Job hunting during a global pandemic

In June, I was invited on the radio to talk about staring down the barrel of redundancy as a result of everybody’s best mate, Coronavirus. I had just been given notice by my employer and by the end of July I was without a job and no imminent prospect if another was on the horizon.

Fast forward to a week ago. I was invited back on the same radio show to talk about finding a job during the current economic downturn caused by Cornonavirus. Because now, my friends, I’m back in employment. It took five weeks, a lot of effort and a bit of luck, but I’m very aware it’s not been this way for everyone. So, I’m going to share the words of wisdom that helped me through in the hope that they may help one of you reading this. I truly hope it does.


Remind yourself ‘someone has employed me before and will do again’.

It may take a little bit if time, but you know it’s true.

Remain as positive and consistent in your job search as you can.

Sounds a bit of a silly thing to start with, right?It will happen, it may just takenna little time. When you haven’t been in a routine for a while (you may have been on Furlough or lost your job early on in lockdown) so establishing a job hunting routine is very helpful. Pick the days/times/places you’re going to search and do at least that every single week until you dobt have to. I created a Trello board to document my whole search which I would highly recommend – I had lists to record where I’d applied, when I applied and what stage I got to (1st interview, 2nd interview/awaiting feedback, unsuccessful, no reply so abandoned after 6 week). It’s a visual reminder of what roles you’re looking and where you’re at, which helps to focus things a bit more.


Remember your positive qualities, your strengths and (most importantly) your worth.

You have skills, things you’re really good at, things you may be able to do better than a lot of other people. Remind yourself of what they are and tell prospective employers you have them. We’re not programmed to blow our own trumpet but you have to just go for it – if you don’t tell an employer what you can do, they won’t automatically know, and you may lose out to someone else who isn’t afraid to say those things. When I interviewed for the job I actually got, I took a ‘balls to the wall’ approach as I had nothing to lose – I strutted into the office, told them I could do the job and explained he should give me the job because I could do it better than the other people he’d seen. Although a bit taken aback, he admired the approach and offered my the position on the spot. Knowing your worth is the most important part of this whole thing. You are worth just as much now in the job market as you were before, so don’t let employers take advantage of your need for a jib and offer you less than this. Depending on what you got up to during lockdown you could even be worth more- if you took some training courses, learnt a language or mastered any new skill related to the jobs you’re going for, that could increase you value even more.

This next bit may sound a bit cheesy, but this really could be the opportunity you were waiting for rather than the threat you were dreading.

If you’re currently in this situation, I wish you the best of luck with the next step of your journey. You got this!

Thanks for reading,

J xx


“To be honest…” – It’s time to own your own opinions people!

How many times have you heard someone utter a statement like “so and so said that they noticed you’ve been doing this…” or “This person doesn’t like it when you do that”. I, for one, hear this a lot in my day to day life. To to untrained ear, you may think the person saying these things is being kind by giving you a heads up, trying to help you get on or not get in trouble etc.

I’m here to tell you that they are not.

What’s really happening is that the person saying these things is the one that feels them, but they lack the courage to come out and say so themselves. So what they do is hide behind someone else (likely somebody you don’t see or speak to directly that often). It’s usually because of the person used as a cover that’s its ridiculously easy to realise this happening too – think about it; if you barely see or speak to them, how are they going to observe activity that they are unhappy with?

This kind of behaviour is wildly problematic for a number of reasons. Firstly, it can create unnecessary ill feeling towards the person whose allegedly made negative comments which in turn can damage friendships and professional networks alike. Secondly, it severely damages a person’s confidence levels in what they’re doing AND those around them. After all, could someone be feeding negative information back for people to feel this way about you? Finally (and somewhat most importantly) it can make you lose respect for the person delivering the so called third party message, as well as question their own credibility as someone who isn’t willing to speak their truth and say to you “I feel this way about something YOU are doing”.

So, whose at fault here? It really depends on the scenario to determine an answer to that. In a social or friendship group it could be either party – perhaps feedback is being provided to somebody someone finds a little intimidating so feels safer doing it from a distance, or it could be that maybe that person has another agenda and isn’t really so much of a friend after all. In a work/professional setting, the fault likely lies with the person who is most senior in the exchange. On paper, they have the authority to feel and express these opinions as their own, however in practice they’re clearly haven’t quite equipped themselves with the correct tools to do the job properly.

Unless you believe your life or wellbeing are in danger as a result of offering a person feedback (in which case, you should probably seek help from emergency services or authorities) then there is absolutely no reason in the world why an adult shouldn’t be owning their opinions and actions. If you think it, if you feel it’s important to be said to the person you think it about, you need to have the courage of your convictions and be honest about where the opinion came from. Not only will this garner the respect that you were honest with the recipient, but they’re more likely to take action that’s appropriate and to you’re liking far quicker. Sure people dont like to be criticised, but that’s simply not a good enough excuse to use somebody else as a security blanket in order to get your point across.

Should you call about this behaviour? I think yes, but as respectfully as you can. The last thing you want to do is get into a fight or alienate people with whom you have to spend a lot of time with. I don’t know the 100% right answer here, but to be on the receiving end I think it would be fine to ask something like “And how do you feel about this?” Or “do you feel the same as this person?” And then perhaps something like “Thanks for letting me know. If you have this kind of feeling towards me in future please do let me know and there will be absolutely no problem at all if the opinion comes directly from you rather the other person. I really appreciate the honest feedback”. This way the person will know you’re open and approachable to feedback and inviting them to share their directly with you in the knowledge that there’s less likely to be backlash on them. Hopefully this will help the person struggling overcome some of their insecurities about approaching uncomfortable situations.

Do you recognise this behaviour as something you do yourself? If so, please try and stop doing it. As adults there are going to be times when we’re put in situations we dont want to be in, but some short term discomfort is preferable to adding fuel that only helps fuel the long term breakdown of a relationship. Whether personal or professional, as a decent human being you shouldn’t want to do that. More to the point, who has the time and energy to be dealing with negativity that can be avoided? Not me!

I hope this has given you food for thought, perhaps even a little bit of a confidence boost. Whichever side you’re on, own your own opinions and let be known it’s ok to own.

Thanks for reading, J xx


Why it’s better to learn to drive when you’re a bit older

Toot toot beep beep! I don’t admit this often, but I’m glad I can drive now. I passed my test in 2016 aged 32, so I was almost twice the age most people are when they first hit the road. And for me, that was absolutely the best decision.

Learning to drive is not always a young person’s game. In fact, I think for some people it’s a far better experience to wait until you’re at a later stage in life, and I’m going to tell you why that is below.

You can approach it with a more pragmatic attitude. Later in life you’ve probably accomplished a few things – perhaps a degree, a family, progressed in a career you enjoy, maybe even a Nobel prize. The point is, you know you’re capable of achieving good things when you set your mind to it, and this is not different. I started learning to drive right after I graduated (also as someone a bit older) and thought to myself “if I could do that, I can do this”

You fully understand the implications of driving. You’ll be just that bit more mindful that you’re in charge of a machine that has the potential to both help and hinder yourself and others. That should help to ensure that you remain vigilent and consciously competent throughout your driving life. To this day I remember stock phrases and nuggets of wisdom that my instructor gave to me.

You already know that a large majority of poeople on the roads have the potential to be dangerous dick heads. You may have been just a passenger until now but I bet you’ve seen it! I’d say the most important part of driving is to ensure you’re aware of other people’s mistakes and bad habits above your own.

The end result will make you feel just that bit more smug. You’ve probably been a public transport user your whole life (unless you’re lucky and have a very flexible partner/family member or paid chauffeur) that means working to someone else’s schedule, setting off even earlier and, delays and contending with waiting outdoors in all seasons. When you have your own method of transport and rely on yourself after so long, it means that little bit more. You don’t have to share your space, you can stay warm and dry, you drive to the exact place you’re going instead of the closest stop…

It opens even more doors and makes you feel even more valuable. When I got a call to say my grandparents were ill, I could immediately jump in the car and help them. I could do the pick ups/drop offs at hospital and take them food shopping every week. I have been able to go off to work meetings and events around the UK by myself, proving I am capable of doing things to my own initiative. Hell, I’ve even been trusted to drive a transit van with delicate perishables in the back! Rather than worrying about how ill be able to do all of that driving, I’ve worried about how I wouldn’t have been able to help or become an asset in those circumstances.

If you’ve been on the fence about driving, this post may give you a little push to give it a go and see what you think. Of you’ve never thought about as someone older than a teenage, I would wholeheartedly encourage you to consider it. Like me, it could be the best thing you never wanted to happen!

Thanks for reading, J xx