My three redundancies or big life changes, which were all for the best – took me to the coast, to training, and to self-employment. Explore how change can be great if you embrace it.
- Even the worst changes can actually turn out well in the end. We could probably all come up with examples of when something happened that seemed terrible at the time, but turned out for the best. Whether it's useless husbands leaving, key staff leaving, and the discovery that they weren't really key after all. Or big customers going bust and discovering later that you weren't making any money from them anyway. Before we get started with the course, I want to tell you a little bit about the role change has played in my life.
In my long career, because I'm much older than I look, I've been made redundant three times. I know it's hard to believe, who wouldn't want to employ me? But it has happened three times and every time, it's been the best thing that's happened to me. Very briefly, the first time was in a rather depressing factory making car parts in South Wales. Nothing wrong with South Wales, by the way, the people were brilliant, it was the factory that was the problem. And if I hadn't been made redundant when they closed the whole factory down, I'd probably still be there, churning out shock absorbers at a rate of 100,000 a day for a horrible boss.
The redundancy led me, via a brief trough of despair looking for other jobs, to work for a company in Poole, which, if you don't know, is a seaside resort on the South Coast of England, a much nicer place to end up getting stuck. The company was just as bad, little did I know, but at least I was in a really nice part of the country, living five minutes from the beach. The second redundancy, I was always arguing with the boss of the Poole factory, who was a terrible man who didn't care about his workers at all.
The second redundancy led me to become a university lecturer, which was a much more suitable job for me than running a factory. I think you can tell that from these videos. If it hadn't been for that terrible boss, who's dead now, but I'd still like to thank him for being such a vile man, if if hadn't been for him, I'd probably still be running a factory somewhere. So although running a factory is a great job for some people, I'm delighted I escaped out from a job I was never really suited to.
But there was a trough of despair as I wondered how to feed my family, especially as I didn't want to move away from Poole and I didn't want to go and run yet another factory. It was only thanks to a third change that I got into running training courses. And that was the third redundancy. I got a job as a lecturer at Bournemouth University and after a slightly scary learning curve, I loved it and was good at it. All was fine and then, despite the fact that I really liked the boss and I thought he would look after me, suddenly the university closed down the department I was in and made us all redundant.
One of the things I learned from this was that even if your boss loves you, it's not enough. You can't be too dependent on any one person. So what I did was I decided to go into business for myself. We were running training courses for local businesses anyway, so it was actually quite easy to carry on doing that as a self-employed person. And it also meant I got to keep all the money, rather than just getting a teacher's salary. So within a few months, after a slightly scary trough of despair learning about how to run my own business, I was delighted to have been set free by the university.
If they hadn't made us all redundant, I'd probably still be there, working as a good lecturer, but badly paid and frustrated by the petty politics of the place. I certainly would never have ended up making videos for LinkedIn and talking to you right now. So I went from Wales to Poole, manufacturing to the university, and from employed lecturer to self-employed trainer. And each time, each time I was pushed, each time I would never have had the courage to do it myself.
Each time, I had to go through a scary learning curve or trough of despair, but each time, I came out the other side thinking, this is much better. That's how good change can be. Now, I was lucky. Or did I just make the best out of what came along? We will never know. But as a general principle, if you keep changing things you don't like until you end up somewhere that you do like and then you stick with that, it's probably going to lead to an overall improvement.
So now I'm doing something I really love, including making these videos for you, but I haven't finished with change. I'm still working on webinars and Skype training and ebooks and teaching new subjects and all sorts of things. I'm just getting better, I hope, at avoiding big changes in the wrong direction and actively choosing to make lots of small changes in the direction I want to go. So I hope that all this talking about myself has helped you, that you can see that big changes and troughs of despair can work out really well and that resistance is probably futile.
I could have wallowed in the trough of unemployment in South Wales or wallowed in the trough of not wanting to be a factory manager any more, but I didn't. It's better to think, okay, this could be good. Where shall I go with it? So what changes, that might seem quite difficult at first, would actually be good for you?
- Why we dislike change
- Planning for change
- Developing mental toughness
- Maximizing your interpersonal skills
- Setting long-term career goals
- Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone
- What to consider if you're thinking of leaving your job
- Building up your network
- How to be low maintenance employee
- Establishing goals and plans with a new boss
- How to deal with a bad boss