Redundancy, last day at work is Fri 14th July*

Hi All,

After fifteen years as a staff photographer on a regional newspaper I have been made redundant. My last day is Friday 14th July. I'm 56, a biochemistry graduate, with ten years to run on my mortgage. I'm single and I live alone. I'm also pretty terrified.

I've looked back and found a thread here posted by Kevin-W from about fifteen years ago. consequently I've bought and read the allegorical Who Moved My Cheese?  I get it but do I want to do more photography? To help me find an answer I'm pressing my company to offer me outplacement as part of the package. As well as a statutory redundancy payment, the package will also include two months pay in lieu of notice (they asked me to work the first month of three), my unused holiday for the year, my days earned in lieu, and as many cameras, lenses and flashes I can sweep up for a nominal £500 as I can. Not the gift-horse it might appear due to age and non-serviceability of a lot of it. The company's car, laptop and phone will be returned.

A forum mate has urged me to check my pension details carefully.

All I know of Lightroom and shooting Raw is that they exist. My Photoshop skills are limited, but good enough to get an image onto a page in a hurry. My business skills are virtually non-existent.

On the plus side the kind of jobs I have really enjoyed over the last couple of years have been anything to do with both the elections, (the PM twice, John McDonnell once), Southampton FC (home and away), and anything with a social justice element (a wrong righted etc). Also anything musical or theatrical which is shot live.

Talking of Southampton FC, the club photographer is a good friend and former colleague. He's suggested I could be his 'second shooter' for home games, quickly filing a maximum of twenty frames for the club's site and future match day programmes. What a pleasure that could be if I had a 9-5 day job Mon-Fri. Obviously it would need a lay out on my part for very decent camera(s) and MacBook Pro etc but not insurmountable from the redundancy pay out...

The hardest bit comes last. I have really valued the paper's camaraderie even the mock horror of "Chris, we were looking for something tight and bright for the front and you've come back with this toshy smudge ffs". "And when are you gonna give us a sharp one?" A full-time freelance existence looks very lonely in comparison.

Any positive advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated to help me get beyond the slightly teary, anxious confusion of the present. Thanks.

Chris

* Yes, I know it's Bastille Day!

 

Original Post

I got made redundant last year for the first time ever. Great day��

Dont know what your finances are like Chris but, as you brought it up yourself, now you're 56 you may be able to make use of your accrued pensions with care to supplement future earnings, this may give you more/nicer employment options? Pensions and cameras are about the two things I know about!

Hi Chris,

Sorry to hear your news.  I've been there, known the panic and the fear of the unknown.  It's easy for me to sit here and say "Don't worry" but seriously don't let the situation overwhelm you.  I was made redundant from an £80k job at the age of 55 with a huge mortgage and no savings... it was the best thing that's happened to me.  Once the initial fright had subsided (and it will, trust me) I was able to think about what I wanted to be doing for the next 10 years.  Initially it was 'look for the same job', but those jobs just weren't available to a 55 year old, as testified by many hundreds of application letters, none of which received a reply, so I thought of a company name, registered it, opened a bank account in that name and started advertising in the local free paper, offering my services.  What I chose to do is irrelevant to you, suffice to say it was something that involved the public at large, it was a service that folk wanted and it was unique in that I targeted people in their later years and didn't overcharge for the service... and I enjoyed doing it, even though I'd never done it before !

So take the time in the next few weeks to imagine yourself doing something that really interests you, and then head right on down that route.

I wish you the best of luck and a clear head for figuring what to do.

Oh, and the bad news?  What I chose to do didn't pay £80k, I had to sell the house (but not the hifi), and downsize, but these things are never as bad in reality as they are in your mind... another thing you should trust me on !

If you're anywhere near the North West & feel the need of a chat, I'm here, PM me

 

I cannot offer any good suggestions, but I can offer you empathy. I am 59 and on the verge of redundancy myself. (My "redundant half" will be in Hyderabad working for about a quarter to a third of what I make.) Don't know exactly when it will happen, but best guess is just before the holidays (that has been an annual tradition where I work) or by fiscal year end (March 31) by which time I will be 60 - and finding a new job with a significant age digit of "6" is not a good place to be...and I need to work for "real" pay until age 70. (See next paragraph.)

To make matters worse, I am buried in student loan debt. ($168K balance; $1,100 a month, of which only about $140 goes to principle.) Don't EVER let people tell you it's never too late to go back to school...at least not in the "Land of the Free" anyway.

All I can say is if you enjoy what you do (and it sounds like you do) then hopefully you will be able to find ways to make it to your pension. We have already had layoffs, and many of those in our general age group have not fared well here on the job market. (One guy was a manager, 61 years old, and now he's making $15 an hour - funny how burger flippers think they are worth as much as he is with loads of education and experience). OTOH a few have been able to land on their feet, so there is always a chance.

One guy with long tenure was slated to retire in June; instead he got let go at the end of March, and because of his years of service his severance will pay him until October - talk about hitting one out of the park! Retire 3 months early and get paid full salary for 6 more months!

But with your experience in a specialty skill I can hope that for you it will be different. Of course, as a person on the cusp of a similar experience, I can only wish you the very best and that you land on your feet in a situation that is sufficient for your needs.

rjstaines posted:

Hi Chris,

Sorry to hear your news.  I've been there, known the panic and the fear of the unknown.  It's easy for me to sit here and say "Don't worry" but seriously don't let the situation overwhelm you.  I was made redundant from an £80k job at the age of 55 with a huge mortgage and no savings... it was the best thing that's happened to me.  Once the initial fright had subsided (and it will, trust me) I was able to think about what I wanted to be doing for the next 10 years.  Initially it was 'look for the same job', but those jobs just weren't available to a 55 year old, as testified by many hundreds of application letters, none of which received a reply, so I thought of a company name, registered it, opened a bank account in that name and started advertising in the local free paper, offering my services.  What I chose to do is irrelevant to you, suffice to say it was something that involved the public at large, it was a service that folk wanted and it was unique in that I targeted people in their later years and didn't overcharge for the service... and I enjoyed doing it, even though I'd never done it before !

So take the time in the next few weeks to imagine yourself doing something that really interests you, and then head right on down that route.

I wish you the best of luck and a clear head for figuring what to do.

Oh, and the bad news?  What I chose to do didn't pay £80k, I had to sell the house (but not the hifi), and downsize, but these things are never as bad in reality as they are in your mind... another thing you should trust me on !

If you're anywhere near the North West & feel the need of a chat, I'm here, PM me

 

Very good advice, I was made redundant nearly five years ago at the age of 58 also single mortgage free but you still have feeling of panic and how are you going to survive.

I had worked for the company for 33 years starting as a Motor Technician but working up to being the Group Transport Manager when I finished one of the Directors said I ought to work for myself as a Transport Consultant I duly registered a company name and for VAT ended up  working for myself for just over three years.

I only wrapped the business up last year due to Diabetic eyesight problems which led to the suspension of my driving license and after looking at my pension options I was able to retire but I did enjoy the time working for myself and made enough money to live on.

It's quite surprising what you can do when you put your mind to it.

Good advice to look at your pension options it could help in your decision on what to do next one final point when I got made redundant I too had a company car and was paid three months salary in lieu of notice but also got paid for three months loss of use of a company car which was quite a chunk of money.

All the best for the future .

 

Chris sorry to hear about your job situation. Losing a job at any time can be painful and certainly, at least for me, moving over the age of 50, there was an added sense of dread. I had been down this road in my early 50's when I went through a four year period where I collected unemployment for a year and went back to school, then worked for a company for two years at 1/2 my previous salary, then they went under and found a job selling motorcycles which cut my income once again. Did that for a year and finally got back into my original field of work as a contract worker for 29 months, then landed a steady job with another place for 9+ years now. So at 65 I may get to retire in a couple of years......  I guess all I am trying to say is hang in there, things can look like crap for awhile but there is a good chance they will turn the corner.

I have a love of photography and have taken a number of educational workshops and courses. So if you need to upgrade your skills there are a lot of workshops and college courses for digital processing. Perhaps you can look at your present company funding some of the retraining. 

Along the way I have meet a number of former photographers/photojournalists that have lost employment due to companies outsourcing work and using stock photos. Newspapers/magazines losing subscribers revenue certainly has had an impact. We now live in a world where everyone has a camera in the hand and  along with the availability to grab photos on WWW has certainly had an impact on a once thriving field. A lot of photographers out there have had to move on and find a new niche to make a living.  

The one thing I did do when I was out of work (after the initial panic passed) was I would get up in the morning and apply for three jobs online or send out three resumes to companies. Then I went out and enjoyed the day. Free time is something we don't get as often as we like and when it is presented we have to take advantage of it. Once you find another job you will most likely be keeping your head down for quite awhile before you will have vacation time available. 

Anyway sending along a good thought and a prayer that things work out for you. Best of luck!

Sucks. I can empathize with your situation as I am 50 ish with a stellar resume but am completely unemployable. I hope things work out for you but I wouldn't count on traditional methods of $ making. You'll need to really think and act outside the box. The best advice I can give anybody with a life expectancy > 15 years is invest in Bitcoin & Ethereum. In 10 years it'll likely be worth a fortune. The hard part is getting through that span of time in one piece.

Chris,

You are a kind, giver on this forum.  People like you, who have technical skills and experience are not common.  Now is the time to feel the value and power of the experience you bring to market; but marketing is never easy.

I wish you all of the success your unique experience and spirit are due.

Nick

Chris

I see many people at work who have been made redundant and the experience can be akin to bereavement. That may sound depressing but it is not meant to be. I use that analogy to explain that there is a progression; of immediate distress, anger, a period of adjustment and then a process of resolution.

My best advice is to view this as opportunity. Work at looking for work (as someone else said; set your alarm, set tasks for every day) but also perhaps take the opportunity to do other things. To read some books you've always put aside, to get fit, to fix the broken garden fence, learn to make bread, to re-connect with friends or family. Do a bit of volunteering, apart from the obvious benefit it may also connect you to a new social group having left the workplace. Most important take time to consider your future in a measured way. It can be hard to do that in the immediate aftermath but my experience is that decisions taken in great haste in these situations are not always the best. You do have time with your exit payment, and even just a few weeks breathing space may give you perspective and also clarity on what you actually want and the options are available to you.

A practical suggestion. You might be able to access some  training at your local college in some of the skills you mention as lacking. If you sign on at your local job centre as looking for work it is possible that you may get financial support with this or at least pointed in the correct direction. I think there are also UK Govt schemes for helping people who might be considering setting up as self employed. I don't know the details but I believe there is a bit out there. Your Bank might also have resources too.

Best Wishes

Bruce

Sorry to hear about your situation. I was also made redundant age 51 and when I got home with the news my 'then wife' said 'What are you going to do'!!!. (I am no longer with her). Be careful of the Outplacement companies as a lot seem to offer a lot but in fact turn out to be sticking plaster for gunshot wounds firms. A book I would recommend is What Colour is your Parachute. As others have said you will get through this. My leaving was the best career move that I made

Sorry to hear your news. I was made redundant at around 50. It's perhaps easy to slide into a bit of depression, but try and think of it as a fresh start. Limitless opportunities, that sort of thing. I have no relevant advice for a new career, but would encourage you to stay physically active. Maybe even look at it as the chance to get into the "best shape of your life". Self respect comes in many forms and from many sources. That it comes from our careers is true, but it's not the only source.

Good luck with whatever you choose.

Hi Chris,

There is a point where experience, skills, and abilities meet a horizontal asymptote from the employer's perspective and it makes economic sense to pay the less experienced, lower wage earner once that asymptote is hit. It certainly depends on the level of technical skill involved in the job and the efficiency of a given employee, but in many fields the older employee with annual wage increases prices himself out of the market. I've recently realized that very factor. The company I worked for for 23+ years fell upon hard times and had to release employees, including me at age 54. If and when they recover they can hire younger, reasonably experienced folks to fill my former position at a lower wage. I get it.

My response? Accept a 'lesser' job in the same field earning 2/3 of my former wage - years of experience only go so far. To some extent I feel like I've taken a backward step, but I'm happy to be employed. My daughter two years out of college with an undergraduate degree now makes more than me with a masters degree. Great for her and I'll get by.

Your post said you're looking for positives. My advice would be a positive attitude;

1) give yourself a reality check. Accept you're going to be working for less. "Redundant" means there's plenty of capable others that can fill your role for a lower cost. In the case of a 'a staff photographer on a regional newspaper' in the internet-age your job may border on obsolete - sorry if that sounds harsh

2) polish your resume and interview with any offering you can, even if only for the interview experience

3) no employer cares about your mortgage, the debts you've incurred, or what your were formerly paid, only what you can presently offer the company (I realize you get that, but it sets a tone)

4) rather than be terrified, view this turn of the page as a new beginning. Tell yourself a better life begins at 56

5) explore your particular skills outside photography and where they might transfer to alternate fields. Who knows, maybe you're a latent teacher?

6) above all, don't allow yourself to wallow in any sort of self-pity. Plenty of others here made it through similar circumstances.

Heads up and best wishes,

Randy

 

I think everyone here has shown that redundancy is not anything like the end of the world. As I worked in IT, as it was then known,  I was used to job hopping but my final 'permanent' stint lasted about 10 years before being made redundant at 52 years of age when the company was taken over. I had a small pension which did not really compensate for the loss of my substantial salary. I still had a large mortgage and things did not look that great.

I was offered and took a job that meant us moving to the other side of the country and renting out our permanent home. This position was not much fun and lasted about 18 months. I was then offered a project management contract which was very enjoyable and quite successful. When that finished I decided that I had had enough and at 56 I packed it all in.  My wife had to do a couple more years to gain her full pension entitlement but  the minute that time arrived we packed headed back to our original home. 

As a hobby I dabble in stocks and shares, so what with endowments maturing, pension bonuses, and house sales (I had bought a second home before being made redundant) we cleared our mortgages and are able to live very comfortably on pensions and investment income. In fact I can afford to pay for half of all my grandchildrens school fees, still live comfortably and not touch capital.

Most of this resulted from me being made redundant and having to show some flexibility and initiative, but initially it was pretty fraught. Anyway, there is always light out there.

Hi Chris,

I empathise with your situation. I have only been made redundant once, and that was by choice when the government organisation I was working for decided to re-structure. Non-the-less, it was a worrying time.

After careful thought (difficult to do initially) I decide to return to my “roots” as a pilot and offer my services on a freelance basis as a flying instructor – you can’t operate in the commercial/airline world when you are over 65.

It has worked out reasonably well. First, and to me most importantly, I enjoy what I do and secondly, it’s a worthwhile job – teaching and helping others to develop either a career or a pastime. Six years ago, when this all happened, the industry was slack or almost dead. But I used a network of acquaintances and was lucky enough to find work on the equivalence of a full-time basis.

I guess, based on my experience, things could look difficult for a while, so look as widely as possible at realistic options, including past engagements. I also have a degree and professional qualification in engineering so I also looked at options in that sphere. Take a short-term option if that seems to help financially – it might even develop into a good long-term option. Don’t be afraid to keep in touch with your existing organisation, they might be glad of your skills on a freelance, ad-hoc basis.

As others have said, split your time between enjoying your “freedom” and developing your future career. Don’t “bottle” things up. Talk to others, including us on this forum, about your concerns as well as your hopes and aspirations. It will help.

Cheers

Don

As a practical (even if only part-time) suggestion, I have a very good friend who is a photographer, and he is doing OK. He could not handle the life as a pencil pusher in Korproate Amerika and quit to follow his passion. He now covers a lot of music stuff, does musician photo shoots (in fact he just worked the Doobie Brothers the other night and sent me a shot from the show), has done album covers for Manuel Barrueco, James Galway, the Avett brothers, WIllie Nile, etc.  and sells some of the really good photos he has taken on a web site...this latter part a new part of his venture - passive (or semi-passive) income is always best. He even did a photo shoot with Keith Emerson a few months before he died.

If you google Jeff Fasano Photography you can see what he has done. Perhaps a similar avenue could work for you? Especially since you have the in for sports stuff already.

Another thing that does well here is photographers who show up at youth hockey tournaments and take good photos of peoples' kids playing. You wouldn't believe the kind of money parents are willing to shell out for a good action shot of "sweet thing" playing his/her sport. Especially if you figure out how to make it a package deal with a nice matte and plaque with the kid's name, number, team, date, etc.

Maybe none of this is helpful...but I hope it can be of use to you or at least seed some ideas.

Offering suggestions for future direction is fraught with difficulty and risk but..............

..........all three of my daughters are married and boy, oh boy, can I tell you how much WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS cost !!!!

Might not be "your thing" and I appreciate "reputation and word-of-mouth recommendation" seems to prevail, but it did strike me today that there must be some aspects of photography that would work on a freelance basis.

And earn you good money too !!

Happy days....

 

Hi Chris -

I don't have any advice beyond some of the fine suggestions already offered by other members. But I did want to pass along my best wishes and encouragement for your next gig.

You are one of the really good guys on this forum, and I always enjoy reading your posts. I look forward to reading what's next for you, and am betting it will be something pretty cool!

ATB.

Hook

PS - Mrs. Hook is a digital photographer, and very experienced with Photoshop. Her clients are all artists who are trying to catalog their work, prepare proposals (e.g., that show their work virtually in situ), sell via the web, and so on. It doesn't pay a lot (all but a handful of her clients are just starting out), but she loves what she does!

Hook posted:

Hi Chris -

I don't have any advice beyond some of the fine suggestions already offered by other members. But I did want to pass along my best wishes and encouragement for your next gig.

You are one of the really good guys on this forum, and I always enjoy reading your posts. I look forward to reading what's next for you, and am betting it will be something pretty cool!

ATB.

Hook

PS - Mrs. Hook is a digital photographer, and very experienced with Photoshop. Her clients are all artists who are trying to catalog their work, prepare proposals (e.g., that show their work virtually in situ), sell via the web, and so on. It doesn't pay a lot (all but a handful of her clients are just starting out), but she loves what she does!

...and that is the secret to a happy life.

"All I know of Lightroom and shooting Raw is that they exist."

Photography of any type these days is now a combination of tradiational camera skills and digital skills. I strongly advise you to bring your digital knowledge up to par ASAP if you expect to get work doing pro photography moving forward

(And I write this as someone who's lab has a pro photo studio, and we photograph hundreds of products a year for publication around the world, viewed by millions of people)

Hi Chris,

How good are you at working with wet chemistry darkroom techniques?  If you understand that but want to transport that knowledge and those skills into the digital photography revolution there's a photo editor called Picture Window Pro, from Digital Light and Colour that recreates the way a wet chemistry darkroom works, but does it inside a computer.  Since the team who produced it have all retired (they worked for Silicon Graphics at a high enough level to be paid in shares and retired rich!), they've now released it as a freebie.  It's well worth trying.

In terms of turning RAW files into good image files, DxO is the easiest package to get full pro quality results:  Using Lightroom's RAW converter (ACR) can sometimes get slightly better results, but it takes a lot of knowledge (and more work) to beat the results that DxO can get automatically.

These tools can help shorten the learning curve so you can become digitally proficient more quickly.

But all this assumes you decide to stay in professional photography - that and whether you need to downsize your house are the biggest decisions you have to make.
It's good to involve your circle of friends, not only will they help you to stay sane, the social contact they provide is also important for your long term health (I do volunteer work for a North Wiltshire organisation that focusses on helping people that way).

It's a trying time, but it also offers opportunity in amongst the stress.

All the Best

E

With regard to the interface between darkroom and digital techniques you might like to look at the book indicated below. Yes, he is my brother, no I don't get commission and I definitely do not understand most of it but I'm told it is a pretty exhaustive guide to printing techniques and includes a substantial section on digital. It looks to be well reviewed so not just me saying it!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Way-B...odhouse+digital+book

 

 

 

 

In our long and constant private correspondence, I have seen tenths and tenths of Chris's photographs, and I cannot yet understand how they decided they could do without him. He's a really good photographer, especially good at human beings. I have no suggestions, but I don't think that his skills would be properly used for personal enjoyment; he's too good for that.

Chris, I only hope that you can find another job connected with your best skill, which is not finding the best position for the speakers in a flash, but capturing real, live persons' inner character with a shot. The world is s*it, but luck exists. Be patient and resilient.

Best,

M

Hi Chris,

Firstly really sorry to hear your new, that is really tough & unfortunately the way the working world operates currently. Personally I have been through this now 3 times (wonderful combination of IT & banking and ironically with a great interest in photography which was once considered by me as my 'out') & as has already been alluded to in this thread, considered untouchable; once this has happened a few times you get to realise that is no longer the case. At each age where this happened it was the end of the world......but it never was. A wake up call? most definitely in each case - on times, things get taken for granted.The replies above offer some great insight & advice: keeping busy, having a routine, stepping back & really seeing and enjoying what life can offer - aside from the money, the big impact is the loss of routine hence the need to build a new one. If you can act on some long held desires then that is great - not always the easiest since the mind won't always allow you to do this without guilt kicking in - it is a strange time where all can be considered possible & in contradiction everything is also considered impossible?!?

As you have noted, photography is in a much different place to where it was when you started but you have years of knowledge & experience to call on. I think Max's comments above are a real testament to the skill you have. Whether this is where you want to be is the bigger question but have faith & courage - never the easiest in the tougher moments. 

One key point is that you have some great friends & support here on the forum and that is a very big thing - no one can  sort things out necessarily but it is a great sharing medium when your thoughts need somewhere to go.

My sincere wishes that this works out to be a good thing for you

Hi Chris, sorry to hear your news. I remember that thread from 2004. It was the first time I'd been made redundant and it was a massive blow. I got back on my feet (in fact I was eventually much better off) only to be made redundant seven years later in 2011 - this time I got six months' pay and I was really glad to get out as by then I hated my job.

I've been self-employed for six years and am much happier, though I have to work very hard.

The thing is, you should see this as an opportunity rather than the end of your life.

As a photographer, have you got a site? If not, create one with the best of your work - or if that's not practical, at least set up a Flickr or Instagram. And put some testimonials up there. When hiring for photographers I always want to see some of their work and what people say about them before making contact.

Also, milk your contacts book for everything you've got - and try not to burn bridges with your old employer - they might well re-employ you as a freelancer. If you own your images, think about setting up on Getty (you can do this via Flickr) or Alamy. The latter don't pay super-well but as you've already taken the shots, you might as well try to squeeze some more money out of them.

Where are you based? Maybe I can push some work your way?

 

Sorry to hear that, I've been in and out of work at various times in my 50s but generally weathered the storm.

I know nothing about photography but my first question is what will your employer do for photography from now on?  Is there any mileage in suggesting you provide the service (or some part of it) as a contractor from now on?  For me one of the truisms is that you are most likely to get freelance work from existing contacts.

Have you considered teaching photography?  Many Universities and Colleges offer photography degrees and other related courses and could be looking for teaching or technical staff on a freelance as well as PAYE basis.  If that interests you, to build up a mailing list for your CV the UCAS website will list all Higher Ed institutions  in your area that offer Photography  degees (sometimes called digital media) or Journalism courses  and then there are FE Colleges too.  You don't necessarily need to have a teaching qualification to work in these sectors.  If you follow this up, it's  worth trying to send your CV to the named head of the specific department concerned as well as to the Uni's HR dept.

I don't know what your skills are, but there is certainly some renewal of interest in the sector in analogue, wet  photography seen as a necesary starting point for some courses.

Best of luck

         

Huge posted:

Hi Chris,

How good are you at working with wet chemistry darkroom techniques?  If you understand that but want to transport that knowledge and those skills into the digital photography revolution there's a photo editor called Picture Window Pro, from Digital Light and Colour that recreates the way a wet chemistry darkroom works, but does it inside a computer.  Since the team who produced it have all retired (they worked for Silicon Graphics at a high enough level to be paid in shares and retired rich!), they've now released it as a freebie.  It's well worth trying.

In terms of turning RAW files into good image files, DxO is the easiest package to get full pro quality results:  Using Lightroom's RAW converter (ACR) can sometimes get slightly better results, but it takes a lot of knowledge (and more work) to beat the results that DxO can get automatically.

These tools can help shorten the learning curve so you can become digitally proficient more quickly.

But all this assumes you decide to stay in professional photography - that and whether you need to downsize your house are the biggest decisions you have to make.
It's good to involve your circle of friends, not only will they help you to stay sane, the social contact they provide is also important for your long term health (I do volunteer work for a North Wiltshire organisation that focusses on helping people that way).

It's a trying time, but it also offers opportunity in amongst the stress.

All the Best

E

Hi Huge,

Is that the DxO product that costs c.£100 to £120 ?

If so, Chris could be in business before the 14th July !

I was expecting to see a product costing a small fortune !

It's always pretty awful when your alone and unsure, time to think is good and bad. I was made redundant in 2006, had a mortgage and managed to get another job in time to manage the finances. I got hit with a pretty severe MS attack in early 2016, couldn't walk, talk, type for 2m, thought it was all over, a £500k mortgage, in the process of increase to £650k and halfway through a house renovation. Bugger me life looks different now, I recovered, kept my job, sold the huge noose and downsized.

I realised there's always someone better off and worst off, keep your confidence and sell a few things you don't love or need if you have to.

Good Luck

I've spent my entire working life in more or less short term, insecure work. Sometimes I've finished with a clear idea of where I was going next, others not. Sometimes it can feel daunting when you have no idea what will come up next. Something always does seem to come up though, as long as you accept that the next opportunity won't magically appear without some effort fom you. 

I guess we're lucky now that we are mortgage free, my wife has a full time job that she enjoys, and our daughter has flown the nest, but it hasn't always been easy. Looking back, though, I have absolutely no regrets about my choice to live like this. 

I'm not sure if there's a useful message in the above, Chris, but I hope you'll be able to see this event in your life more as an opportunity than as a crisis. Good luck!

Chris

Don Atkinson posted:
Huge posted:

Hi Chris,

How good are you at working with wet chemistry darkroom techniques?  If you understand that but want to transport that knowledge and those skills into the digital photography revolution there's a photo editor called Picture Window Pro, from Digital Light and Colour that recreates the way a wet chemistry darkroom works, but does it inside a computer.  Since the team who produced it have all retired (they worked for Silicon Graphics at a high enough level to be paid in shares and retired rich!), they've now released it as a freebie.  It's well worth trying.

In terms of turning RAW files into good image files, DxO is the easiest package to get full pro quality results:  Using Lightroom's RAW converter (ACR) can sometimes get slightly better results, but it takes a lot of knowledge (and more work) to beat the results that DxO can get automatically.

These tools can help shorten the learning curve so you can become digitally proficient more quickly.

But all this assumes you decide to stay in professional photography - that and whether you need to downsize your house are the biggest decisions you have to make.
It's good to involve your circle of friends, not only will they help you to stay sane, the social contact they provide is also important for your long term health (I do volunteer work for a North Wiltshire organisation that focusses on helping people that way).

It's a trying time, but it also offers opportunity in amongst the stress.

All the Best

E

Hi Huge,

Is that the DxO product that costs c.£100 to £120 ?

If so, Chris could be in business before the 14th July !

I was expecting to see a product costing a small fortune !

It's DxO Optics Pro;

For pro use I would recommend the Elite edition @ £159.00, it has additional image clean-up tools tools that can be very difficult to replicate using general purpose photo editors (and in some cases they are actually impossible after the RAW processing has been done).

Hi Chris, I am very, very, very sorry to hear this news. And even more I am getting scared when I read all these other messages from people who have similar experiences. I hope I will never be challenged like that. Some fine advices are already given......, and while I haven't gotten the experience let me offer also some advice......

1. Allow yourself some time for anxiety and sadness etc. But make an agreement with yourself that you step out of that mode as soon as you can do.....

2. Perhaps you might want to support the first phase by doing the one thing you always wanted to do - best is when you do something with physical aspects involved, walking , cycling .....

3. Make the switch as soon as you can and count your blessings. You didn't get the message that you are dying within a short period ....

4. Make a plan of ensuring the best comes out of you

- get at the best fitness level ever;

- increase your skills;

- work on your network;

- keep your spirits up - listen to motivational input and avoid people who want to stay with you in the bad side of life;

- make a portfolio of your best work, a great cv, a website presenting your best work.....

- create new habits which ensure that you stay active, get up on time etc..

- keep on doing things you like.

5. Try to reduce your obligations and downsize your life. Determine what you need for a minimal acceptable life.....

6. Photography, great but also explore other options which would also enable you to make a living. You are an unique person, can you offer your services as an independent person, can you change to something you never thought about - bake burgers or anything else....

7. Surround yourself and look for people who are positive and drive you forward and gave a network.

8. Look at your life as a rope - in normal circumstances you still have quite a Nr of years to go...., I am sure that in honor ndsight this moment might be even regarded by you as the best which could have happened to you as you where tested to bring the best above.

 

you have seen the love and the support of the forum. I hope the positive energy, the prayers, offers of support can be a source of energy. Use that source. 

 

Good luck...

Adding together the details from your post, you are in the UK.

Starting point, go to GOV.UK, look for "Entitled To", work through this on-line benefit adviser which will give you advice about any financial help you may be able to get.

On 14th July make a claim to benefit, most likely Universal Credit, whilst you may or may not be entitled to payment, this sets a baseline for any future help (mortgage element), you may be entitled to National Insurance credits which will help towards any State Retirement pension.

Make and attend appointments at your local Jobcentre. Despite what the populist press may say the Work Coaches are trained, are there to help and if they don't know usually know someone who does. Whilst it may be basic, there should be training, IT, CV writing, application and interview skills. Ask the Work Coach for a FULL demonstration of Universal Jobmatch, it has facilities other recruitment sites lack, they can help you.

Do not pay anyone to write your CV, there should be plenty of help, through the Jobcentre, your local college and on-line.

You have skills, most will be transferable. I know that my local college starts its photography courses getting students to buy a K1000 or similar, so darkrooms skills are still needed.

Consider volunteering, after many years of work, one person I know said that doing so made him feel whole again, a person, not a cog in a machine.

Good Luck!

Hi Chris

Here's living proof that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I posted this 3 years ago and was in turmoil myself at the time

https://forums.naimaudio.com/to...eak-mid-life-crisis?

The situation was slightly different in that redundancy wasn't forced but I took voluntary redundancy in the end. I was out of work for about 2 or 3 months but I know exactly what you mean when you say you're terrified. One minute I was fine, the next I had visions of never working again. I just couldn't envisage where I would be in a year or two's time. It was a real roller coaster ride.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, after a false start we moved 200 miles away and started a new life. I stayed in IT but at a much lower level. I now earn about half of what I used to but no more call out, no stress, no long hours or being run ragged. More importantly, I now work with real, friendly people and not demanding nobody's on the end of a phone/internet connection. We live in a beautiful part of the country and life couldn't be better. Having said that, my wife was made redundant last Friday but I know it's just another part of the journey.

Here's hoping it comes together for you.

Col (age 56)

Hi Chris, lots of good advice already, but to add a couple of thoughts. You can find yourself going through the whole Shock / Anger / Denial / Acceptance cycle similar to a bereavement & it can take time to work through this, but recognising it as a cycle can be helpful.

Outplacement agencies can be very useful if you can get your company to pay for a few sessions & they can help you to write your CV and think through what you want to do next. Some also run group sessions & it can be very useful to talk to others in the same situation as yourself. Making contacts and networks at this stage can be very useful down the line, especially if you potential go freelance at some point

If you do get a chance to use an agency be careful on when you use them as I've see people so much in the anger phase that they cannot see beyond the fact they have been 'sacked' and they just can't focus on the support / advice side at that time.

The other critical thing i learnt is to find yourself a good Independent Financial Advisor who can help you in working through your finances and pension situation. Many have supported people in similar situations and will be an invaluable source of advice especially in how you use your pension.

Hope this helps

J

Hi,

A day or so later and I'm amazed and delighted with your warm responses, lived experiences and hard-headed advice on what I thought may have been a bit of a sinker. Thank you all (too many to name) for your life-affirming replies.

There is plenty I will re-read over the coming weeks I'm sure. I will address a few points that have been raised.

I very much agree that this is similar to a model of bereavement. I expect that it could get worse before it gets better.

Points about teaching, volunteering, updating digital skills (I come from the film era and have only ever done press photography), the possible perils of outplacement, teaching, the benefits of using networks, govt websites, signing on, all noted. I'm in sunny Southampton.

On the photographic side, I was once a very good b&w printer with Record Rapid and access to a cold cathode De Vere enlarger. DxO Optics Pro Elite definitely appeals, so thanks. My paper intends to use 'user generated content' and will perhaps offer some freelance shifts. My anger is such at the moment that they can stick it. No doubt this may change when the money dwindles. Nevertheless, when the annoucement first hit me, I determined that I was going to go out with my head held high and keep giving my utmost to the end. And I've done a couple of jobs better as a result.

I don't have a site but could put one together. The work would be copyright of the paper I work for.

Finally the serious stuff that many have alluded to: I will nurture myself. I will investigate and understand my pension. Both seem vital irrespective of next moves on a career path.

I've always been a bit sceptical about the large word 'Community' in white on black at the top right hand corner of every forum page. How wrong I was. Thanks again.

C.

My son, 20, is studying photography and is mad keen on using only film. I bought him a nice OM2n with 1.4 Zuiko for Christmas and it never leaves his side.

Maybe an untapped analogue market out there for classes, residential weekends like 'film retreats'...that sort of thing?

Best of luck.

G

Nothing more to add Chris than has been said above - some really useful experience posted here. 

From your posts, you've always seemed a very decent chap so i hope this temporary setback soon passes and you're back onto bigger and better things.

James

Chris, thank you for such a delightful response to all our expressions of support.

Graeme has a wonderful suggestion there.  Teach yourself to use digital and get a 'feel' for it (not too difficult as most of the technical stuff about the exposures is exactly the same* so you already know it even if you don't realise that yet), then you'll be in a position to teach film photography to people who feel the 'coldness' of digital and want to convert for artistic reasons.  Artistic use of film is a dying art that is worthy of preservation.  I don't know if it's potentially lucrative enough to give a sustainable income, but definitely worth investigating.

* The main difference is that for film you set the exposure for where you want the mid point of the response curve; whereas for digital you set the exposure for the brightest highlight in which you want to preserve detail, and then adjust the brightness later.

Likes (1)
Clay Bingham
×
×
×
×