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.
* Yes, I know it's Bastille Day!