It’s a year since I lost my job and at 47, I wonder if I’ll ever get another. But there is hope…

'It is with great reluctance that I have to say: 'Kendrick - YOU'RE FIRED!' Now go on, off you go, back to the house, dad!'

It is exactly a year since I lost my job (read my first ever post here) and seven months since my wife and I swapped roles and I become a Reluctant Housedad. She now goes to work with her Big Hair and Bigger Shoulder Pads while I run the household and look after our three kids: my nine year-old stepdaughter and our sons, aged six and three.

I’ve continued to try to find another job that would cover the cost of childcare, plus a little extra for those added extras which make Working Life worth living – but I’ve continued to fail. I’ve been down to the last two four times, but then it transpired that three of those jobs didn’t actually exist: the employers were merely dipping their toes in the water to see who was out there and to see what ideas they had to offer. Call it free consultancy.

Last week, I heard back about the last job I went for. I’d been pitching for this position for a month: had written a presentation, survived two interview stages, then was shortlisted for the last two. My final interview was a fortnight ago – a five-strong panel vs me!

I was as nervous as hell, and it showed, but it was because I wanted the job so much. I’d grown into my role as a housedad, but after much discussion with my wife, we decided that we could create a situation where we both worked and afford excellent childcare for our kids.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I received this email yesterday…

‘Hello Keith
After a lot of deliberation,  I’m sorry to say that you weren’t our final choice this time around. You got some very good feedback from your interview, but in the end we went with someone who has more specific experience. Really sorry – I thought you did a great job and would love to have worked with you. Everyone here liked you too, and will definitely  be in touch with you if more opportunities come up. Thanks so much for your hard work and interest

I’m obviously disappointed, but I’m not bitter or twisted or malevolent or downbeat. In fact, I’m up, up, UP. And all because of one man.

My friend Ian is someone I didn’t know existed until a year ago. He drinks in my local pub and one day saw me tapping away at my computer, preparing another application for a job that I wouldn’t get. We connected over beer and sport and over the weeks and months his own story unfolded.

Like me, he was a senior executive at a big media company.

Like me, he was made redundant in the cutbacks – part of the principle of the tallest poppies get their heads cut off first.

And like me, he despaired of ever finding work again.

Unlike me –  then – he wasn’t new to this unemployment lark. He’d lost his job 18 months before I lost mine.

Unlike me, he didn’t have a Very Intelligent Beautiful and Talented Wife to fall back on.

And unlike me, he wasn’t in his Forties, but in his Fifties. Fifty nine, to be exact. Until Monday.

On Sunday, he threw a party to celebrate the beginning of his next decade. And, yes, there was much to celebrate.

For just three weeks ago, Ian received a phone call from someone who used to be his boss. This boss had a vacancy – and he wanted Ian to fill it. No interviews, no pitches, no presentations or jumping through hoops. He simply knew that Ian was the right man for the job and he wanted him to start as soon as possible.

So that’s what he did. Two (now nearly three) weeks ago, Ian – as frightened as a mouse confronted by a hungry tiger – started his new job. He bought a new suit, some new shoes and had a haircut. And then he went into work. A man in charge of a dozen new people but, also, crucially, his destiny.

His first day went like a dream. And then his second. And they’re still going like dreams now. It’s hard work and he has to ‘perform’ but he loves it. Because more than anything, he feels valued again. Someone wants to pay him a handsome salary for doing something that very few people could do.

Over the last year, we have shared many beers and many tears. He has tried to re-invent himself as everything from a small business consultant to a dog-walker, all without success.

But something he did in his previous life has made someone remember his qualities and skills – qualities and skills that have a value.

He is an inspiration and proof that life ain’t over until that Big Fat Lady With The Helmet and Horns starts to warble.






Filed under Uncategorized

14 Responses to It’s a year since I lost my job and at 47, I wonder if I’ll ever get another. But there is hope…

  1. I remember when you first mentioned that your friend got another job at 59 and that gave me hope then (49, unemployed 2 years, dumped out of PR job for younger, cheaper models ). Even better to read that the job is going well :)

    • Cuddles

      I applied for a job 3 weeks ago – I’m a female aged 47, and have been out of work for 8 years, due to a car accident which was not my fault. I’m fully qualified in Childcare, and have all experience dating back to 1990. The advert for the post said that Training, Qualifications and Experience were Required. I was not given the post, and could not believe it when I heard that it was given to a 19 year old, who has incomplete training, no qualifications, and no experience whatsoever! Why Bother???

      • keithkendrick

        That’s how I’ve felt. I suspect employers believe that 19 year-olds are more mouldable and people of our age are set in their ways – even though that’s not true. I also suspect the teenager would be considerably cheaper.

  2. This is a pretty inspiring piece. The last few years have been tough, re-inventing and versatility seem to be the name of the game. Hoop jumping is soul destrying isn’t it? Hopefully the life lessons we learn going through the rough patches will make us that’s much stronger, that much more valued when the opportunity does come knocking. happy redundo-anniversary!

  3. chris curwood

    i totally sympathize with you.being out of work is no joke,i fell out of work in march,and found myself looking at jobs that i would,nt consider.not because i,m choosey but i have certain skills. and to be fair long gone are the days of walking out of one job into another,apart from the “advisors”at the local jobcentre,who in my humble opinion are nothing short of patronizing little so and so’s we are battleing the following when searching for a job, firstly there are to few jobs for the many that are looking,secondly do these jobs actually exsist at all,as a company has a legal obligation to advertise vacancies(and i know from experience that these same said jobs are taken well before they are advertised).also i recently attended an “open evening” to recruit 56 warehouse operatives for a local firm.there was well over 90 people turn up for the positions so we,re competing with each other.also some of the people going for these vacancies have’nt got a clue what time of day it annoying factor was whilst we were threre at the open day an employee of the company strolled into the room and announced(a little to loud for my liking) that she worked there and that her daughter and son want a job there.well here’s one for you love try getting them to do the donkey work like the rest of us had to.i also thopught that it was a bit brash of her to flounce in the way she did but credit to the woman who was deaing with us she told the woman that her rlatives have to go through the same channels as us (round of appause for her).anyway two days ago i got a phone call telling me that i had been successful and i start next week so never give up,yes it’s hard but perseverance does pay off

    • keithkendrick

      Thanks Chris, and congratulations. Best of luck with the new job. I bet you’re a bit nervous!

  4. Just goes to show you never know what’s round the corner (even if it takes a while to get to the corner). Happy Boot Day, mate.

  5. Bruce

    A remarkable tale, and good to hear that you are still in fact seeking work, and not resigned to permanent house husbandry. There’s nothing wrong with house husbandry, if that’s what you really prefer, but that’s not the case for most males.

    Good for “Ian” it must be a leap, but my greatest admiration goes to his “former boss” who had the balls, decency and humanity to hire someone who 99.9% of recruiters or HR’s would have written off. We need more people like Former Boss. And the UK needs people like Ian. And Keith. :-)

  6. I just read this and wanted to comment immediately – its clear from their comments that this was a really tough call and you obviously made a superb impression.

    Its interesting hearing about your mate who ended up back in work, and that its going really well for him too – we run this gauntlet every now and then in this house too, I used to be a reasonably high earner and now that money is tighter than a ducks arse Im forever tormented by how much ‘better’ financially we could be if I just shut up and went back to work. I think I will always feel this way but ironically for me when I did swallow it and land the prize job last year – I lasted 5 weeks before throwing it in – maybe I’ve lost my nerve or maybe its just not who I am anymore.

    Anyways sorry about that, well done mate Im so pleased youre getting some serious bites on the hook, the next one is yours… for sure x

    • keithkendrick

      Hey. Thanks Alyson, as always. Five weeks? I’d love to hear more about that experience. Have you blogged about it?

    • Bruce

      Yes I’d like to hear more about that five weeks experience too…

  7. Pingback: The Eternal Quest for the Perfect Job – Part One |