My gap year

Exactly a week ago today I was made redundant. I was called up to an office in the HR department (never a good sign) and “let go” along with two of my colleagues. We were told they were closing the magazine as a result of a focus group investigation into the company.
You might wonder why on earth it has taken me so long to inform you of this dramatic development. Surely as I now have no job I have nothing to do and should be writing a blog daily. I have often looked at non-working mothers with a certain amount of disdain and wondered what their excuse is for a chipped nail, when they don’t have the tyranny of the office to keep them busy.
Now that I am one of them, I have only the greatest admiration. When you’re not working the days whiz by faster than a ride on the Leap of Faith. By the time you’ve kissed the kids goodbye, been nice to your husband, come back from the gym, planned lunch and answered some emails, it’s time for an afternoon kip and then the kids are back again.
I have to say my redundancy could not have come at a better time. I had been panicking about what to do in the summer. I had a total of about 10 days holiday but want to be in Europe, at La Belle Maison, for at least 60. Added to which, we have a lot of very important football matches coming up. Tomorrow Leo, Rupert and I fly to London where we will be going to Stamford Bridge for Chelsea v Newcastle followed by Wembley for the FA Cup final. Then there’s Munich for the Champions League final.
So there is plenty to keep me busy. Added to which I am on the final edits of one book and have just started another.
I have yet had anyone ask me what I do though. Never in my life have I had the luxury of saying “nothing” or “I look after my nails, sorry, my children” and I wonder if I will feel uncomfortable admitting that I have no ostensibly useful role in society any more? Especially somewhere like here, where you are defined by your career and the amount of money you earn.
I might just tell people I’m on a gap year. It sounds less drastic than “redundant” and a lot more like fun. Whatever else there is an enormous sense of freedom as I look forward to an office-free spring and summer filled with historic footballing victories, tennis and long walks in the Savoie. And what better day to write about it on than May 1st, the day that commemorates the working man, or woman (poor blighters).
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2012

3 thoughts on “My gap year

  1. Helena, I thought of you immediately this morning when I picked up the paper, saw the shiny blue sheet in which it was wrapped and read about all the changes. But none of this makes any sense. Do National readers really want a glossy mag merely full of ads for luxury items with no journalism, no features, no local feel? I certainly don’t! And it’s copying the FT’s How to Spend It, surely? (And who on earth takes that seriously?!?) Some of the changes do make sense, such as publishing the weekend edition on a Friday for that does allow readers more time to digest all the supplements. But dropping M is major mistake. Ciao. M

  2. Sorry to hear that M has folded up–pun intended! This uncertainty of “how-long-will-this-last” is probably the worst part of that country. Every organisation is run on a whim. ‘Here today, gone tomorrow’ is the order of the place. The only consolation is that everybody there knows this, so one doesn’t feel too bad.

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