Friday, 12 October 2012

Flashbacks of a Fool?

Twelve months ago I was going through a very bad time. I'd been trying to keep my business  afloat for over a year. I'd taken financial and industry specific advice, I'd made all the cutbacks I could think of.  I'd ended up in therapy for stress and all I could see was doom and gloom. The whys and wherefores I've blogged about previously so will not repeat them now.

My therapist at the time used to say "so what?" "will the world come to an end if your business fails?" I thought yes, very much so, my world would collapse. I'd borrowed heavily to buy the business off my former employer, the interest which was based on the LIBOR system was crippling me and I'd been unable to renew essential stocks for months.

I'd spent twenty years working in the same place, climbing the ladder from tea boy/filing clerk through management and into a directors role. I then became the owner. All signs were that I would do well, my accountant even worrying that I would make too much money. At first all went well.. Then the banking crisis and  global recession  hit hard. On October 13th last year I closed the doors and ceased trading.

I was devastated. It did feel as if my world had indeed collapsed. I felt shame, guilt, remorse and anger.  I floated through meetings with insolvency practitioners and creditors, I met with old friends who told me I'd had no chance with the state of the economy and the fact my staff had turned against me. The cutbacks I'd had to make were not popular. I hated making them but they were the only way I could think to save money.  My ex employer was also in the background having decided he didn't like retirement. Three months after I'd closed the doors he bought the business assets for a fraction of their true value and is now back at the helm, with most of my ex employees working for him...

Que sera sera... I survived that too. The therapist was right... My world changed but did not collapse. In truth, having the pressures of business removed allowed me to concentrate on myself for the first time in decades. I published my debut book in March this year and whilst it isn't a best seller I am proud of it. Very proud of it.

Life has become much harder. Employment is still something that eludes me. My family and I have made many sacrifices this last year. During the eight months before I had to close my business and the months since I have also been trying to deal with the memories of abuse that still surprise me now and then.

At the moment much is at stake. Nobody seems to want to employ an ex employer. I have learnt many skills over the last twenty five years. Before last year I'd not spent more than a few weeks unemployed since leaving University. I've so much to give but it seems I am fighting an impossible fight.

The Internet has become a lifeline in so many ways. It's allowed me to not only share my own experiences but also to learn from other peoples. It's allowed me to bare my inner self, to hopefully show that there is no shame in saying "I'm a MALE survivor of childhood sexual abuse & adult rape" I've "met" some pretty awesome and amazing people this last year or so. I've grown as a person and have also been deeply moved and humbled by the stories and kindness of others. Thank you for that.

The future is again a scary place. I doubt I can continue to maintain an online presence after December. The money is simply not going to be there. I'm trying to get my second book into some semblance of sense but am struggling because of the intensity of emotions writing it presents. Again I'm told "so what" etc etc. ok... I survived the collapse of my business but now will soon face the collapse of everything else. That really scares the pants off me.

I'm a fighter, a survivor. I've lived through several layers of hell and come out fighting. Then though I wax fighting just for myself. Now I have a family to consider too and I again feel shame, guilt and a huge sense of failure because I will be letting them down.  None of us knows what tomorrow will bring. I hope that my tomorrow brings gainful and paid employment.

If you're still reading then I thank you. I hope this doesn't come across as self pity because that is certainly not my aim. On top of everything else I don't want to let you, my readers, down either. I'm doing something I enjoy, I'm apparently helping others. I wanted to work with people after I left school but my father wanted me to follow his footsteps into engineering. I hate machines... They have no feeling, no "soul". I'm told I have a heightened sense of empathy, great if working with people but useless when working with machines or metal....

I've no idea what life has in store for me, I can only cling onto the one thing that has always got me through... HOPE.


Anonymous said...

I have recently come across your blog. Thank you for sharing and so honestly. I lost my job due to ill health a year and a half ago. I too had doctors saying so what to all my fears/worries about what losing my job would mean. At the time I did not feel very understood. I was told I needed to concentrate on getting well physically and dealing with past traumatic events at the same time as working would not enable me to recover physically or emotionally. Life has been hard and loss of personal income dealing with benefit system has impacted physically and emotionally in a negative way. However I am working to healing from traumatic events and this journey I indeed could not have taken if still employed. I do hope to one day be recovered and back working. I tell you this to say I understand the fear, the feeling of losing everything-that is a valid fear. Yet we do survive even if with some more battle scars. It helps us connect to help more people. I hope all works out well for you and indeed you manage to stay online. Perhaps there would be some voluntary or charity funding avail to fund your blog?
I believe in God so I hope I don't offend you by saying I will pray that you find a solution to all obstacles in your path including employment. Thank you. Behind The Smile.

Unknown said...

Thank you for being honest and sharing Jan. I resonate with your fears re finances and long to be financially independent (and be able to work again).

You are doing so much for the CSA community--you are a strong force. I am proud to be a part of it and to have connected with you.

I will be sending you loving vibes through my meditation.


Beyond the tears said...

I relate to the desire to help people especially advocacy. However, it does not pay. I hope you find a way to earn an income AND remain a solid on-line presence.

Dan said...

Almost every wealthy person alive has been involved in a business that failed.

They aren't known for that though. They aren't known for that, they are known for their success.

How many times did Edison fail at inventing the lightbulb? Who cares. We aren't defined by our failure, we're defined by what we do after.

You worked your way up and managed a business before. You can do it again.

You know how the system of business works and you mastered it. The economy dealt you a bad hand. Now it's your turn to rise up again.

When you owned your business, you were at the top. You tumbled a bit these past few years, but that's over. Start climbing again.

Let your next book be about your journey to the top... for the 2nd time.

Anonymous said...

Being poor is nothing 2b ashamed of. It's just a business. It's not a living breathing thing. The things that I have read at your door has in some way touched me as well as others. Giving 2 other living breathing things is what we all were put on this earth 4. In one capacity r another. I of all people know that doesn't put food on the table yes it's a struggle but LOVE is all this world needs. Keep pushing on and a door always opens

Beyond Survivor said...

The responses to this post have both moved me and helped me immensely.

I am not a failure.. I am me. Maybe I feel things more deeply because of my background, maybe it hurts more.., BUT I'm survivor. Money, position and "power" does NOT buy happiness. I didn't like me back in those days but I do like the man I have become since,

Love and happiness are not prizes.

Money may appear to bring both, but it's false.

I have more friends now than ever before in my life. I feel more love, more belonging, more connected.

Thank you...


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