You’ve resigned from your job, cried about it in front of your friends and family, written heartfelt farewell posts online and handed in your notice, yet now you’re confronted with an almost impossible reality: you don’t know what you’re going to do next.
It happened to Emma Kennedy last year. The 58-year-old stood in the doorway of her office after hearing the news that Facebook’s head of news and corporate development, Campbell Brown, was quitting to join McKinsey & Co, the private equity firm. Her gut reaction was one of frustration. “I didn’t want to go out crying,” she says.
Emma Kennedy: ‘I’ve been itching to do something new since I left Caravan and stayed put in a bad job.’ Photograph: Dan Frommer/AP
Turns out she was a lone voice. Despite years of working in finance, she can’t find her next job. “Most HR directors and managers will give you three months of searching with one caveat: I’ll give you a job!” she says. “But if you want something with a structure, you have to say I need to sit down to work out my career path.”
The problem, she thinks, is that media people are too accustomed to the fear of rejection that surrounds so many jobs. When Kennedy submitted her CV to a digital company recently, she was told: “Sorry, we couldn’t hear you over your music.” Eventually she was offered a marketing position, but only after the applicant’s CV was edited and turned down by a hiring manager for the highest-profile client. “I would say this was one of the worst reactions you could get,” she says. “How do you react? I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m in trouble here.’”
It was only after an interview with the same person that she was offered the job, which she now says, seems “absurd”. After nearly two years out of work, she’s considering turning her life into a job hunt instead. “I’ve been itching to do something new since I left Caravan, in a bad job.”