Last Thursday (3 March 2005) I realised that I shall be out of work at the end of the month, with no identifiable prospects. Until then, I had not grasped that my work, counselling for the City of Sunderland, was over. Whilst I knew last year that the work I have been doing for the past four years would put out to tender, I was told not to worry, that I would be looked after. I had understood that the work was to be restructured. I knew in January 2005 that details of the tender were to be made available in mid- to late February 2005, and was told that the apprehension I expressed was misplaced. I was prepared for less favourable conditions. However, looking at the tender details for the first time last Thursday evening, I saw that the tender is geared solely towards medium and large businesses to supply the workers, and not towards sole traders. I am now extremely worried. I have not one shred of hope of being able to complete the documentation: the level of complexity is way beyond anything imaginable.
On reflection, it feels as though I have been strung along for month after month. I should have been looking for alternative work. If only I had known. I feel bitterly disappointed, and betrayed by people I trusted.
To whom do I look now? Where do I turn? How can I find work? I have a family and a mortgage. I need an income, a living, but do not know how to start the process of finding suitable work. I feel as though my confidence and competence have been drained from me. I feel disempowered.
As I woke this morning, I knew immediately and instinctively that I am in danger of sinking into a depression. To be precise, it feels like I am in the process of stumbling over the edge of a cliff. Everything is in slow motion. The solid ground on which I was standing is now moving away. I am falling into a void. "Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seat belts. We shall encounter some turbulence as we enter free fall."