Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Four weeks into my notice and time was running out. The beginning of last week and I had begun to panic that I had yet to find employment.
My positivity was waning and with no prospects on the horizon I started to accept that the newspapers were right and I was destined to spend my mid-20s on the dole.

I guess it was easier to be positive when I still had four weeks at my desk working away but perhaps it wasn't positivity I had been channelling all this time but rather, denial. Mid-week a friend rang to say that his 'second job' needed someone and he had recommended me.

As a waitress.

Back to my roots.

I accepted happily, after all a job is a job and even better is one I can do easily and enjoyably. Trying not to be bitter that I had spent four years in college to end up back where I started, I counted myself lucky that through his connections I was chosen above the 300 CVs for making coffees and polishing cutlery. Miraculously once I accepted my fate and told myself how lucky I was to have actually landed a job that would pay my rent and keep me in my love nest, then all of a sudden the interviews started coming in.

By the end of last week I had somehow found myself with several interviews, all within this volatile media industry I had studied to become a part of. And not just me -my fellow-redundant office buddies had also found themselves with similar, and in some cases, the same interviews!

After interview number one I was hurrying through town in the rain one dreary afternoon when a head popped out from a racy car. It was unemployed youngest brother and his three friends, offering me a lift as he knew I was heading home to the north county. This journey was insightful to say the least. Four former students each of them was now on the dole and embracing their new found status.

'What are ya worrying for', one of them quipped. 'Just wait til the recession is over and move home in the meantime' was the advice offered to me as we sped along the roads, the lads discussing who's house they were having cans in that night. Perhaps they had the right attitude I pondered, worrying doesn't change anything. The lads wanted to talk about a session rather then the recession and warned me if I kept up my whinging I would find myself on the 33. They didn't want to listen to recession rambling..'Yeah she never stops', piped in my brother, 'she's even doin' a column on it'.

But I wasn't ready to give in just yet. For everyone I hear about who has lost a job recently I am now hearing stories of others who have found one.

One of my nearest and dearest has finally found work after several months of frantically searching. Another recently made redundant has now found herself with a job in a similar field and although earning less, she is happy to have been given 'another chance' in Ireland as she puts it. Of course all of this is little consolation to those who are still searching. Despite interview opportunities I have yet to be offered a 'career' job and until then am extremely thankful with my restaurant position. Plenty of customers to have a recession rant with.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

As some of you may know I have been 'let go' from my job in lifestyle pr but fortunately have had a few interviews and the future is looking positive! In the meantime being 'in between' jobs is leaving me with plenty of time to mooch around the shops and dream of the spring outfits I will soon buy when I have money again..this dress from Warehouse caught my eye in particular in Dundrum today..I'm picturing it with black tights, 90 denier ! I can't remember a time before black tights they are definitely the most over worn thing in my wardrobe right now..

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Check out this skirt I bought the other day from A-Wear..at a recession friendly €30 I must say I am delighted with this little gem! Not only does it brighten up my day but I'm thinking it will be perfect with black tights now or with tanned legs and gold flipflops in the summer..multi seasonal! Such a bargain!

Monday, February 16, 2009

--------So here I am, three weeks into my 'recessionary experience' but, rather than settle into a black hole of depression, I am still embracing it so far.. .With just a matter of days left in the office I am quite looking forward to lazy lie-ins and daytime television marathons..I have just enough in my bank account to keep me afloat for one month and then it's panic season, but I won't worry about it just yet.I suppose if I am to sum up the experience so far with one word, it would be 'ironic'. I seem to have been resisting my unemployed status to date and am rather indulging in some unfamiliar but enjoyable experiences. Late last Friday afternoon I decided that I needed a retail fix to lift my spirits but knowing I could barely justify a new pair of pyjamas in Penney's I headed to Brown Thomas instead.I had been lucky enough to receive a generous voucher for BTs as a gift, the last thing I received in an envelope before my month's notice. Not one to usually afford anything in Brown Thomas, apart from the odd lip gloss, I was more than happy as I skipped merrily down Grafton Street a short time later. My three crisp black and cream paper bags with their iconic logo emblazoned across the front screamed 'I have money ' and I wondered if passersby might even realise that I was taking my purchases home to an evening of beans on toast and jobs.ie. Even more ironic was my purchase – an overpriced black dress that would have to wait in my wardrobe a long time before I could afford to take it out on the town. Afterwards, I paid my first visit to Fallon and Byrne, ironic that in all the times I had worked I had never been to the popular food emporium. I accompanied a friend of mine who's on the 'safe side' of life for the moment - the world is divided, those who have jobs and those who don't...I'll admit I have been kind of avoiding any fellow unemployed friends this week. Negativity breeds negativity and I needed a break from the gloomy conversations that I am in the bad habit of starting. As we mingled with the yummy mummies I forgot about my current climate and instead crunched the last of my week's credit on a packet of rice cakes while helping Ceri fill her basket.I did of course feel guilty about wasting money on rice cakes I knew I would never eat, all good intentions aside. And so the following day I accepted an invitation from Dad to go visit him in his manpad in Belfast and test out the bargains north of the border. With the recession biting hard at my heels I thought that free accommodation in a different city was probably the closest I would get to a mini-break for a while. I kept meaning to visit him up there more often but had always been too busy.I made the most of my overnight trip, stocking up on tinned goods at Sainsbury's and toiletries at Boots. More than enough to keep my presses full for the depressing weeks ahead...the bargains really were unbelievable and I wondered why I hadn't taken my business up north much sooner.Dad cancelled all arrangements to come shopping with me, a nice surprise I hadn't bargained on. All in all a good week, not quite living the impending nightmare just yet.. next week will be the real deal as I go to 'sign on'. Having worked continuously since I was 17 this would be an interesting date ahead of me. Of course the real irony of the moment is that if it wasn't for the recession and my becoming a victim of it, then I wouldn't have been given a chance to write this column. Which, ironically, could be the best thing that's ever happened to me.. ..

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Recession In The City
By Niamh Hopkins

There are many 'positives' to this recession. I have always been an optimist but my mantra of late has definitely been 'everything happens for a reason' and the old favourite 'what's meant for you won't pass you'.

Only one week into my notice and I am ignoring the bleak media reports: instead I am daydreaming of my next job and 'keeping positive' for the future. It's the only thing you can do …

Over a cup of tea with the girls in my place last night their update wasn’t so positive. One of them has had her hours cut to two days a week and the other has failed to find any sort of work since returning before Christmas from the wonderland of Oz.

Still we tried to ignore the impending doom and talk about anything BUT the recession, reassuring each other that our ‘amazingness’ will jump out of our CVs and soon land us a job.

Any job.

Oh for the days when worrying about where to go on a Saturday night was the biggest thing on our minds.In the meantime, I tell them that one of the positives of this recession is that it will bring people closer together. Sure here we were, all of us together on a week night, something almost impossible to organise with our busy careers just six months ago.

‘Working late’ and ‘wrecked from work’ were regular texts flashing up at us from the insides of our expensive handbags when someone couldn’t make a night out.

Now, with no money to spend, we will see a return to family time, staying-in, dinner parties at home and calling over to your friends for cups of Nescafe and a custard cream instead of meeting in Starbucks for a Mocha Chocca Latte and a five euro muffin.

Stress-relieving, post-work drinks will be suspended for the moment. Instead, I can’t think of a better time to develop a serious tea-drinking habit while weekends might see me raiding what’s left of the drinks cabinet at home.

Apart from this the recession is a time to get back to basics and discover what other talents we might have. Is there something else we might be good at? Can we upskill and try something different? These are all things that many twentysomethings like me will be pondering over in the coming weeks and months.

All age groups are victimised by this recession but I can only comment on my peers. Day in and day out I am hearing more tragic stories of the Celtic Cubs who never thought our good fortune would end.

Unlike our elders, many of us have never thought to save for a rainy day. Heck, every day was rainy so you might as well spend your hard-earned cash on partying and clothes, or keep it for travelling to somewhere less rainy (hands up those still paying off loans from over spending in Australia).

Yes my circle are lucky in many ways. We have no kids yet and are not lumbered with a hefty mortgage. We have a couple of years experience on those who have yet to graduate amidst the dismal conditions of next summer, yet we still have time to go back to college again and may even qualify for a mature grant to do so.

We are old enough to go away on our own yet young enough to live back at home for another few years. We are in the middle, afraid to stay in Ireland in case it gets worse but afraid to go away in case we never return.

Going away’ seems to be the most popular suggestion being bandied about at the moment but with no money to go and the possibility of no job when I get ‘there’, it doesn’t seem to be my most appealing option.

So for now I am keeping positive, spending hours online searching for any slight hope of work, bombarding companies with my CV, praying they are exempt from the recruitment freeze and are currently looking for me to join their team. I refuse to fall into depression just yet and wait, hopeful that good times are around the corner once more. Keep positive, keep busy and keep hoping is my plan for now.

Sure it’s not all doom and gloom out there. A friend I was supposed to meet tonight has just cancelled on me – he has two jobs and is feeling a bit tired I suspect. While the rest of us climb the walls, he is climbing the career ladder. This kind of news gives me hope, for at the very least it’s nice to have someone who can treat to me to a five euro muffin if we ever get the chance to meet up!