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Aftershock: Rising After Redundancy

Friday, 14 May 2010

Aftershock: Rising After Redundancy - RTÉ Cork
Sunday May 16th, RTÉ One, 10 .30pm

A brand-new six-part series which follows six unemployed people on a six month programme which aims to find them new jobs, new careers and ultimately new lives. Like many across the country, all six have all been made redundant in the last eighteen months are having to reassess their careers, lives and aspirations against a backdrop of financial and economic uncertainty. In this new RTÉ series, career coach John Fitzgerald offers a radical approach to life after redundancy.

The series features three men and three women from a variety of backgrounds and ages; Fitzgerald's six month project takes them through a number of stages, from diagnosing what to do next and identifying realistic career goals to exploring new career alternatives. But the process isn't a quick fix and for some of them, it proves an emotional roller coaster. As well as charting the journeys of the participants as they work their way through Fitzgerald's programme, the series will be a source of practical advice for anyone who wants to make a positive change in their working lives.

James Taplin

38 year old James Taplin spent 7 years in Dubai before returning to Ireland in 2007. He was made redundant as a hotel sales and marketing manager and he's finding it very difficult to find another job. James has a degree in Hotel Management.

You came back from Dubai and started working in hotel sales and marketing until you were made redundant. How hard was it being made redundant?

It was very hard. The most difficult thing about it was that I had a wife and a family and I had the responsibility of this. If I was a single man it would have been much easier to deal with. If I had been single when I was made redundant, and couldn't get work, I probably would have headed out of the country.

How did you apply for this programme?

I was looking for a job online on websites and this offer came up - it was on the websites of one of the online job sites.

Why did you decide to go for it?

I have been unemployed for a few months and I decided why not? They got back to me quite quickly and I did a telephone interview and then they called me into RTE. I had been unemployed since about March 2009

Did the six month programme open your eyes to anything?

Yes, it did really open my eyes. It really it gave me a boost and the confidence to think other options were out there. and not just in sales and marketing. The fact that I was actually chosen to go on the programme also gave me confidence. It felt like someone has read my application and seen my interview and felt that maybe I had a voice, or something to say, which was nice after getting all the knock-backs from job applications.

James, you actually wanted to get into another area, the media?

Yes, that was the area that I wanted to get into and it was the area that I was most passionate about. I wanted to use this as a catalyst - a way to make a change in my career..
How did working with your career coach John Fitzgerald help, as opposed to going it alone?
Well, I was looking for work online etc and It was not like I was doing anything wrong. I was just not getting anywhere and I needed the confidence. John (the coach) gave me that.

You wanted to get into the media, which can be a tough business. Did people not put you off by saying that it's a 'cut throat' business and very hard to get work in?

Yes people were saying that, they were saying there's no work in the media, but I looked at it like this. I really just wanted to work within the media and I was both passionate about the change and the new career. John would tell us that it's a help if you're passionate about it. He would also tell us that it would help when you're in the interview and you have a passion about you, they might see that you can add a 'value' to the area that you want to get into..

You have made progression since you started, can you tell us about what you have done?

When I started the programme with John, I started getting weekly articles published in the Athlone Voice. I also presented a 5 week sports show for Midlands 103 that ran for 5 weeks last April, it would be a bit like Off The Ball on News Talk.
And in September, I got a fulltime job with Athlone Community Radio. I am the Marketing Officer for the station. I also get to do some presenting on the show and I will end up doing more presenting with them.

Breid Morris

Breid Morris is in her late 50s, and has been suffering from ageism since she was made redundant as a communications manager over a year ago. Her passion is acting and she's wondering if now is her chance to pursue it.

You were working as a communications manager until you were made redundant. What was that like and how hard was it to get into work again after that?

When I was made redundant it was really difficult I have to say. I was applying for hundreds of jobs and I wasn't getting anywhere, it was lonely, disheartening and an extremely difficult time. I felt worthless that I wasn't getting anywhere and like nobody from these companies wanted to meet me or that they didn't want to have anything to do with me. I was applying for jobs in communications, marketing and administration and reception jobs, and I couldn't get anywhere - it was awful.

How did you hear about this opportunity?

I was in the car and I was listening to John Fitzgerald (the coach on the show) on the radio and he was talking about the course and I just thought that he was fantastic. Then I thought to myself yes, I'll have a bit of that. I went home and then I applied for the programme.

What was the most difficult thing for you during the six month programme?

We had to draw pictures of ourselves to analyse where we were in life and how we felt about ourselves and James (Talpin) drew the picture of himself outside of his house (we all thought that James was very hard on himself anyway when he drew that picture ). I drew two masks on my picture because I felt that I had two masks - the happy one that people were seeing and the hidden one that I didn't want people to see - that was really difficult - we had to lay ourselves bare and open to analysis. John (our coach) then might try and push us, he would say something to me and I would think, ouch, that hurt! He was only really pushing us. He would ask me what I was really doing to get into the area that I wanted to get into, which was acting. He would ask was I doing enough etc.

What are you doing at the moment or what progress have you made from the six month programme?

Well I took part in an armature dramatics play, and while I was doing that play, an agent who I had invited to come along signed me. I had invited the agent to come along - it was one of the things that I had to do to promote myself. I am now on the agent's books and the prospects of good things are good. I am also doing some part time teaching - teaching drama to children in a school and again this is something that might lead to something else. Again, It was me pushing myself to get the job.