career

'I was made redundant from a major TV show. It was the best thing that's ever happened to me.'

I’ll never forget the sound the paper made as it slide across the table. It made my blood curl.

I saw the words, “It is proposed that your position be made redundant”, and my heart sunk into my stomach and beyond.

I was being made redundant.

Surely, there was some mistake?! This was a job that I had poured my heart and soul into for more than six years.

A job that demanded 24-hour availability, travel with no notice and came with the severe scrutiny of working in Australia’s television industry.

It was gruelling. And when I say gruelling, I mean it.

A 3:30am wake-up was a ‘sleep in’, and considered a luxury. When you stepped foot into the office, it was on like Donkey Kong. You couldn’t afford to make mistakes, because a mistake means front page of the Sydney Morning Herald or news.com.au.

No amount of caffeine could keep you powering along. Eating lunch was a treat.

Combine the lack of sleep with too much caffeine and what you get wreaks havoc on your psyche. Normally composed, level-headed and focused, I became overly emotional and totally irrational.

I would cry over the silliest things and everyone began to notice.

being made redundant
"I had poured my heart and soul into this gruelling job for over six years." (Image: iStock)

The bottom line: a career in television sucks the life out of you. The hours are horrible, the demands are relentless and you look and feel like a steaming pile of rubbish.

During this meeting, I kept it together. I didn’t crack. But as soon as I left the office, I sat in a park and cried like a baby. I was totally and utterly heartbroken.

My redundancy came down to politics and I told everyone I was OK with it. “I was looking for a new job anyway,” I said anxiously, “I mean this kind of cash doesn’t come around often, right, right?”

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But the truth is I wasn’t OK. Not even close.

Panic quickly ensued. I had built my life around this job. Everything I did in my life revolved around my job and my desire to climb the corporate ladder. I didn’t know life beyond it.

Sad, isn't it?

I spoke with my mentor. A brilliant businesswoman who had been through the same horrible experience that is redundancy. She was quick to tell me, “Redundancy is like a break up, there will be ups and downs. But you just need to remind yourself that everything will be OK”.

And boy, was she right.

I went from being needed to barely being needed at all. I went from an impossible, utterly crazy workload to being able to hit the gym twice a day, cook, clean - hell, I even got to watch back-to-back episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful #winning.

I somehow got it together and picked up a few freelance gigs.

anxietyhelper
"I went from being needed to barely being needed at all." (Image: iStock)

Then, I did what I any emotional, borderline unstable person would do and packed up my bags, bound for a three-month European extravaganza. I was going to use this time to consume as many alcoholic beverages as possible and figure out my next move.

Simply put, I was lost. And I was travelling to the other side of the world to find myself.

My first lightbulb moment came during an eight-hour hike through the stunning Cinque Terre. For those who haven't been, Cinque Terre means Five Lands and consists of five small coastal villages on Italy’s Ligurian coast. This place is absolutely breathtaking. So breathtaking that I pinched myself several times to make sure I wasn't dreaming.

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I was two hours from completing the back-breaking (worth it, so worth it) hike and I needed the bathroom. Nestled away on a cliff’s edge was a little bar with a view; it’s beauty I’ll never be able to describe. There was a cute little Italian man and we got to chatting.

"My first light bulb moment came during an eight hour hike through the stunning Cinque Terre." (Image: iStock)

Two bottles of vino later and I had gone what I dubbed ‘Bridget Jones’ on him, telling him about my tumultuous start to 2016. I’ll never forget his laugh as he shook his head in disbelief.

“You live to work not work to live,” he said “There is too much beauty that you miss.”

He was right. I had missed so much. I had missed time with my beautiful and caring parents, my friends and my gorgeous nephews. I spent my Friday and Saturday nights in bed, exhausted from the tortuous early morning starts... and, for what?

So, this is what redundancy made me realise.

You can call it cliche, but hear me out.

  • Everything happens for a reason: When one door closes, another one opens (I promise).
  • Stop and smell roses: You have to live your life with a deeper appreciation of the world around you.
  • “It’s not what we have but who we have in our lives that counts”: Cherish that time with your family and friends... you won’t regret it and I promise you’ll become a better person for it.

A couple of nights ago, I was sitting outside with my sister-in-law enjoying a glass of wine.

I’ve been spending a lot more time with her and my two beautiful nephews. She brought up the fact that my little nephew - who was born deaf and is consequently suffering a cognitive delay - finally learnt how to say my name.

“Your nephew asks where you are every morning,” she quipped. “He adores you.”

How a 3:30am 'sleep in' could compete with that, I'll never know.

Have you had a positive redundancy experience? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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