Dolebert's Diary

Follow the diary extracts of “Dolebert”, an ex-Company Director who became unemployed in November 2008.

Share the trials and tribulations of Dolebert as he goes through redundancy, no income, debt and the difficulties of getting back to work. This is a true story, names have been changed to protect identities.

I'm sure that many of you will relate to this and have gone through similar situations and problems. If you have any similar experiences or advice to share with our community, why not submit a guest article or letter.

We will continue to update this page as Dolebert sends us his new entries so check back often to get the latest installment. Our thanks to Dolebert for sharing this with us and showing us just how tough it can be out there!

Entries are in reverse order so that the latest is at the top of the page.

9th July 2011

It was a year ago today that I last wrote to you. Wow. Where does the time go? If you’ve been wondering how things have been going then I’m sorry that I haven’t been in touch for a while.

Overall, things are going well. As you know I finally gave up trying to find a job and started consulting. Since then I’ve managed to pay-off the arrears on my mortgage which in itself was a major milestone and one which I took the time out to pat myself on the back and say well done for.

When, on your road to recovery and you achieve milestones like this, do take it in, stop what you’re doing and congratulate yourself. Recognise your achievements, let them sink in and lift you.

I will never forget what I went through and still appreciate the things I can do now that I couldn’t then. Take yesterday... but first, if you’ve read my diary, you’ll remember that in August 2009 my daughter was going on holiday with her mother and other family. I tried to give her £10 to buy a water-proof disposable camera because she loved snorkelling and she refused to take it. Because in her eyes I needed it more than she did.

Yesterday, we actually reflected on that whilst I bought her two disposable cameras, and gave her 70 Euros for her family holiday to France next week. Again, take time out to remember these moments, reflect on how far you’ve come and give yourself the recognition you deserve.

I’m still climbing out of debt, still have a charge on my house, still drive a ten-year old car and clothes of a similar age. But I’m in control, stronger for what I’ve been through, my business is building and I will turn my dreams into reality. You can too.


9th July 2010

I had dinner last night with an old friend I’d not seen for 15 years. She’s amazing...beautiful green eyes, big smile, big laugh, bigger heart.

She’s also just survived her third bout of cancer (the first one was 20 years ago) ... and she’s only 41.

Problems? ...I don’t have any problems.

If you have your health and people who love you then you’re fine and whatever financial problems you may have today you won’t have at some point in the future.

Keep moving forward.


4th July 2010

Don’t become a victim

You’ve heard the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Well, tell that to the knee I dislocated skiing in Austria a few years ago. Of course we’re talking about emotional strength and this I agree with.

Your emotional state is like your immune system; if you’ve never had an infection your immune system is weak leaving you vulnerable to attack and slow to recover. Your emotional system is the same; it’s stronger for the experiences of your past.

A friend of mine has never really had anything “bad” happen to him; never had his heart broken, no-one he loves has died, never been made redundant. (I’ve seen him get upset because of the mess the kids leave the house.) One day something will go wrong and I know he’ll struggle to cope.

An ex-girlfriend was the same...I remember she had tears when she discovered grass stains on her jeans...I walked out speechless.

On the other hand, as-well-as my knee, my heart has been broken more than once, both my parents are no longer here, I still remember the day my daughter told me she had a new dad, I’ve been made redundant, and as you know, was left nearly bankrupt after my business failed. I’m the  Arnold Schwarzenegger of emotional strength!

Without a doubt it is this strength that helped me fight through the period of depression and despair and put everything into perspective. As long as I had my health, as long as my daughter was ok and as long as I had my friends, my guitar, my dog and enough to eat nothing else really mattered. I wasn’t going to let my situation break me; I wasn’t going to become a victim.

I know all situations are different and mine was probably easier for not having family to worry about (and, in a way, harder for not having family support) but if you are struggling, please don’t take the easy path and become a victim.

Make, “I won’t be a victim” your daily mantra. Life might feel pretty crap, but it won’t last if you don’t let won’t kill you and it will make you stronger.


27th June 2010

Take Back Control

I was at my lowest in the early part of 2009; no job, no money, loads of debt, constant calls from debt collectors and the regular moments of humiliation as I asked creditors for more time, asked my mortgage provider for help and asked friends for a little more support.

I had no control in my life; I was falling down a large hole, scrambling at the walls to stop and failing.

But one day I realised that I did have control and with that my attitude changed. What changed? The realisation that I had hit the bottom of this hole and the acceptance that I couldn’t pay my debts no matter how much pressure was being put upon me.

What if I lost my house? So I lost it. I can’t stop that so why worry about it? What if my car broke down? Again, so what...nothing I can do about it. My credit rating is in the dirt...can’t do anything about that so I crossed it off my stress list and binned it.

Almost overnight I was able to shrug-off the stress that these pressures were causing. I could do nothing about them so why worry about them? Why not focus on those things I could change?

And that’s what I did and that was the turning point for my climb out of the deep dark, depressing hole I had found myself in. I needed to manage the little money I was receiving, I needed to get a job and I needed to make sure my time with my daughter was as precious as it could be.

I took control of that which I could do something about and let go of that which I could do nothing about. And I started breathing again.

It doesn’t matter if you’re on your own or have a family to take care of, there is nothing you can do about these things and lying awake worrying about it just keeps you down and paralyses you. Make a list of what’s causing you sleepless nights and if it’s out of your hands then cross it off and throw it away.

Stand-up straight, lift up your head, you’re alive, it’s a beautiful day. Take a deep breath and take back control.


22nd December 2009

2009 has easily been my worst year so far. But I’m better and stronger for it and even though I’ll not look back with any fondness, I will appreciate the lessons I’ve learned and the opportunity and desire I have to do more with the rest of my life than I may have done if I hadn’t gone through this.

At the end of the day, I lost my job and business and lost my way for a while. I may still lose my house and possessions but I also know that compared to many, like those who have lost their lives and loved ones fighting for our country and those like Katie Piper who have suffered real trauma, I’m doing ok.

I don’t know if I’ll write anymore of this diary as I now feel I’m at the end of a chapter in my life ready to start a better and brighter one next year.

Anyone reading this in my position; be strong and look at what you do have rather than what you don’t. Find out who you are, what you want with the rest of your life and make a plan to achieve it.

Have a good Christmas and a peaceful New Year


12th December 2009

On my way to picking up Abby yesterday I got a call from this guy to talk through my (amended) proposal. We reached an agreement and I start in January! Let me just say that again...I have won some consultancy work to start in the New Year.

It’s not full-time but will pay enough for me to cover my bills, enjoy the odd evening out, take Abby out and start to pay off my debts. And because it’s not full-time, I can take on other consultancy opportunities.

So, that promise I made a few weeks ago, not to be signing on in the New Year...well, I’ve done it. No more signing on, no getting a job that I don’t want to try and claw myself out of debt. This business is going to work...roll on 2010.

1st December 2009

I had my meeting with this business owner today. I researched his company, prepared my questions and ideas for his business. It went well and he wants a proposal from me. If I get this it’ll be the best Christmas present. But if I don’t I at least know that I have a real service to offer and it’s only a matter of time.

22nd November 2009

I’ve got a meeting with a company owner I met yesterday evening at a business workshop. We happened to sit at the same table and he thinks my skills will help him take his business forward. I’m seeing him next week. Another wants to meet with me in the New Year.

Could this be it?

20th November 2009

With my consultancy service refined and focussed and, hopefully compelling I have started networking. The last couple of weeks I have been to a couple of seminars and workshops and practiced my pitch. Each session has resulted in at least one business interested in my services. Up until now, the need for my skills has been a theory. Now, I know it’s a reality and I feel I’m on a roll.

12th November 2009

It’s been a year; a year since I called the Job Centre and was officially unemployed. Wow...a whole year on benefit. It’s a tough concept to get your head around when you’ve worked full-time for nigh-on 20 years. It’s been awful and I know there are many of thousands of people like me in the same situation. All I can hope for is that they have used the opportunity to reassess their lives and that, whatever happens, they come out the other side a stronger, better person.

I’ve made a promise to myself...I won’t be signing on in 2010.

11th November 2009

Back in court and this time the opposition has turned up. There is now a charge on my house and I need to make sure I pay £5 per month to the creditors. Their solicitor repeatedly protested that £5 per month means it would take hundreds of years for me to pay off the debt. I pointed out that, as I don’t expect to live for several generations and so the house would at some stage be sold and they would get their money then at the latest. From the look my solicitor gave me, apparently, sarcasm is frowned upon.

The judge said he was confident that I would pay more and clear the debt as quickly as I can, which I will, and he finally halted the repeated protests from the other side by explaining that whilst he appreciated the other person’s opinion, his was the only one that counted in that room. I smiled...on the inside of course.

So I have a charge against my house, loads of debt with other creditors, a credit rating that’s in the dirt and no job. (Apart from that all is well.)

But, having made a decision to focus on my consultancy,  I feel in charge of my own destiny; I have an opportunity to do something I really want to do, I have ideas to make more money than I ever would working for someone else, I have a wonderful daughter, I have friends, I have a lovely dog, I have my guitar and one day I’ll hopefully meet an amazing woman to share the rest of my life with.

Actually, that’s a new thought that’s started popping into my head over recent weeks. I’ve not been in a relationship for a year now and have had no interest in meeting anyone. When you’re depressed and struggling you become very insular, very selfish in your thoughts. It’s tough to think of others when you’re wrapped in a cloud of despair. I would have no time or energy to think about someone else’s emotional well-being (apart from Abby’s of course.) Besides, I couldn’t afford to date anyone; a meal and the cinema would easily cost more than a week’s allowance. Plus, I’m not exactly a catch at the moment.

Even though I still feel I’m nowhere near ready to meet anyone, I’ve started thinking that one day I would like to...that’s the difference.

30th October 2009

I sent an email asking for an explanation, for an opportunity to discuss the reasons they gave but I’ve heard nothing. I called and left messages…nothing. People shouldn’t treat others like this. I deserve better than this. Everyone deserves better than this.

However, I am moving on. Rejection gets harder each time. When you’re already low it can really knock you down hard and make getting up a trial of strength and resolve..

I’ve made a decision... Sod applying for jobs that don’t lead to anything and that I don’t really want anyway. I’m going to try…no not try, I’m going to focus more on the consultancy.

One thing that has come out of this year and the seemingly endless hours of soul searching is that I understand me better than ever before.  (I’m trying to avoid clichés.) I have spent countless hours figuring out what I’m actually good at, what I’d like to do,  what kind of person I am and what will give me satisfaction as-well-as an income. Having put directing porn films to one side, I think I’ve figured it out and have created a fairly niche service that could really help small businesses to grow. That and the bonus of having a failed business behind me means I am a far better professional than I have ever been.

This has been a harder process than it should have been because I’ve been doing this against a backdrop of being unemployed, being rejected or ignored by prospective employers, having no money and the heavy spectre of debt and creditors after their pounds of flesh.

I’m normally a positive, glass-half-full, kind of bloke and I’m starting to feel rays of hope for the future. Nothing’s changed in my everyday life except the fact that I’ve made a decision. I’ve made a decision to take control, to evangelise my skills and the benefits I can bring companies, to get people to want to know more about me and to want my help.

I feel empowered and it feels good.

24th October 2009

I received and email from them yesterday. I’ve read it over and over. I’ve gone over the day step-by-step again and again and still don’t know why they’ve rejected me. It’s not only a rejection but an insult; three one-word reasons without explanations…it makes no sense. It felt so right. Give me a break! Enough is enough…surely I’m in line for some good fortune. What the hell do I have to do?

I picked up Abby for the weekend. The first thing she wanted to know was if I’d heard about the job. When I told her, I thought she was going to cry. She was so excited for me and knew how much I wanted it and needed it. My baby threw her arms around me and stayed there for so long.

I felt she was on this journey with me and was saying that together we’re strong and we’ll get through this…hang in there dad. She should be sheltered from things like this. I feel bad that she worries so much about me and so proud of her too.

I feel lost.

16th October 2009

It’s been a week and no feedback. I’m starting to get a little itchy. I’ve been going over everything and I can’t see anything that went wrong. I’m just being paranoid. The thing is that, beyond running my own business, this is my dream job; build the sales and technical teams, establish an office and European presence, build relationships with key customers and partners, etc. There are no other interviews on the horizon. This is the one…It’s got to be.

9th October 2009

Wow. That was intense. I landed at Boston and checked into the best room in a very nice hotel. It had stairs leading up to the bedroom! (By-the-way, your job seeker’s allowance is stopped if you go abroad for a interview…now that’s encouraging.) Early breakfast with the would-be boss went well, followed by eight interviews over eight hours at their headquarters then a taxi ride back to the airport for the red-eye flight back to London. I met everyone from the CEO down and they all seem to be a nice bunch. I think the interviews went well and my presentation outlining my strategies for building the European business was well received. It felt good and I’m really excited.

28th September 2009

I had an interview at the end of last week which seemed to go well. This was through an agency (not online job sites) who phoned me this morning with feedback. Turned out that they are happy I could do the job but won’t be seeing me again because I didn’t have direct industry experience! No s**t, my CV could have told them that. I stupidly assumed that by seeing me they’d looked beyond that and to my transferable skills. What a waste of time!

Good news...last Friday I was driving to pick-up my daughter. I was also waiting for a call from the States. Finally the call came and they want to see me and want to fly me out next week....aaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!! Don’t panic!

15th September 2009

I was in court this morning. They didn’t turn up! My solicitor and I went in when called, no-one followed and the judge had a letter from them asking to adjourn. It didn’t go down well with the judge that neither my solicitor nor me had received a letter so hopefully that will be a black mark against them. I don’t know how this is going to pan out. Yes I owe the money, but there are steps that should be taken before it’s taken to court and these B******s have taken me straight to court as the first step...didn’t even ‘pass Go’.

13th September 2009

It’s been a pretty intense week with long chats in the late afternoon with the USA and swotting up in between, as-well-as trying to find more work. I think the conversations went well so will hopefully hear back soon. My would-be boss couldn’t give a firm date as he’s got others to talk to. Really want this job.

On a down side, remember back in June I mentioned a certain bank taking me to court. That’s in two days time. I guess they’ll be asking to put a charge on my house and there’s not a lot I can do about it so I’m trying not to let it get to me.

Overall, I am so much more positive than a few months ago. I still get Monday morning blues but then get my head down and work on whatever I need to do to get work. I have been more disciplined and have a list of things to do which is really working for me. There’s nothing new in doing this except that this list is made up of small steps. So, rather than say ‘finish consultancy website’, I’ll have several small steps like get image, change text, add testimonial, and so on until I hit the goal of finishing the site.

During this pretty dire phase in my life I have figured out who I am (sorry, cliché alert), what I want to do, what I can do and what’s really important in life. One thing I do know is that even though I’m not working, I’m a better professional now than at any time in my career. It’s like this journey has brought a clarity that I didn’t previously have, or, if I did, didn’t have time for. I think most people must go through their working lives chasing deadlines and just getting the job done with little or no time to stop and think.

I recently got a book called “The Poet and the Billionaire” which has also really helped me to figure some of these things out. The author, Jared Matthew Kessler, found himself in a situation of having no work, in debt and feeling desperate. He decided to find a mentor and finally succeeded when contacted by this “billionaire”. The book comprises telephone and email extracts of their conversations.

I know I have the skills and experience to make a difference. That’s a far cry from where I was at the beginning of the year and is a good feeling to have.

6th September 2009

I’ve been focussed on getting my consultancy going by improving the web site and evangelising about it through my network. A couple of days ago I got an email for some work. It turns out that the work will only take a couple of days but it’s a start and will hopefully lead to more work. Even though it won’t take long to do, it’s uses experience I have that they don’t which is also a major confidence boost. The money is somewhat irrelevant (never thought I’d hear myself say that) because the JSA will not pay me the equivalent amount. Like I said before, there’s something wrong with this system.

As-well-as consultancy, I have submitted my CV for a job that was brought to my attention by an ex-colleague through LinkedIn. (Again networking and not online job sites.) This is a dream job for me and so I passed on my CV and subsequently received an email asking when would be the best time to receive a call from the company’s headquarters in the States.

The job is to build and run their operation in Europe and I had a good chat with the CEO. It must have gone well because I’ve received emails from VP and Directors asking when they can call to discuss the role with me. Starting tomorrow I’ve got 5 telephone interviews lined up over the next 5 days.

30th August 2009

My daughter lives with her mum, step-dad, brother and sister. She’s happy and settled but I think she’s worrying about me too much. She knows I’m struggling but of course I try to hide it from her. She had a birthday recently and was really pleased with what I managed to get her and seemed to go out of her way to make sure I knew she was happy. I managed to scrape together £50 but think if I’d only managed £20 it too would have been fine.

A couple of weeks ago, I drove her home and she was excited about going off for a week on a beach in Turkey with her family. She was looking forward to snorkelling and I told her she should get one of those water-proof disposable cameras from the airport and told her to take £10 out of my wallet that was in the glove compartment. She told me it was ok and that she’d use some holiday money. I insisted but she refused and I finally told her that I wanted to be able to give her something and asked her to take it. Again she refused and said, “I don’t want it dad; you need it more than me.” I couldn’t even treat my 14 year-old daughter. I looked away because the tears just started and I couldn’t stop them. (It’s not easy trying to drive while looking out of your side window.) Then I just heard a quiet upset voice say, “Dad.” and when I looked the tears were streaming down her lovely face and she looked like her heart was breaking. I pulled over and we hugged each other for so long. I felt ashamed of me but so proud of her. She didn’t take the money and had a brilliant holiday.

20th August 2009

The training hasn't worked out because there wasn't enough of it to compensate for the benefit that would be taken off me. This system does not encourage people to find work through doing odd jobs here and there. You should be able to work for 16 hours and still get your benefit. Say you got £100, add £64 Jobseeker's to make £164 in a week. The money still isn't enough to live off and so you would still be looking for full-time work but at least you have a better chance of finding something by being out doing odd jobs and networking with others. What the extra money would do is take the pressure off a little ... not from finding a job but to just manage. My car tax disc ran out at the end of July and I've only now managed to scrape enough to buy a six-month one. If I could do a little on the side and not lose my benefit I would have afforded that sooner.

I mentioned an interview in my last entry ... it took an age to get feedback and it turns out that they are reviewing budgets and re-organising, after which the position may not be available but if is, I'd have to re-apply from scratch. Second time that's happened to me. I guess it's a sign of the times.

I've had a couple of agencies contact me and forward my CV so waiting to hear.

I've been working on contacting companies directly and in addition to my CV and a profile on LinkedIn, I've created a web site which expands on my skills and experience and I've started blogging. I think this will help to try and get an interview but may also attract companies who need consultancy or interim work.

I'm emotionally stronger than when I first started this diary and I think it's because I've spent a long time figuring out who I am, what I want to do and what I'm good at doing. Creating my web site and selling myself has helped me see that I do have much needed skills and has  been very therapeutic. It turns out that I'm a real catch and I just need to be found. ;0)

That's the really frustrating thing ... I'm crying out to work, to have a reason for getting up in the morning and to be able to take my daughter somewhere nice. I could be a real asset to some company to grow their business. But I don't know which companies are looking for people and they don't know I exist. And forget the internet job sites. I was told recently by an ex-recruitment agent that 80% of the jobs aren't real or have already been filled and that most senior jobs aren't advertised on them. Not only that but tens of thousands of other people are seeing the same job that I'm looking at and to cope with the numbers, our CVs first get passed through word-search software which rejects any that don't have the key words they're looking for. My ratio for applications to interviews is around 1 in 50. That's rubbish. So, I'm trying this direct approach ... it can't be any worse ... I'll let you know.

15th July 2009

“It has been a busy month, or at least it feels like it has been a busy month. I mentioned possibly doing some training and have been given the product training and am waiting to hear about a customer needing the training. I’ll get more in one day doing this that a week’s Jobseeker’s. Even though I’m allowed to do 16 hours paid work without losing my allowance, the reality is that they take off the allowance except for £5. So, if I get one day’s training for say £100, I will only get £5 from Jobseekers and so make a profit of around £45. So, I hope they offer more than one day a week. Either way it’s still better than the allowance and also makes me feel like an employed person for the day which should be good for the self-confidence.

I had a telephone interview for a marketing director role for a global electronics company last Thursday. It seemed to go well and will hopefully lead on to a face-to-face interview. I emailed the bloke at the recruitment agency who set it up for feedback and he emailed me back telling me to contact him and he’ll update me. I’ve since left a couple of voice messages but no reply. Is it me or shouldn’t he be the one calling me? It’s a bit like asking a customer to call you so that you can sell him something.

Maybe because there are so many unemployed, recruitment agents are the new estate agents. Remember, during the housing boom; estate agents couldn’t sell enough houses, did very little and got paid loads? I guess it’s now the turn of recruitment agents to promise loads and do sweet-fa. I can only assume that the interview didn’t go as well as I thought and the agent can’t be bothered to phone me to deliver bad news when he won’t get any commission out of me.

I remember back in May that WCU did a blog about the “Get Back to Work” website and downloadable free book [Ed: "Get back to work faster"] I downloaded the book and have been working through it. It’s all about increasing your profile on places like LinkedIn and even creating your own website as a back-up to contacting companies directly and gaining interest for interim work which could lead on to permanent. It shows you how to spot companies that might need your help and how to write emails/letters/voicemail that should spark their interest in at least talking with you. I’m now ready to make contact and am quite excited at the prospect. The reason why I’m excited is because the process to get to this point has been very therapeutic. It has helped me to remember that I do have very good skills and my confidence is far higher for having done it. For that reason alone it’s worth giving it a go. So, for now, I’m going to ignore the internet job sites and try this more proactive tactic.”

18th June 2009

I might not have the money but I know a bloody good friend who does. My friend Sarah who had the crappy divorce is lending me the money. Words fail me. She’s a star... she's a star.

Things are looking up…there really is light at the end of the tunnel.

17th June 2009

Now that was a surprise… I received a call from a credit card company who I owe rather a lot of money to. They made me an offer; in return for a lump-sum payment of 35% of the debt they would write-off the remaining 65%! I thought, “Wow… what an offer…what can I sell?” My body? Maybe twenty years ago. My motorbike has already been sold. Do I need both kidneys? What a shame I don’t have any money…what a shame.

1st June 2009

It was my birthday over the weekend which was a relaxing affair with my daughter and a couple of friends. The only black cloud was a court claim form from a DCA. I responded (recorded letter) in the time they set and still they have started court proceedings against me. A couple of months ago the original creditor said they would send me the forms to start a payment plan but instead passed the debt to a DCA. I have written to the DCA pointing out that I did respond in time and sent a SAR (Subject Access Request) letter to the original bank, let’s call them ‘Niteast’. I guess if I’m going to court I should get all my facts and the SAR will ensure I receive transcripts of all the telephone conversations which should include the one where they agreed to send me the forms.

Good news is that I may have some work on the horizon; no, not the one from the beginning of the year where they are now saying July for a decision, but from a training consultancy. I’m interested in this area of work so hope it goes well.

20th May 2009

Government have paid an advance to mortgage people to help pay off some arrears…woop, woop. Getting a feeling that things might be turning around.

I’m a strong believer in my gut feel. The job group sessions are definitely helping. Hope there’s one in every town and if there is then people should go to it.

14th May 2009

The government is going to pay for the interest on my mortgage! I hate them for what they’ve done to this economy and this crap about expenses is really the icing on the cake….but…they’re paying my mortgage! Today is better, feeling more positive and there’s a hint of possibly some consultancy work. Actually been looking at voluntary work and spoken to a local charity who would appreciate some help. This could be good for me while I do some good for others

29th April 2009

Today’s not been a good day. It doesn’t take much to turn a good day into a bad one. Doesn’t even need a reason. Hate my life; days are merging into each other. Bikers are out and there’s someone else blasting around on my bike… what’s on at the cinema?

22nd April 2009

Went to that group last night. Regardless of the advice it was just good to network with others like me and see intelligent people with years of expertise looking for work like me, feeling desperate and frustrated like me. One excellent piece of advice was to give myself a break, don’t be too hard on myself. She went to the cinema every Wednesday afternoon; it was very therapeutic.

19th April 2009

The sun has an amazing effect on emotion. It’s turning out to be a lovely spring and it’s difficult to be too down when you feel the warmth of the sun on your face. Heard about a local job group for unemployed managers; run by volunteers who were themselves once unemployed. They meet every week and next one’s in a couple of days…I’m going to go.

8th April 2009

Putting together a website and looking at e-marketing and blogs to try and promote my expertise. Apparently I need to network more.

23rd March 2009

Signing on is so depressing, I wonder if they believe how hard I’m working to find a job, not that they would give a monkey’s. Over 140 jobs and one interview, there must be a better way.

I’ve been doing tons of soul searching; reminding myself what I’m good at and deciding what I’d like to do given the choice. Maybe this is an opportunity to do something different.

13th March 2009

Since writing letters to creditors (sent recorded) they’ve been reasonable, backed-off and accepting of what I can afford. It’s amazing how reasonable people can be when it’s all in writing. Thank you Consumer Action Group.

Still no sign of any meeting with that CEO.

9th March 2009

I’ve been unemployed for over 13 weeks so can apply to have the interest on my mortgage paid by the government. Completed the (MI12) form and sent it off to mortgage provider. Hopefully this won’t take too long.

God I need a job…I’m going nuts.

3rd March 2009

Still applying for jobs and had to borrow from a friend again. I don’t think the mortgage people and my bank are going to be patient for much longer. Got feedback from a recruitment agent about the number of people who have applied for the job I have. He has 200 CVs to go through! 200!

28th February 2009

MD back…CEO on holiday…more delays…brilliant!

16th February 2009

I’ve not seen the CEO. I pushed for a date but none forthcoming. Want to shout at him to get a move on before I lose my house.

15th February 2009

I know I’m not the only one who wasn’t celebrating Valentine’s Day yesterday but it felt like it. I guess when there’s little good going on in your life any little event like this (which I would normally ignore) simply drags you down. Anyway, I’m still applying for jobs like mad but can almost picture them going in the bin. The electronics industry that I come from isn’t employing any marketing people and other industries can afford to pick only those that are in that particular industry. I still have to apply though because my remit with the Jobcentre is that I apply for at least 6 jobs per week.

28th January 2009

I had the second interview yesterday which, I thought, went extremely well. I received positive feedback today and the next stage is to meet the CEO which apparently is a formality. My potential boss has now gone on holiday to see family in America for a few weeks but I should be seeing the CEO whilst he’s away and could be ready to start on his return. Is that a light I see at the end of the tunnel?

19th January 2009

They like me and want me back for a second interview. Excellent…that’s really given me a long-overdue boost. Still applying for loads of jobs and getting ignored or rejected, but today, I feel ok.

16th January 2009

Well that went well. I’m not being sarcastic… it really did go well. I was interviewed for a senior position and think I presented myself well and felt pretty good. I’m still applying for loads of jobs from online jobsites but getting more and more disillusioned with the whole thing. I’ve tried to customise the CV to suit the job and include a well thought through cover letter. It’s amazing how long it takes to apply for these jobs just to get nowhere. I been told that cover letters don’t even get looked at and the CVs are being given 30 seconds look over by the agency looking for keywords that match keywords in the job. I could sell an IT software product with my eyes shut but haven’t worked for an IT company before so don’t have IT in my CV, which, I suspect, is the reason I haven’t had a single positive response from an IT-based inquiry.

12th January 2009

My mortgage provider has agreed to take a reduced payment. Still £60.50 a week isn’t enough for that, utility bills, food and petrol so I have borrowed another couple of hundred quid from another friend. When your pride is gone, it’s so easy to slip down the slope of self-loathing and feel that you’re worthless. When you’re trying to sell yourself to get a job, this is not a good place to be.

9th January 2009

I’ve got an interview! I must have applied for 70-odd jobs and only now got an interview. Anyway, I’ve got an interview. I haven’t sold these particular products before but something in my CV must have caught their eye. Fingers crossed.

8th January 2009

Tired of daily calls from the credit card companies; they don’t listen to anything I say, each conversation is like Groundhog Day. I owe them £x and need to pay a minimum of £y or I will default and could eventually lose my home. Looked online for any help and found a brilliant site (Consumer Action Group) [Editors note: believe this link should be] . There are so many people having the same issues and receiving advice from others who have been in the same situation…it’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one. Basic advice, don’t talk to them, instead write letters. I’ll start tomorrow. Tonight I feel a little better.

5th January 2009

New year…new start, blah blah blah. Try to be positive. All I want is an interview, a chance to show my skills, to convince someone that I’d do a bloody good job for them. I’ve got good experience and a good CV, why am I not getting any interviews?

I spoke to some agencies and the consensus is that there is very little out there and it’s getting worse. There are more people losing their jobs (I know a number of ex colleagues in my industry who have been made redundant) and less companies advertising. There are more people applying for fewer jobs. It’s become a buyer’s market and those that are advising can afford to pick and choose and so are only considering those CVs which have “perfect” fit.

Employers appear to insist that the candidate has the exact skills and experience in selling their products or services to their target markets. This brings the added benefit of a ready-made list of new potential customers. They are apparently being “risk averse”. This is so short-sighted; this “perfect” candidate may have baggage that they’ll bring with them or may not have been doing a particularly good job and whose customers are glad to see the back of. On top of that he or she is unlikely to have new fresh and innovative ideas. On the other hand, assuming that the new candidate has the necessary transferable skills, employing a less than “perfect” fit could have a positive effect on the organisation and come with new and innovative ideas. All I ask is a chance to show it.

27th December 2008

Abby was really pleased to see me when I picked her up yesterday, was really happy with her presents and no hint of being disappointed with the amount I got her. For a 13 year old, my daughter is amazingly mature and a rock in my life who is helping me to keep going. She understands I’m struggling and reassures me that she’s fine with staying in and not doing anything. She actually seems to go out of her way to pick me up with smiles, hugs, kisses and occasional “love you dad” out of the blue. I have turned away once or twice, hoping she won’t see the tears. 

It’s not being unemployed and having almost no money left that’s keeping me awake so much as the constant calls from credit card companies demanding money that I don’t have, showing little empathy and telling me about the consequences of defaulting. But, when you can’t pay, you can’t pay. Going to try and relax and concentrate on enjoying the few days I have with Abby.

Boxing Day

I’m so tired. Stop the world I want to get off. I’ve had enough of feeling like this. I’m tired of spending every waking hour worrying about my debts, about losing my house and not even a sniff of a job. I think I’ve hit rock bottom which I guess is a good thing because there’s only one way I can go now. This whole crap existence, hours spent worrying about my house, my credit rating and future has made me think about my life; what have I achieved? What do I want to do with the rest of it? What really matters?

Time is our most precious and most neglected possession. We work to pay-off our mortgage, surround ourselves with expensive things and then what? Retire and be too knackered to do much of anything. Why do we work our arses off during the best years of our life to make sure we have a house and enough money for when we retire? Life is a journey yes, but we shouldn’t live it until near its end; we should be enjoying the whole journey. Enough of this obsession to own a house, enough of working all hours to prepare for old age.

Take my house, it’s a beautiful big world out there and I’ve seen so little of it. I want to go travelling. Reading a book about vagabonding…sounds amazing. I want to work to get out of debt then I want to travel. I have good transferable skills, maybe I’ll travel and teach and who knows where I’ll end up. Wherever I end up, when my daughter has grown-up one thing I do know is that it will be anywhere but in this bloody country which is falling apart and being managed by a useless government and a weak leader.

20th December 2008

I’ve got my food bill down to less that £50 a week. I think about how much money I used to spend…waste before joining the start-up a couple of years ago. I’ve been pretty frugal the last couple of years, but nothing like this.

Christmas is fast approaching, I can’t justify getting a tree. I can get my daughter a present but that’s it. She understands and is fine that I can’t get her more (she’s brilliant). As if I don’t have enough to keep me awake, I worry that Abby will be embarrassed about her father (compared to her step-dad who has a very good job) and won’t want to visit me because I can’t afford to take her anywhere fun.

One of my close friends, Sarah, is going through a crappy divorce and will, like me, be on her own for a couple of days over Christmas, as her kids’ father will have them until then. She’s invited me over for a few days….we can be miserable together.

Merry f&*%ing Christmas.

19th December 2008

Another loan from another friend….another loss of pride replaced with a huge piece of humble pie. It would be so nice to be able to go out for a meal or even a drink without worrying about the cost.

15th December 2008

I’m starting to lose sleep. These debts and not yet even having an interview are starting to keep me awake. If I do sleep I wake up at 4am and can’t get back to sleep and lie in the dark worrying. The pressure feels almost literal and the atmosphere heavy.

It’s sometimes hard to get up in the morning. My day is filled with applying for more jobs, chasing agencies. I can’t just keep doing this so bought a couple of books on consultancy. I’ve got good business, sales and marketing skills, maybe I can find consultancy work for companies who still need expertise but can’t afford to hire full-time. I’ve got to stay positive, I have to tell myself I’m good at what I do and not getting a job or interview isn’t a reflection of me.

3rd December 2008

I’ve applied for 40 jobs so far with little feedback. There is no feedback from the online job-boards and little from actual agencies and so far no interview appointment. I’ve told the credit card companies that I cannot pay what I owe and as unemployed can only make token payments. They don’t like this but there is nothing I can do. I’m starting to get regular calls from them and I can feel pressure being applied. They now seem to not listen to my situation and simply want to know how much I can pay. I tell them I can’t and get told the dangers of defaulting and the affect on my credit rating. Nothing I can do but repeat I’m on jobseekers allowance and cannot pay more than a token £1 per month. Feel I’m wasting my time talking with these people on the phone and have started to ignore some of the calls. I can feel the stress building.

Sold my motorbike today so that I could pay for my mortgage and buy Abby a couple of Christmas presents…today was a really bad day.

1st December 2008

That was depressing but at least I’ll start getting some money and I guess I’m now officially unemployed. Have to sign on every other Monday and will be paid two-week’s worth of Jobseeker’s Allowance on the following Thursday. Approximately £120 every fortnight…there is no way that will cover my everyday outgoings never mind my mortgage and debts.

25th November 2008

I’ve spoken with my mortgage provider, bank and credit card companies. Mortgage and bank were very understanding and supportive and want to see proof of Jobseeker’s Allowance when that comes. Credit card companies are less so, but still positive that I spoke with them and I understand from the news that pressure is on creditors to be supportive as the country appears to be heading for a recession. They want to talk with me in a couple of weeks about the job hunting situation.

My CV was about five years out of date and having updated it I’ve now submitted onto some internet jobsites. Actually, there doesn’t appear to be that many senior management roles in the electronics industry. Maybe this is a good opportunity to try something different.

18th November 2008

A good friend has leant me some money so I can pay my mortgage. I am so grateful to him and other friends who have offered to help out. They are so supportive and I thank god for them. It does however, eat at your pride. I feel a chunk of mine was paid in return. No friend has made me feel this way but its how I feel. Again, I wonder how I got into such a situation. A few years ago I had plenty of money, drove a nice car and wasn’t concerned about the cost of something I wanted. I look back now at how much money I wasted.

12th November 2008

I’ve been unemployed before. I have been working in the electronics industry for twenty years and eight years ago was made redundant when the industry suffered a major dip. I was a little nervous but felt fairly confident that I would get another job pretty quickly and did just that. One month later, having three very good job offers, I joined a global Japanese company.

This time, I’m very nervous; having been a Director of a start-up which had been suffering for a while, there was no redundancy money available. I had also been on a much reduced wage to help build the company, resulting in no savings, credit card debts, and a mortgage.

Hopefully, I should get a job soon; well I need to because it won’t be long before I’ll be unable to pay utility bills and food, never mind my mortgage and the credit cards. I’ve not signed on before so this is a first. Spoke to the JobCentre on the phone and, half an hour later was told that I should qualify and have an appointment to see the local office next week.