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Saturday, 27 July 2019

It’s moving time.

After many years, thousands of words, some of which might even have made sense at one time...I’m moving from Blogger.

It’s time to tidy up my digital footprint and bring some consistency to everything. So, from Friday 2nd August 2019, I’ll now be blogging from www.theredundancypodcast.com 

The website is mainly to complement the podcasts and summarise the key points, but I’ll also post blogs there. I’ll continue to repost here but that’s going to be my basecamp from the 2nd. 

Thank you to all who visit here. I hope to see you there. 


Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Ghosting busting

I noticed an article a few weeks ago with a topic along the lines of 'Ghosting; an increasing trend in recruitment.'

The crux of the article was that many HR departments and recruiters are increasingly distraught and perplexed by candidates who having been successful and offered jobs are not responding to the offers. They, the candidates, fail to make any further contact.
They are ghosting.

(If you haven't come across this term before it means the ending of all communication without explanation.)

My immediate thought was 'Recruiters and HR you poor dears, how awful.'

I lie. 

My first reaction was to snort with derision, laugh out loud and then think...well I won't write what I actually thought as this is a public forum but as, a general synopsis of my position, my sympathies do not lie with those of HR or Recruiters. At all.

What, I want to ask many HR teams or Recruiters is, 'Are you ignorant or inept?' Incidentally the two are not mutually exclusive and you can be both. Simultaneously.

For many job applicants the job search and application process goes like this;

Spend many hours looking for suitable jobs.
Create resume/CV
Apply
Silence
Repeat.

And repeat, and repeat.

What is it with organisations who cannot be bothered with the simple courtesy of acknowledging job applications and, if the candidate is not successful, sending them an email telling them exactly that?

I ask the question again Recruiters/HR. Are you ignorant or inept?' Or both.

Many of these organisations bang on about 'their people are their greatest asset' until, of course they aren't and redundancies are announced. Then it's a whole different approach to those assets, mainly along the lines of 'you still here then?'

Organisations write job opportunities in breathless terms. 'A unique and exciting opportunity...we want someone passionate about...a vibrant company to work for' and so on. They naturally want to attract candidates of the highest calibre for the role.

For serious candidates it's then a case of researching the organisation and crafting their resume/CV and submission. This is not a trivial task. The process can be complicated by different organisations having on-line application systems where you have to create accounts, log in, enter all your information and supporting narrative in different ways each time. 

And then...
Silence. 
You hear nothing more and have to assume, at some point, the application isn't going anywhere. Is that time one week, three weeks, a month, two months? For example last year, a company that is in the 'Sunday Times Best Employers to work for', failed to respond to my application and then, after 6 months, emailed me and called me for an interview with 48 hours notice with no explanation. Do you think that impressed me?

Job aggregator sites have a huge role to play in this as well. You've probably used one, let's not mention names but indeed you will have. They often have a 'responsive employer' mark to indicate the prospective employer will give you an answer. They will? They do? Well I'm not sure what time span they they use as a SLA as I'm still waiting for even one of them to get back to me.

Now, recruiters and HR may whinge and get defensive and say that they have hundreds of candidates and they can't respond to each and every one. 

To which I say to all of this, to be polite, nonsense.

It is not difficult to let candidates know the outcome, it really isn't.

First of all, and this is totally FREE, put in the original job advert 'If you haven't heard from us within X amount of time from submitting your application we are sorry but you haven't been successful.' Amazing. You can manage candidates' expectations for zero cost.

Secondly it does not require any new equipment or software. I take it you have a PC, Excel and Outlook? You are good to go. In fact it is extremely easy to create a database of applicants for a role and send out a mail merge saying 'Sorry you didn't make the cut.' If you are struggling, I'll show you how. Pay me and I'll do if for you. And please don't go on about 'we don't have the staff to do this' either as that falls firmly into the 'ignorant' and 'rude' category. If you are asking people to spend time applying, and if you want the most able candidates, you should, at the very least, manage your end of the process with corporate grace, style and humility. 

Thirdly, if you have an on-line application portal, then for the love of god, activate the rejection process. I have, in a major employer's application portal (and this organisation aspires to be in the 'Best Employer' category) an application from over 2 years ago that is still 'Currently under review.' There's being thorough in a review but 2+ years seems excessive. I know that their system has a built in template for rejections for jobs. So press the button someone. 

I could name names, and I sure many of you could too, of those organisations who have acted like I describe, act like I describe. And I don't understand why they seem to be content to appear to be ignorant, inept or both to the very people they are trying to recruit. And, should you fail to be chosen (which in my case clearly demonstrates a woeful lack of ability and imagination of behalf of the recruiter) then that leaves a sour taste for those who were ghosted.

I am not condoning ghosting from either the applicant or recruiters/HR. There has to be respect shown by both for the process and for the effort involved. However it does seem to be poetic justice that the very people who have perpetrated ghosting on candidates for so long now are complaining it's happening to them. 

Nope, still can't feel any sympathy.

For both candidate and organisation I ask that you always show mutual respect during the process. 

It's a small world and you may meet again in different circumstances.

Don't let that ghosting come back to haunt you.



Addendum
The list of ghosting organisations I've encountered is a very long one but let me name a number who have demonstrated best practice in the recent past. 

Aldi
Birmingham University
The UK Civil Service
Red Snapper
Royal Shakespeare Company
Telent
Thames Valley Police


Monday, 15 July 2019

I've finally worked out who I am. I'm Woody. From Toy Story.

Have you seen Toy Story 4?


Well you should, as well as the other 3 in the franchise. 
Yes I know that sounds bossy but they are just so good. I agree with the critics that TS4 is the best, and no I wasn't sniffling at the end, it was the air conditioning in the cinema causing my eyes to water, I'm sure it was.


The Toy Story narrative works on so many levels, for kids and for adults. I have nothing but admiration for the script writers. I read that they are never afraid to just dump whole story lines or even entire plots if they don't meet their exacting standards. No problem with sunk costs in Pixar. Kill your darlings is very much front of mind and, of course, it shows in the standard of film that results. The franchise has gone from excellent to perfect.


What resonated for me, and I'm sure for many coming up to the end of their careers, voluntarily or otherwise, is Woody's overwhelming desire to not become obsolete, boring or special as a toy and not being able to attract the attention of a child anymore. Of course there's a lot more going on in the script than that but, essentially, it is that fear that defines the movie.


I see in that the role of a job. There comes a point in everyone's life when you have to leave the stage (not in that very, very final way we hope for a long time) but we have to retire, leave the job, leave the role we had for...well, a new, as of yet undefined role. Woody faces this as he meets back up with his great friend Bo Peep who has left the world of children and being a cherished toy to become self sufficient, finding herself a new role in the world. 'Who needs a kid's room when you have all of this?' she says looking over a huge fairground. Woody battles with this conflict. What is he if he isn't that child's toy anymore? Is he defined only by that? If he is not that, then what is he?


It's hard losing your job at anytime and even harder as an older worker. And hard having to take a lesser role, as most do, just to get back into employment. I'm sure for many there's a sense of resentment at having been put in this position by The Man. But game face on of course.


If you've caused seas to rise and civilisations to fall, I am using an metaphor here naturally, then the prospect of that 'fall' is daunting. I have an acquaintance, a senior manager, who was strongly 'encouraged' to leave their organisation of 30 years because they were too O.. No they didn't use the 'you're too OLD' phrase, they are after all a respected and multinational employer (but of only young people it appears) and the HR department too wise to get caught in that particular employment tribunal but that's what it came down to and there are many legitimate ways to make employed life difficult as HR know (don't you). Now unemployed for over a year that acquaintance is struggling with their revised place in world as a result. They have bought a new car, an expensive marque, even though they do few miles at the moment, because they cannot give up that sense of assumed prestige that they believed the previous role gave them. Of course it's only in their head, nobody else is interested.


But it is important, as Bo Peep has already found and Woody comes to realise, that you have to redefine what you are or be stuck in something that has moved on without you.


Those who are older and have been long term unemployed naturally want to regain their footing in the workplace, retain a sense of purpose, still want a challenge, want to do something worthwhile and which have outcomes they identify with. Digging metaphorical holes and filling them back in again day after day is not fulfilling. As we go through life our needs and wants change. When we are younger we are building our careers and as older workers maybe we start reflecting and thinking of giving back, working in an industry we really care about or downsizing. But that doesn’t mean switching our brains off. 

That sense of accomplishment is essential to a healthy, rewarding work experience and positive outputs for the employer. If we don’t feel pride and forward momentum in the tasks we tackle and our own development we will end up becoming less creative, productive and engaged in our work.That doesn’t help the employer achieve its goals and it can further damage our chances at landing the opportunities and roles we want.

So...I have become Woody. I understand that I will may never regain my senior management role (but please do feel free to call anytime with offers), I have redefined my purpose (and podcasting is part of that as is the pro bono work I'm happy to do, the travelling I've done and will continue to do). I believe I have moved on.

'Who needs a kid's room when you have all of this?'










Thursday, 11 July 2019

Resume/CV, apply, silence. Resume/CV, apply, silence. Repeat ad nauseam.

Resume/CV, apply, silence. Resume/CV, apply, silence. Repeat ad nauseam.


Sound like your job search?


Then you might need to rethink your strategy.





Also on Spotify, Tune In radio and many others.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Brand. New

After many years of blogging and two years podcasting it's time for a new brand and look.

I've changed my logo to more accurately reflect what the podcast and blog is about.


The challenges of finding employment as an older worker.

That's a problem that affects many - and you'll find that from your mid 30's onwards.

Oh yes you will.

So here we are. The new look.

Brand.
New.





Saturday, 22 June 2019

Why you need Elvis and a Gringo Killer

11 strangers. 
42 kilometres. 
4 days. 
Getting up at 0400. 
Walking 8 to 10 hours each day up very steep slopes or down precipitous tracks. 
Altitudes above 4000 metres.
Camping in small tents.
Temperatures close to freezing at night. 
Basic washing and toilet facilities.
The Gringo Killer.
The Sun Gate
Then, finally, this.





Wouldn’t have missed it for the world. 

I walked the Inca trail this month. The enormous sense of fulfilment and satisfaction on getting to the Sun Gate then walking down into Machu Picchu with the group, is not one I’ve felt for a long time, certainly not in any recent job. So I thought about this and wondered just what were the circumstances that made it so personally satisfying and what parallels could I draw about working and management.

Objective
There was a clear objective. All the group knew exactly what the objective was, when was to be achieved and had plenty of opportunity to ask questions about it before the task started.

Leader
There was a leader, a guide (Elvis, yes he’s alive and lives in Cusco). The leader briefed the group, understood any fears or weaknesses individuals may have had and got to know the team beforehand. The leader’s task was to get the group to the objective safely, to educate the group on the way, to provide pastoral care if needed.

Plan
There was a plan. The plan was clear, the difficulties outlined, the timing detailed, the logistics identified, opportunities to make last minute adjustments factored in.

The group
11 people who’d never met but had a common purpose. Weaknesses and concerns about possible personal performance were openly discussed. There was a leader, the guide, and a backstop (Andy) to make sure no one got left behind. The group could spread out but was not allowed to separate. Those who wanted to forge ahead could - to a point.

Mutual aid
Because weaknesses and concerns were known the group provided a dynamic support system. Members moved amongst the group offering differing forms of support as needed, dealing with fears, tiredness, anxiety. 

Contingencies
Things go wrong. There was contingency planning. The group provided technical support to each other, selflessly offering and sharing items from their own supplies and equipment so that individuals were not disadvantaged.

Regular briefings
There were regular briefings. Where the group was, what lay ahead in the short, middle and long term.

Bonding time
The group always came together three times a day for an opportunity to talk, discuss, share experiences, express any fears, share how they overcame obstacles, mental or physical. The group provided a non judgemental and safe place for all to freely express themselves.

Same for everyone
All had the same equipment, the same catering, the same accommodation. There were no ‘management’ perks, no us and them.

Celebrate success
The group made the objective on time. There was much hugging, handshaking and celebration. The project had been hard work, uncomfortable (those chemical loos with no seats), tiring and dirty. The group all shared the same sense of collective and individual achievement.

All had to succeed
Everyone had their own personal difficulties but all the group had to reach the objective. No individual could go it alone, it was always a true team effort. 

And the Gringo Killer?

All projects are tough. Sometimes you have to find that difficult extra personal stretch just when you think you and the group have reached the objective and you and the team have used up all your reserves of energy - one last push to succeed. And all have to do it, no one gets left behind.




After getting up at 0400, walking three hours in the dark over 8km of rough terrain to then climb 50 near vertical stone steps cut by the Incas so steep you had to scramble up using hands and feet to reach the Sun Gate. But what a glorious feeling.

Do you still get that sense of satisfaction and fulfilment from your job?

Perhaps you need Elvis and a Gringo Killer.


Thursday, 20 June 2019

90 days.

90 days.

The first three months in a new job. 
Generally it's chaos. 
You don't know anything. How things work, where things are, who are your allies, where the toilets are, where the paper is kept for the photocopier, how to claim expenses, what the culture is, what those acronyms and abbreviations that are used all the time really signify. And you want to ensure that you impress the boss with their new hire.
It's impossible.
Except it isn't.
In my latest podcast I have a conversation with Robert Moment, The Get Hired Expert, about what you need to do in those crucial first 90 days. Apart from finding the toilets and figuring out the photocopier that is.

Robert can be contacted here
You can buy his new book here
And you can read extracts from his new book here.







Thursday, 18 April 2019

All revved up and...the interviewer is clueless

You know the feeling. You’ve prepped for the interview, you’re ready to answer standard questions, ready to fend off the really difficult questions, done your research on the company and the sector and…the interviewer just doesn’t seem to have a clue what they are doing. It’s difficult enough going in as an older worker and being able to showcase your skills to what will almost certainly be younger interviewers, but how might you deal with an interviewer with poor skills and still present yourself as the preferred candidate?

All is revealed...here



And here...

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Spring is here and so we need a new podcast - and here it is

We are not in Kansas anymore. Or applying for jobs in the late 1970s or 1980s. Job searching in the 21st Century.




Sunday, 17 March 2019

Advice I would have given myself at 21

Nobody suggested it would be interesting

Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard.
No extravagant claims were made during the interview for the role, pretending that it would be uplifting, fulfilling, contribute greatly to society or even be enough to keep you awake during most of the day. There were veiled mutterings along the lines of there's actually nowhere else to go from here, no promotion escape route, no way of seeking a more demanding role. This is it. And they failed to mention that my predecessor had not stayed longer than a few months. But, my choice, I accepted the job. No complaints there.
And so here l am. Bored. In fact I shambled across the boredom threshold sometime back and am now trying to see if there is a limit to boredom and what may lie beyond peak boredom, in the way perhaps, that philosophers used to contemplate what came after you reached the rim of a flat earth. There may even be grades of boredom, like the Beaufort scale for wind speeds or Mohs scale of hardness. In fact I've invented one (see below).
I was asked again, just this morning, was I enjoying the job. Why is everyone so concerned about 'enjoyment' of a role. I don't think I look suicidal or someone about to walk off site permanently, though the glazed look I get in my eyes around about 3pm is an indication of my daily cerebral cortex shut down for my brain's protection. My stock answer to the question is ‘I can tolerate it’. And I can. Though there was small incursion, for a day last week, into a 'Nope, now I'm actively not liking this’ zone.

I've been here almost three months. Three long, long months. I feel like Marvin the Paranoid android felt in The Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy. 'The first ten million years were the worst,' said Marvin, 'and the second ten million years, they were the worst too. The third ten million years I didn't enjoy at all. After that I went into a bit of a decline.'

Now I don't like to think of myself as prideful. I've done many a mundane and unpleasant job in the past. How can I ever forget cleaning a large Welsh sewerage works at 0800 on a warm summer's Monday morning. I just can't, not even with therapy. Then there was the garbage truck summer job where there were real metal ash cans that you had to lift onto your shoulder and empty into the truck with the ash and other garbage blowing back into your face. None of this softie mechanical handling for us. Some of the residents would neatly tie their pornographic magazines up in bundles for us so we could read them at lunch time. How thoughtful. How graphic. Rather put me off my sardine sandwiches I can tell you.

I work in what you'd call an industrial environment if you were being kind. This does not comprise shiny state of the art Macs and clean, modern, comfortable office furniture, oh no. I've cleaned my desk using antiseptic wipes, I clean my keyboard weekly, my workspace and bin get cleaned/emptied every full moon and the heating is either a barely adequate wall mounted electric convection heater or a wheezing electric fan that sounds like a Boeing spooling up. The space where I work is partly a dumping ground for amputated office chairs. They’ve come here because, well I’m not sure, probably because no one could think of anywhere else to put them. Still, it is my space and I can concentrate on the tasks I'm set.

What you have to do, of course is find coping strategies. For boredom the course. I have discounted alcohol and drugs sadly. Apple music is particularly helpful and I'm making way through their back catalogue quite steadily. You have to look deep into your reserves to survive the numbness. I have become rather good at The Times crossword at lunchtime and this proves a useful d_st__t_n (11, a thing that prevents someone from concentrating on something else.). I go for walks around the site with self set tasks. However this is a little weather dependant and today it has rained and rained thus causing me to stay largely inside and become ever so more like Marvin.

There must be something you like, I hear you say. Ok can tolerate then.

The short, 15 minute drive, against the traffic, to and from to work. The hours are OK. And, and, oh the pay-check. I didn't really need it when I started but, as life goes, circumstances have changed recently and it is coming in very useful. It's a short term thing so I’ll be interested to see if I can maintain my stoicism when the need goes.

And this is the advice I'd give to my 21 year old self.
'Get a job where you care about what they do. Don't just accept any role (unless you are desperate) even for big money - there's never any long term satisfaction or fulfilment in it for you.'

A long time ago I thought I could take my transferable skills to any industry. I was wrong. Well actually I was right as I did do exactly that. However the life lesson for me was ‘You have to care about what you do.’ I quickly found out I didn’t care about the outcomes and products and my move was a disaster; I had to leave as soon as I could. I've learned that if you care about the outcomes, or the organisation, it's far easier to tolerate the boredom and mundane nature of work that every job has. If you don't care about it then every day becomes hard and mistakes are more prevalent. And you clock watch constantly for the moment you can leave.



Saturday, 2 March 2019

Don't boil the frog. The podcast.

Working fewer hours than you want or need?
Over educated for your current role?

Underemployment - pernicious. As bad, in my view, as being overloaded with work, and can be just as damaging, if not more so. I tell all (well some) in my latest podcast.

Usual places including iTunes.




Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Busy doing nothing, working the whole day long

Underemployed?
Over educated for your role? I consider the implications in my next podcast due out on Saturday.




Saturday, 16 February 2019

'Don't ask me what I think of you, you might not get the answer that you wanted to.'

Well.
I've worked for a fair few organisations now. Not necessarily because I wanted to but because the move was often forced on me. The 'R' word, I may have mentioned it before. It's been a working life of ups and downs, going round in circles, digging holes and filling them back in. Some organisations I've been happy in and really enjoyed working there, some places I've loathed, some have been OK, a career transit lounge until the next opportunity comes along. Sometimes the people I've worked with have been fun, some mixed, others very, very hard work. I'm thinking of two in particular when it comes to the very hard work – one, an Italian car company and the other a now defunct textile group (and what a glorious, mind bogglingly stupid career move that was. Moving on...).  I have had a portfolio career, before they were trendy, if you want to categorise it. And you do, I'm sure

When you are offered that new role you spend a few weeks bathed in the warm aura that someone wants you, that the sun is shining and opportunities are endless. You've sold yourself to them and they have flattered your ego bigly by saying 'Yes we choose YOU.' What no one can tell you, or will tell you, is just what it's going to be like actually working there. Our contracts of employment tell us our pay, hours, make vague and largely worthless statements about what the job involves (anything the organisation pretty much wants it to), the hours of work (ha!) and so on. But nowhere does it say “You are required to be genuinely happy' or 'You are required to derive great job satisfaction and contentment.' And that's just as well really as it's all a lottery as to how it goes down.

Therefore you pitch up on the first day and (all of these have happened to me); 

  • They know you are coming, there's a desk, equipment, induction, meet and greet the team. Someone tells you where the toilets are and how to make a drink. It's organised. 
  • They know you are coming, there's a desk, equipment, induction, meet and greet the team. You learn within two hours that the growth plans expounded at the interview are based entirely on conjecture and have no basis in reality. The job doesn't really exist - it's a 'Bullshit job*’. The manager leaves within a few weeks; that is not a good sign. Really, it's not. Those were the highlights and it's all going southbound from now on.
  • No one seems to know anything from Reception onwards. There is no structure, plan, induction and you spend the first week trying to find out just where you are meant to sit and what you have to do. You are never formally introduced to any one, you have to figure out who is who and make your own introductions. You go on your induction 6 months after you start - yes, I'm not making that up.
  • A manager knows you are coming, meets you at Reception, takes you to a desk or office and...leaves you there. There is never a formal induction, you have to make your own plan up, nobody knows what it is you are meant to be doing and it's made quite clear that you are an embarrassment to the Director who doesn't want you and a perceived threat to the marketing manager who thinks you are after his job. That was the highpoint, like a ski jump slope after that only with no snow to land on, just pointy rocks. 
  • You are met, sat at a desk, moved in an hour to another in a corridor then, as that really is not at all convenient and quite a surprise to passers by, stuck in an office in Portacabin where you cannot hear the sound any other person unless someone visits you (and they don't know you are there so they don't) or you walk back to the main offices. It takes three weeks for the phone to be connected. The rest is a notch potch of good and bad. However there are some highlights - several woman fighting at the Christmas party, drug taking on site, more fighting amongst males, stealing.

There are more and I'm sure you have your own variants. But slowly all is revealed whether it is good, bad, mixed or indifferent.


I was asked, during my first probation meeting a short time ago, whether 'I was happy in my job.' I answered truthfully ‘I can tolerate it.’ And I can, but that's all. I wasn't complaining. I wanted to set the context in that I knew what I was accepting when I took the role and the implications for great contentment. Or rather not. But happy? No. Fulfilled? No, and never likely to be. Thank you for the job, I'll come in and work as productively and as efficiently as I can for 8 hours a day, I won't complain unless it is legitimate but please, don't expect me to be challenged or deliriously happy in the role. I don’t get up in the morning punching the air, waving balloons on sticks and shouting ‘Can’t wait to get back to that repetitive admin it's why I got an MBA. I knew that elective module in repetitive low grade admin work would come in useful one day.’ 

It's a means to an end is all. 
Money.

I find that rather sad really that, at 64, I couldn't find a role that I could find at least partly satisfying and fulfilling with all my skill sets and experience. Nothing wrong with being an older worker, just don't lose your job.


*Wikipedia: Bullshit Jobs: A Theory is a 2018 book by anthropologist David Graeber that argues the existence and societal harm of meaningless jobs. He contends that over half of societal work is pointless, which becomes psychologically destructive when paired with a work ethic that associates work with self-worth.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Success; my latest podcast (and for once it's not me doing all the talking)

Losing your job through no fault of your own is tough whatever age you are - for older workers it brings extra challenges. 

In this podcast I interview an older worker who deployed a very successful strategy and tactics to get a new role quickly when his senior management role was made redundant.

(I still have a lot to learn about remote interviewing - as you can tell)









Sunday, 3 February 2019

Mission impossible?



Have your five minutes of fame. Be heard across the world. Well USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt and others.

Talk to me folks.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

How do you make God laugh?

How do you make God laugh? 
Tell him your plans. 
(Woody Allen) 
I used to command vast armies. I caused empires to rise and fall. People would seek my opinion, ask for strategies to be developed, ideas drawn up, innovation implemented. Papers would be written, actions agreed, plans executed. There would be many important strokey beard meetings. My word would be law. I could ask for tasks to be done. I could delegate everything. I could insist that things could be done. Staff respected me. Staff loathed me. Staff could not ignore me. I was a GOD (well, not really of course, sort of a quite important manager for that particular organisation. In my head.) 

I remember well, walking around a large site with a colleague on a warm summer's afternoon in one such role. We were both directors, me running the ordering of paper clips, highlighter pens, staplers (why do organisations need to order so many staplers, what do staff do with them?) and other such important and essential parts of Consolidated HeeHaws output and him, swearing loudly and profanely at any employee who was unfortunate to come into his gaze. He kept the operation on track through instilling abject fear and projecting a sense of barely restrained violence. Things were good. The business was humming. Output was outputting in an orderly way. No members of staff had been noted fighting so far that day, a rare occurrence, and no drug dealing was evident. We knew we'd got a dysfunctional business fixed. Mostly. 
We were being paid the highest salaries we'd ever earned with good annual bonuses on top. 
He turned to me and said 'Do you realise this is probably the best it will get?' 
Damn it, he jinxed it at that point. At that exact moment. 
Within months the business was up for sale, he'd run off with a secretary then had a breakdown, all the senior management team was made redundant by the MD, who turned into a total corporate monster, but who in turn was also made redundant followed by his wife leaving him. Ha. Karma. 
No Happy Endings in sunlit uplands here. 
But life goes on and I made my way, slowly back up the corporate ladder, then back down, then up. Sort of career snakes and ladders but with more snakes. 
I was there and now I'm here. 
Back in work. But now I sweep the streets I used to own (thank you ColdPlay for the lyrics). Anyway, after 12 months unemployment I decided that intelligent capitulation was in order and accepted a job that is somewhat distant from the management position I was in the way that Voyager 1 is now somewhat distant from earth. I’m not prideful. I’ll do it. Am doing it. 

Naturally there are upsides;
Some money. Not a lot. 50% less than I was earning but I do have an occupational pension so no financial issues. 
No staff.
15 minute drive to work
Able to turn brain off on arrival. 
Everything is above my pay grade. 
No work gets brought home.
I start and finish exactly on time. 

Naturally there are downsides; 
Able to turn brain off on arrival. 
Everything is above my pay grade. 
I work in what I will describe as a robust adult environment, 'jokes' repeated ad nauseum and constant laddish bants. After three weeks it has become...irritating. 
The job is dull. But I knew it would be and still accepted it so no complaining, all down to me.

I thought, I'll crack this in 10 days tops then hang on until ennui did for me. Got to play the cards you are dealt and other such cliches...
But...it's been hard. It is many years since I've had to do administrative work, actual detailed admin stuff. In fact I can't remember ever really doing it. For years I've been a manager, a leader, delegating all these tasks and then ravelling it all together into strategic papers or action plans and then delegating it all over again. I mean in my last job I had Bob to do all this stuff. Bob loved doing the stuff. But me actually doing it...did I mention it's been hard? It's quite surprised me and I've made a fair few rookie errors, much to the frustration of management. Who is, basically, pretty much everyone else.
In a perverse way, and it is very strange feeling as being at home day after day is not the most rewarding way to spend one's life, I miss the freedom of being unemployed and the exercise I was getting daily, though I think I'd explored every possible route to walk around where I live. Many times. Many, many times. 

I've never had a job before where I actually work 9 to 5. As in leave on the stoke of 5. Previous ones have always been 'whatever it takes' and generally I've been happy to work the hours until, of course, I get made redundant and then I think 'So why did I bother then how come I got fooled all over again?' 
Thing is you have to recognise when you have a tailwind and when you have a headwind. Especially if you need to go to the loo. 

Change always means gaining something and losing something.

Brain the size of a planet as Marvin the paranoid android might muse and opening doors.