) until as I was driving out of the work car park for the last time and I shed a few little tears.

What Now?

I’m shortly off on my extended holiday (about a month) to Hong Kong, so there won’t be any new blog posts for a while.

I’ll do a belated December update/round up and something on my goals for 2017 upon my return late in January.

So, there’s nothing else for me to say really, except:

Departing Parties and Black Friday

Next Wednesday sees the second (and largest) group of people leaving the company through redundancy – nearly 40 of them in total.

There haven’t been too many changes in the office these past few months, just some rearrangement of desks and equipment but this mass exodus will make a big difference to the atmosphere, certainly to noise levels.

All those leaving have got invitations to the Christmas party/Leaving bash – it’s predicted that it’s going to be a rather messy affair – well, messier than usual!

What about me?

I have had my final consultation meeting and my official day of leaving confirmed as 31st December 2016.

My severance package, as mentioned before, is close to a year’s salary, plus I will get paid 3 months in lieu of notice.

Also, through my ex-boss’ efforts, the package will include an annual bonus which the company was not obligated to pay as it’s not in my employment contract, so that’s an unexpected and welcome windfall.

Job Seeking

So how has my job hunting gone so far?

Err…it’s not even out of the starting blocks.

My CV is complete and ready to go, my LinkedIn profile all up to date but my head and heart are not committed to the cause.

I don’t see any point in applying for jobs and going for interviews in a half-arsed manner – when I do it, I’d like to give it 100% and right now, I just don’t have the energy or desire.

All I’m thinking about is making the most of my last days working with my friends and colleagues (funnily enough, we’ve started going to the pub every Friday lunchtime!) and then spending some quality time with my family over Christmas in Hong Kong.

Since I no longer need to rush back for work, I’ll be extending my holiday beyond the new year for a few weeks (just need to rearrange my return flight) – I think after 21 years working for the same company, I’m due a decent break!

Black Friday

Unless you’ve been living under a rock on some far off asteroid, you’ll probably be aware that it’s Black Friday today.

blackfriday

I don’t think I’ve ever really been excited about it, even when the concept was first introduced in the UK. I’ve mentioned in the past that shopping has never really been something I enjoy doing – during my ‘spendy days’, it was more something that I did out of habit and fortunately, I got out of the habit.

Anyway, contra to the norm, I did make a purchase today, one which amounted to several hundred pounds – I bought a new mobile phone handset. I had been planning to replace my current phone when my contract ended in December as (being a Blackberry) it will no longer be supported by certain apps next year, apps which I regularly use.

Yes, I could have gotten a cheaper phone but what the hell, I used matched betting winnings to buy it (took a leaf out of Jim’s book, as he bought a handset with his MB winnings) so I’m not out of pocket. I certainly wouldn’t have bought it using my own money!

I’ve also switched from contract to SIM only, pitched BT Mobile against EE to negotiate a great deal (even though they are now technically the same company) so my monthly phone costs have dropped from £15 a month to £9 a month and I get a far superior data plan to boot.

I hope to do much of my gift shopping soon but I will avoid the shops this weekend, opting instead to go on Monday during my day off as I think it’ll be a little quieter.

For those who love Black Friday, I hope you bag some bargains. For those who don’t, hope you enjoy this “normal” Friday and have a great weekend!

Final Countdown

So after being put on group consultation in June, I have finally been told that my job is being made redundant and have been given my leave date at work:

30th December 2016

Actually, my last day at work will be 21st December as I have a festive holiday booked in and wasn’t planning on returning to work until 2nd January, but 30th is officially my last day at work with New Co.

Emotions

emotions

Right now, I’m just glad that I’ve been asked to stay a little longer –  most people will be leaving at the beginning of November, including my boss. Getting over the financial hurdle that is Christmas makes me feel better.

I’m relieved that I finally know when I’m going to finish – although I’m of course sad about leaving, not knowing hasn’t been easy at all.

I’m also a little excited – after working for the same company for so long, I’m going to be doing something different – new year, new start and hopefully, new job!

Severance Package

With 21 years’ service under my belt (over two decades – gosh, that makes me feel so old!!), my package will come to just over a full year’s pay. There’s a possibility that I may even be able to sneak in part of my bonus as negotiations continue in that area but I’m not counting on it. A bonus if I get it 🙂

As I’ve never been made redundant before and have nothing to compare (except to UK statutory), I don’t think the package is a bad one. It’s not as good as the one our French colleagues are getting though but hey ho!

It’s hard not to keep thinking about what I will do with my redundancy money – I would love to just invest it all but need to remember that I will be living off it until I secure my next employment.

If I do find decent work pretty quickly, well then, I’ll have a nice sum to play around with, which might even shave a year or so off my FI plan.

Reasons to be cheerful

I could have made this into a sad and dreary post but I’d rather it be an optimistic one.

The future is bright, opportunities beckon!

Have a good weekend all!