Monday, 1 March 2010

Breaking News

It was with real sadness that I learned today that The Number UK Ltd, more commonly known as 118118, is set to close its last UK call centre which happens to be in Plymouth, and happens to be my old workplace.

Having gone through a smaller redundancy process less than a year ago I think that most of the remaining staff knew the end was in sight but it does not ease the shock when the day arrives that some unfamiliar face turns up out of the blue and asks everyone to log out of the phones at once. The only other time the entire call centre would come off the phones would be if there was a fire, so the second the message to log off went out, everyone would have known it was for something serious.

No matter how much you might hate your job, to be told it is being taken away from you is a horrible feeling and having heard about the difficulties faced by many of their redundant colleagues last year, I'm sure most of the staff are now terrified about what the future may hold for them.

There's no question that being made redundant is hideous, and I know I'm not the only one who has had a turbulent time since the first batch of cutbacks were made. I've lost count of how many application forms I've submitted since May, and have been rejected for countless jobs that I was overqualified to do. I've had to give up a job that made me ill which really battered my confidence and I've been forced to take a huge salary cut just to be in work. Me and Mr G have spent the first year of our married life totally skint, living off the credit cards that we've now cut up in a bid to stop them spiralling out of control, we are the poorest we have ever been and I have to say I couldn't be happier.

Having your safety net taken away from you is frightening but it makes you evaluate your situation and take risks that you might not make if you had the choice.

I would never have given up my job to start all over with a new company on £10,000 a year less than my previous salary, but when you have no other offers on the table it's surprising which doors start to open.

Having been through several jobs in the past 12 months I have learned a lot more about my strengths and weaknesses. I've had time to think about what I want out of a job, which things are important to me, and how that will fit in around future plans to have a family of my own. I am seriously considering starting my own business and if I find the right venture I won't be scared to do it as I can't get much poorer than I am now!

When you work for a big company it's really easy to feel bitter or hard done by, and certainly there are many things I do not miss about working for 118118. But I am also very grateful for the opportunities and experiences I was given when working there that have helped me out
since leaving. Working there was like another world, with the blinds constantly drawn to prevent glare on the computer screens it would sometimes feel like you worked inside a little bubble and the outside world didn't exist. I had some of the funniest days there, I met some of the most interesting people and the best of friends, not to mention a husband, and even though I've been gone a while, it's still sad to think that little community is now being split up for good.

Here's one of many fond memories, from a day when the Fire Brigade turned up to spot check our fire procedures and we comandeered the fire engine and equipment, and got to have a go on the siren too.

Whilst I feel sorry for all my old workmates who face a challenging few months ahead, I'm also sure that with the end of this era will come the start of many new exciting ones xxx


  1. An excellent blog Emily and totally accurate. Am very scared at the prospect of job hunting but am equally excited as there is adventure ahead. Make the most of the next 3 months guys.