Woman submits 200 applications after losing dream job amid Covid pandemic
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
An Ipswich woman has submitted nearly 200 applications after being made redundant at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic - adding she is "not giving up" on finding a job she loves.
Danielle Lea, 30, is one of thousands in the travel industry who have lost their jobs as a result of the virus, which has led to restrictions being made on travel.
She worked as a trade marketing executive at G Adventures in London - one of the world's leading small group adventure travel companies - when she was notified via a video call that her contract was being terminated.
It had taken her three job applications - including a four-stage interview process - to land her dream job back in 2019, and she was devastated by the news.
"It was such a hard time and I remember I just burst out crying," she said.
"I loved my job and going to work every day, so when I found out it was really difficult to take in. It was also with immediate effect, so I couldn't say goodbye to people properly and I was locked out of the system.
"The whole thing was so impersonal."
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Unfortunately, Ms Lea was made redundant five days before the furlough scheme was announced, but after lots of back and forth she managed to get onto the scheme and was furloughed until August.
She said the scheme was "fantastic" and it allowed her some financial security in what was a very challenging time.
She has since applied for around 200 jobs and says the "radio silence" can be deflating when you hear nothing back.
Ms Lea described herself as a positive person, but said she felt depressed when she was made redundant.
She said: "It's been so tough. In the beginning it was constant rejection, day in and day out. There was a point where I was super low and I didn't leave the house even just to go for a walk.
"It makes you feel like a failure and you question if there is more that you could have done."
Ms Lea was fortunate to get some part-time work at Sainsbury's as an online shopper, and her role has now been made permanent.
She said she is very grateful for having the position and it has given her the ability to only apply for roles she actually wants to do, rather than trying to get any job she can.
Previously Ms Lea and her partner split everything 50/50, but now he has had to take on everything himself, proving to be a financial burden.
Ms Lea said she would be homeless without him.
Despite her job rejections, Ms Lea is not giving up, and is instead being really active on LinkedIn and spending time applying for jobs she would love.
Her advice for anyone else struggling is to remember "this isn't going to last forever".
"Don't give up, but do take that break applying for jobs if you need to as your mental health is a priority," she said.
"Utilise LinkedIn and use the time you do have to upskill, there are loads of free resources online to help you."
How do you check if your employer is following the rules around redundancy?
Nelleke van Helfteren, deputy manager of Citizens Advice Ipswich, said the service has helped with over 200 cases around employment in the last three months and more than 670 cases of supporting people to claim Universal Credit and other benefits.
She said: "Work worries are really ramping up. Despite the extension of the furlough scheme till the end of April, a lot of people feel like they're in the waiting room for a redundancy.
"There's a sense of underlying anxiety, but at the same time people are trying to be practical, for example asking how they'd go about claiming benefits or what they can do about their bills if they suddenly lose their income.
"We help clients ensure that their employers are following the rules around redundancy, making sure that people are receiving wages owed, including holiday pay and that they have got the right levels of notice.
"We can help people work out their budgets, making sure that they understand which bills need to be prioritised and how they can negotiate repayments. We offer advice on how they can reduce their outgoings to deal with reductions in income to keep them in their homes. We urge everyone to take action at an early stage to stabilise income through benefits claims, budgeting and maximising their incomes."
As well as supporting people with the problems they are facing, Citizens Advice continues to campaign for improvements to the government Covid support schemes, to minimise those people falling between the cracks.
For redundancy support, you can contact Citizens Advice Ipswich on 0300 3301 151.