Having worked for the same advertising company for sixteen years and risen to management, redundancy came as a surprise for Tom. Unfortunately, since the huge increase of people accessing news and magazines online, his industry was impacted massively and cuts in personnel became inevitable. 

Initially, Tom was relaxed. He saw the free time as a treat, assuming finding a new position would be straight forward. It soon became apparent that the reality was quite different.

“I’d always worked. From a young age I’ve always had a job. Not working was alien to me. Over time I became embarrassed by my circumstance around friends and former colleagues. They were very understanding and encouraging but I found myself avoiding social events. I became isolated”

Tom spent day after day searching for jobs and submitting applications for positions, only to be rejected time after time. It was no surprise that this took its toll on Tom. 

Discipline went out of the window along with my motivation. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. I was in quite a rut with no idea how to get myself out. I think people underestimate the impact unemployment has mentally. I know I did”

Whilst attending his bi-monthly appointment at Kingston Job Centre, Tom met Jacob from School of Hard Knocks and immediately signed up for a rugby course in Richmond.

“I’d never played rugby but was excited to give it a try. I must be honest, I wasn’t very fit, but I threw myself into each session on the pitch and really enjoyed it”

Being unemployed means spending a lot of time in one’s own company. It can be a lonely time for people used to being in a work environment. The lack of structure, human contact and purpose can be very hard. Tom felt this.

“I looked forward to getting up and out in the morning. Having something positive to look forward to. I enjoyed the rugby immensely and felt respected and part of a team again. The banter was lively at times and I realised how much I’d missed being around people”.

The afternoon workshops helped Tom rediscover his confidence. Having been responsible for employing and managing staff, he had become accustomed to the other side of the interview table.

“I found the workshops really insightful. Having my CV checked and the opportunity to practice interviews was very useful”

Tom is now in full time employment with the Probation Service and tells us how good it feels to be back working.

“It’s good to be back at work, to have that purpose and to get off benefits. I’m restoring my self-worth. Being unemployed, you can really lose your sense of self”.


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