Having followed Sandra over at Quirkybooks for quite a while, I was delighted to make her my first in-depth interviewee. Experiencing unemployment last year, it’s nice to see a book that helps people get out of the benefits cycle…unlike the job centre.
- – First off, congratulations on your getting your book published, how are you feeling now it’s out there?
Hi Ste. Thank you so much for having me on your blog. It feels amazing to finally have my book published and available on Amazon, especially as it’s taken me a little over two and a half years to write it. It feels like I am finally doing what I was born to do with my life and that is to write and to help others; particularly those who have been made redundant to get back into work. I also feel like the hard work has just begun, and there is so much more that I want to do and need to do, to get my book to reach a wider audience.
- – Can you give a brief overview of the contents and aims of the book?
My Break Through The Barriers Of Redundancy book is a complete A-Z system for getting back into work, and a comprehensive guide about how you can recover from the devastating effects of redundancy to live the life of your dreams. Although this book is predominantly aimed at redundant workers, the content will prove equally useful to job seekers or anyone looking to change careers for whatever reason. It uniquely provides 80 benefits and covers 26 aspects of redundancy. It’s a system because each of its chapters is broken down into ‘5 components of redundancy’. You need to master all components in order to give you the best chance of success at getting back into work. Because this book takes a holistic view of redundancy, it will revolutionise the way you think about redundancy, job-seeking and life in general. One of the key components to master first of all is wellbeing skills, before exploring what options are available to you and learning the practical job skills. Although they are interwoven throughout the book, because what we feel and think about on the inside (our internal environment), reflects on what actions we take to change our external environment.
This book is different because it does not just focus on one element of redundancy, but on the many barriers you need to conquer if you are to successfully get back into work. I show you how to deal with the inner trauma and turmoil of being made redundant such as grief and depression; before focusing on the practical elements such as job-hunting, CV and cover letter writing; and dealing with tough interview questions, so you can make an informed choice about which future path you should take.
The 5 components of redundancy are:
1. The inner elements (Care for the inner you)
• A is for Antidote to beat redundancy blues
• F is for Fun
• L is for Love Yourself
• R is for Rejuvenate,
• Z is for Zebra
Mindset and attitude:
• J is for Job-hunting
• K is for Keep
• P is for Persistence
• B is for Breathing Space
• H is for Help
• I is for Interview
• Q is for Quit your job
• V is for Voluntary Work
• W is for Work Experience
3. Exploring options:
• D is for Dream Job
• O is for Opportunities
• S is for Self-employment
4. Outer elements (How others perceive you):
• C is for Confidence
• E is for Express Yourself Clearly
• G is for Great Customer Service begins at home
• M is for Marketing
• N is for Networking
• U is for Unquestionable
5. Persuasion Skills – An irresistible offer:
• T is for Transferable Skills
• X is for X-Ray (Xtra Reasons to Appoint You)
• Y is for Yes
Focusing on wellbeing skills first, is essential in getting you successfully back into work. So for example, if you have job skills, but not the confidence to project that to recruiters in an interview, you are not going to get the job. Confidence is achieved by learning to love yourself for who you are and believing in yourself, when others don’t. I show you how to love yourself and project confidence to recruiters to get that job
– It’s taken two and a half years of hard work to write your book, how are you feeling?
Relieved it’s finally out there, it’s a fantastic book and one I am so proud of. I am glad it’s taken me as long as it has to write it, because it is no ordinary book. It crosses two genres, an A-Z Guide with a ‘How To’ book and does not just provide job-seeking advice and help, but is a complete system for getting back into work. I have put everything I have learnt in this book, to help me in my journey from depression to recovery, from being redundant, to successfully getting back into work, from not knowing what my purpose is in life, to being able to find it and live my dreams, so I can help others to do the same. In that way, there is an autobiographical feel to it, at the same time it is completely targeted to the needs of job seekers, particularly those who have been made redundant. This book does not just give job-seeking skills, but life skills and wellbeing skills, and those are priceless. I feel that once you read the book, you will be ‘Wow! This is amazing, so much to learn.’ Because this book takes a holistic view of redundancy and that’s usually unheard of, you will never look at job-seeking in the same way again.
– In your experience what is the worst part of being redundant?
The grief you feel if you enjoyed the job, and your worries about lack of money and how you are going to pay your bills and how long it’s going to take you to find another job. Then your self-esteem and confidence can plummet. I have seen some people go from being a confident person to a nervous wreck, who doubts their own abilities. I have seen others go from being a positive person, who is glowing, to a person struggling to come to terms with their situation; and it seems their hope and love of life, is being torn away from them. It’s really hard losing your job. It can be devastating and heartbreaking.
– It’s all too easy to get into a malaise about the job market, what advice would you have for a long-term unemployed person looking for work with gaps in their CV?
This question can be a double-edged saw, and the answer is twofold. Firstly, there is a section in my book that directly answers what you should do if you have gaps in your CV. If it’s to do with being sacked, I cover that in a separate section. So if you are talking literally about the CV, you would need to fill in those gaps as much as possible with things like job-seeking, looked after a family member, went travelling, did voluntary work or similar. Which brings me nicely onto my second point. If you want to get back into work after having long periods of being out of work, and you do not have a continuous pattern of work and/or work experience, you need to take action now. So go and do voluntary work and/or work experience relative to work you would like to do. Offer to do a free work trial in the specific place where you want to work. If you do a great job and can prove you can do the job, then if a vacancy comes up and you happen to be there, or you are still in touch with them and raring to go, you stand a much better chance of getting the job over others. Take courses and classes to bring your skills and experience up-to-date and keep learning and developing yourself at every available opportunity. I discuss work experience and voluntary work in more detail in my Break Through The Barriers Of Redundancy book. Read chapters W is for Work Experience and V is for Voluntary Work.