Lakshmi's incredible comeback
I came back to the UK from New Zealand last February, just before lockdown. It was complicated to say the least! it was so difficult trying to set myself up from scratch; nothing was in place. I didn’t have an established support network, my accommodation wasn’t sorted, and even getting basic provisions from the shops was difficult. I returned to Britain to be closer to family, and my elderly mother, but when the first lockdown was announced everything just stopped.
The sudden isolation was too much to cope with. I was unemployed, living out of suitcase, and like many cut-off from everyone and everything. I had planned to join some professional organisations in April and May, but instead I found myself spiralling into a depression.
How would I look after myself? What should I do? Where should I go? I was worried about my finances, my prospects, I was worried about everything and just felt stuck.
For several months it was doom and gloom. I felt tearful, anxious and very depressed. I found myself sinking lower and lower in terms of my mood; it was very dark time for me.
I had one night which was incredibly difficult; the next morning I called the doctor. She immediately put me on antidepressants, and I was referred for therapy. I had several free CBT talking sessions. Within these sessions I was also signposted to other resources which might be potentially helpful, one of which was Twining Enterprise.
That’s when I was placed with my employment specialist Monique. She was amazing! She actually listened to me, and also asked constructive questions about how I envisioned moving forward. Together we were able to start mapping out a journey of how I could rebuild my confidence, re-establish a network and ultimately get a job. With unwavering positivity, she helped with the CV, job-searching, alongside interview preparation. As a result, I felt myself gradually recovering. That old feeling of self-empowerment which had been crushed because of lockdown, started to rise up. The more we worked together, the better I felt.
I have to admit though, at first, I didn’t think I was ready. I wasn’t there yet, neither in terms of my mental health or general situation. I was still waiting for my shipment to arrive, and so felt a bit all over the place. However, by the end of August early September I began looking at job sites. One of the hardest things for me was not knowing who the main recruiters were. The labour market is different here, and I didn’t know how to navigate it. That’s another thing Monique helped me with.
It was pitiful though! I tried so many things, but nothing was working. I wasn’t getting any responses. I had qualifications and experience, but I couldn’t get any results. By Christmas I was in a slump and feeling utterly exhausted. I’m not going to do anything now, I thought. I can’t take anymore rejections! I resolved to just wait a bit and see out Christmas. At this point Monique had given me lots of advice and signposted me to different job sites. I’d retailored my CV countless times, so I needed to take a break. As a result, my Christmas was very relaxing.
Out of nowhere, some recruitment company found my CV online and contacted me about a potential opportunity. I was shocked. The position was for an office and finance manager at a small-medium sized family-run IT company; and it’s as if the job description was written directly for me. I couldn’t believe. I said YES, absolutely! Within two weeks I got the job.
The lockdown was scary for me. I had several months which were terrible, but then at the end started a new role. Since my start date at the beginning of January, I’ve been able to recover my mental health, and rebuild my self-belief. Not only that, I’ve already introduced positive changes to the workplace. I’m enjoying it, and so for me it’s the perfect outcome.
As I was saying to Monique, I’d lost confidence, credibility, and the affirmation that I could do anything. I’d forgotten what I was capable of. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have been able to cope. Her professionalism, the way she conducted herself, her patience, the fact she’s so easy to talk too, meant I felt supported all the way. She really cared about my progress and listened to me.
Twining Enterprise is an amazing organisation. Because of this charity, I was able to get the help and support I needed to rebuild my life: I learnt how to construct a CV, practice interviews, navigate the the ever-changing job market, but most of all I also learnt to believe in my own capabilities. The irony is that when you’re not in work you think everyone is ok, but the truth is everyone is struggling; even those who are in work. Young people and older people, everyone in working population is struggling. I feel I’m not alone in this, everyone’s going through it right now; and while people tell you you’ve got to be resilient, it’s not always realistic. It’s ok even when things are not ok.
Organisations like Twining Enterprise are changing lives, and transforming difficult situations to one’s with positive outcomes.
Rather than just going through the motions or talking about it, they helped me forge out a new career pathway. They were a lifeline. I cannot thank them enough.