Europe is fairly closed, the UK has a plan to open up, I haven't worked for 14 months, I have run out of money, we had no help from the either the UK or Italian Government until December and I felt plum useless! So, I headed back to the UK. An economic migrant at 53 in a pandemic, as an event site manager, when most agencies are going virtual and on site is a distant hope, so good luck with that!!
Various signals, like watching LinkedIn reports of people taking lots of calls for June onwards, festivals going ahead and the Olympics surging ahead, meant to me that change was in the air. As we all know planning takes place, months ahead, so it was just a case of getting on the phone and getting online to seek out old contacts and let everyone know, whom I have been telling for years I am available in Italy for work, that I am now in the UK.
Get on the phone then. A simple process that everyone has been doing during this time, to get what little work there has been around. Sadly, not a simple process for some of us, and I am sure I am not the only one when I say I find it really hard to do.
Whether it was my, being seen and not heard childhood, my English reticence at it being known that I needed help, or whether the 14 months of no calls meant that I wasn't needed anymore and I was irrelevant as the industry has moved on. Whatever the problem was, it was a problem. Prevarication became the order of the day, distractions like my blog, cleaning and eating, became more necessary than actually doing anything positive.
In 30 years plus, after the initial starting out years, I have been used to not worrying about work, as there was always been an abundance of it for everyone. We have all experienced this year, the sudden stop of that normal abundance, and those that were able to move into virtual events have proven what resilient and capable people we are, so suddenly not being required to be so, has been a big hit for many of us and certainly for myself.
I have had to come back from a few set backs in business before and when you are in it, you just "get on with it", find the solution and crack on. So, what's different this time.
Well, I had convinced myself that with so little work around currently, there must be more qualified, better connected and more geographically suited people, so I would be back of the queue. A normal emotion I find for me, but reading other people's posts on various medias, I know I am not alone. A business advisor years ago told me that as long as you beileve there is no work in August, there will be no work in August, so taking this advice I knew I had to do something, I just felt unable to do so.
"Prevaricating achieves many things, apart from the results you need", you can have that one from me!
I thought about how I was going to approach people and I had no answers, until two decisive things happened. I happened upon two people during the week that fuelled my fires and without knowingly doing so, they set me on a course to "getting on with it".
In my searches on LinkedIn, I come across industry professionals both offering and looking for work. I like the LinkedIn medium as you get a lot of diversity of industries and it gives me perspective as to what is happening in the general world of business which both interests me and it also enables me to see what the trends and possibilities are for new business.
So, I started with LinkedIn, searching for familiar faces and contacts and I also targeted some companies that are hiring and had positive news, re future projects and although maybe not my first port of call, as I didn't know them, I felt at least there was a chance of there being an opportunity. One of these people called me back, which felt amazing. Throughout the call, the positivity was uplifting and one thing that was said really rang inside me "unless you tell people what you can do, they will never know". Now, I'm not daft, I know this, but when you hear it from someone else, it dings bells inside that you know haven't been rung for a while. Self believe was something that I wasn't aware you needed to work on, or definitely not that I had to, but I obviously did, and I know I can do my job, to the point I am taking exams to consolidate that knowledge into a transferrable good, an NVQ6 in Site and Construction Management, for future clients, but, someone saying something simple like that made me stop and adjust. That "get on with it" gene in me was triggered. They very kindly put me forward to others they knew who are hiring and that believe in me, spurred me to crack on.
I then spoke to another person on my journey of new found believe and we talked about all sorts that made me realise after talking, that this lack of self belief is not only stopping me calling people but also stopping me realising what I have to offer and its that offering that has kept me working for the last 30 odd years.
So, being the system lover I am, I started going through my contacts on LinkedIn one by one. I am still working through them and hopefully I can get some more positive news as the week goes on. So far my job searching has rendered nothing concrete, but I have two zoom calls this week I didn't have before, and I have been in contact with a large amount of people who now know I am up and about and I also now have a new coach to guide me through this new phase in life and business as well as a new found believe that to paraphrase L'Oreal, "I am worth it".
Ironically of course two options for work have come up through my Italian connections for work in June and July, so one week on, things have changed already.
I am sure I am not alone in this and I hope by voicing it, anyone else who thinks the same way, may just take 5 minutes to realise what they have to offer and let other people know, regardless of what you personally think the job likelihood is, and tackle it and believe that you can still do the job you have been doing for years and the you are as vital to the industry as you were when you last worked. Writing this has made me confront issues that I wasn't aware I had and I have had some lovely phone calls from peers and former colleagues that remind me of my part in the Industry. If anyone wants to chat please message me and I am happy to listen, as others have to me.