This is my first ever blog and it’s going to be a long one, so please bear with me!
I would first off like to dedicate this blog to 2 amazing people who mean the world and more to me, my beautiful girlfriend Samantha and my amazing newborn son Fraser Morgan Goldsack, without them I dread to think where I would be!
This blog will start at around the beginning of 2011 when I was in employment at the Sony Centre in Southampton. I had been an employee there for around 7 years.
Everything had gone awfully quiet at work as it always does after the Christmas rush and Sam and myself had just moved into our own flat at the end of January not far from where we had been living with Sam’s parent’s John and Bev. We had settled in absolutely fine and were loving having our own space and had promised each other that once we moved out we would try for our own little family.
I’ll skip forward a month and a bit to what seemed a pretty normal day in late March at work. Thing’s had been slow and we had all the big shot bosses down for a meeting which was normal every few months, only today seemed a little bit different than the usual meetings. Me and the guy’s carried on with our work as normal and once the meeting had finished, our bosses came down and closed the front door of the shop and put a sign up to say there was a staff meeting. My manager at the time who was the bane of my life came over to me and looked alot different in his expression than I had ever seen on his face…..this instantly caught my attention as he brushed by me winking and suggesting everything was fine…
As we all made our way upstairs, you could sense there was an almighty atmosphere and awkwardness that none of us had experienced at the shop between the bosses before. The chairs were laid out in a circle where we were to be told what happened to be the start of a long and horrible year for me and my colleagues.
We knew things were quiet but we were still doing OK at the store. We were scraping our weekly targets in what was a very difficult climate during this recession. As we all sat there in an awkward silence, staring at each other in a bemused manner, that’s when the knife was plunged deep into all of our stomachs! We were told that Sony decided that they would pull the funding for Sony Centre’s in poor locations and that 3 of our 7 shop’s would be closed down and we would be made redundant. It was a terrible moment, but for that split second I thought to myself that I wasn’t going to let this get me down! I had 7 years retail experience behind me and considered myself very employable!!!
After what seemed like hours of sitting around listening to what the powers that be had to say to us, we all went back downstairs and took some time to let the news soak in! I tried to keep the spirits up by telling my staff that they were all going to be fine, which I was absolutely sure of. I told myself that I will take this opportunity to get out there and make something of myself and get a job as soon as I can.
That night I got home and just when I was starting to convince myself that I would be fine, the doubt had crept in and I started to doubt myself. My ability. Everything about me. Sam kept telling me everything would be fine and we would get through this! That night I laid in bed and just shed tears out of fear and the reality of losing a job that I really did enjoy.
The next day was all about me! I made sure I got my CV up to scratch and as my manager was out of the store that day telling the other stores the bad news, I got myself a head start and started looking for work here, there and everywhere. I wasn’t going to be defeated!!!!
That weekend, Sam and myself, armed with around 50 of my CV’s attacked Southampton City Centre like a swarm of locusts to a crop field! It was a very hot spring Sunday so I was in shorts and a t-shirt, not exactly the attire for a job seeker but nonetheless, I had ton’s of determination and a massively positive attitude. That day I must have handed out around 40 CV’s in various shops and businesses. The one that stood out the most for me was the job vacancy for the children’s store Pumpkin patch who were advertising for an Assistant Manager!! This shouted at me like you couldn’t imagine!! I looked at it like it was meant for me! I walked and in spoke to Clare, the manager and expressed my interest in working there. After around 5 minutes of questioning, I left the store feeling very upbeat and that I had made a massive impression.
The following week I had a few phone calls for interview’s but nothing from Pumpkin patch. I was starting to think that it wasn’t to be at all and was pursuing other avenues of employment, but to tell you the truth, I was petrified of change and moving to a new environment!
My store was scheduled for closure on the 30th April and it seemed to be approaching with unfathomable speed! I NEEDED TO FIND ANOTHER JOB!!
As if by pure co-incidence, when I thought I wouldn’t get anything at all, I received a phone call from Clare to attend an interview!! YES!!!!! I was so delighted!!
We met at Costa Coffee for an informal interview to find out more about me and to delve deeper into whether I could fit the bill of an assistant manager for a children’s wear store after being in the electronics industry…..it’s a little different to say the least!
We talked for about an hour and everything seemed very positive! I left feeling a sense of achievement and an astonishing amount of confidence that I could crawl out of this pit I was forced into and do something else!
Everything carried on as normal at work, and we were preparing for our closing down sale…..queue the vultures!!!
Some more time had passed and the to what seemed like the inevitability that I would remain unemployed kept creeping up on me until I received another phone call from Clare…..”Tom, the regional manager wants to meet you for an interview in store!!”
I was getting closer to the job I set my heart on. I basically dismissed everything else and went all in on this job, it was literally all or nothing for me! It was a pretty big gamble!
I went for my interview in-store and practically blew them away! It lasted for at least 3 hours and Tom was prodding and searching for flaws in anything he could find, but there was nothing to be found, I was on top of my game and nobody was going to beat me to the finishing line!!!
I left there feeling like a champion!! I knew I had done my absolute best and I couldn’t have done any better, I had to leave to whatever was there to decide my fate!
The final day of the store being open had arrived and we had very little stock left and anything remaining would be shipped to the stores who were fortunate enough to remain open.I kept my phone close by in case any calls came in from any jobs. I had been to a few interviews including a very well known estate agents, a call centre job for carnival cruises, and a few retail stores. That filled me with some confidence, as some of my colleagues weren’t doing so well. I was always there to support my friends at work, whether it was CV writing, being a reference for future employment or just someone to talk to, I wanted them to feel like there wasn’t anything to worry about and them and their families would be fine!!
The store had closed down and that’s when I hit a very low point. No calls were coming in and I found myself looking at job’s way out of my league in hope I could get something.Sam was still going to work and whilst she was out I just didn’t know what to do with myself. I felt like i’d hit a brick wall and started feeling what felt like a very depressed mood. I’d never experienced anything like that in my life, and I couldn’t do anything to fight it.
A few day’s sitting at home went by and I was ‘busy’ playing call of duty or something or other on my ps3 when my phone rang….It was Clare from Pumpkin patch…..this was it, all or nothing.
I answered to what could only be described as a petrified tone…..Clare then told me that they were really impressed with me and that they wanted me to be their assistant manager!! I was absolutely jubilant. I felt that massive weight lift straight off of my shoulders and I felt like me again! It was amazing!
I was to start on the 9th of May at the Basingstoke store where I was to do 4 weeks of management training….
Between the store closure on the 21st of April and the 9th of May came the most fantastic news I could ever had dreamed of….
I cannot recall what day it was, but it was early morning and Sam had come in and woke me up to tell me that she had done a pregnancy test and it came back Positive!!! I was half asleep at the time and was trying to filter the news and it took a few moments!! We were going to have our own little family!! Our own little baby!! Things had gone from the absolute bottom, straight back to the top and I felt amazing! We went to the doctors that day to confirm the news and once we had finished there, we went straight round to my mum to tell her the news!! She was ecstatic, to know she was going to be a nanny for the first time, her little boy had become a man and was having his own family!! She burst into tears of joy and it was lovely to share the news!
The 9th of May soon came around and I had an early commute to make from home all the way to Basingstoke from Southampton Central train station.
I made my way from the station to the massive shopping centre in Basingstoke to start my first shift.
The first few weeks went great, the girls at the store were an awesome crew and made me feel very welcome, but then the early mornings and getting home late started to get to me and I just wanted to be at home with Sam and bump and chill out. I finished my training and it was sad to go but I had to get to my store and settle in and become familiar with my staff. It was only a few weeks in and that horrible feeling I had when I was doubting myself had come back. I was sinking in to what seemed an abyss that I couldn’t escape, I found myself staring blankly in to thin air and wondering what the hell I was doing. I also found my emotions too much to contain and was making me feel worthless and useless. I was questioning myself over everything.
What the hell was I doing working here, I wasn’t good enough for this job? Could I support my soon to be family? Endless questions flowing through my head. I sat on the bench outside work crying, how pathetic!! I needed to pull myself together and sort it out, I was a mess! I was better than this surely?
After a 3 week’s of being at Southampton Pumpkin Patch, I handed my notice in, I was depressed and needed to get out. I needed something new!! I felt like an absolute waste of space and was doing nobody any favours. I couldn’t even tell my colleagues that I was leaving due to the fact I was depressed and needed to get out, I told them it was due to the fact my knee was giving me too many problems standing up for 8 hours a shift. I even convinced myself that this was the case and I found myself a job at a call centre through a friend.
I was still very depressed but I was focusing on doing a good job in my new venture!!
At first it was fantastic, 8.30-5.30 Monday to Friday with weekends off, what more could I ask for. I took a pay decrease to get the job but was still financially OK and as long I remained steady I could do a good job. I started at the same time with around 5 others and it was felt good because we weren’t left on our own to do our job and was fully supported from day one with lots of training!
I was doing well, my depression had settled and I believed I had got rid of it and was feeling positive every morning, I could wake up each morning happy to go to work. I truly believed that this was going to be something to remain with and progress within the company.
This lasted for around 2 and a half months, and I can pin point the exact moment when my world crashed again. I was on the phone to a client and when going through the normal process of security checks etc, I missed a security question and continued with the phone call, giving the client details they required for their account. I came off the phone call, and I was metaphorically shitting my pants!….my face was burning up from guilt and worry. I owned up to it straight away and told my team leader!
I was reprimanded and read the riot act over the importance of client security etc. I knew I had done wrong, and from that moment on, work wasn’t the same. Every client call I tried to ignore, every email I tried to leave, it was getting to me and the questioning of my own ability crept up again!! The depression monster had caught me again and this time it had a firm grip on me and was’t letting go.
I wasn’t sleeping well, I don’t anyway but it was worse than before and one afternoon I was sat at my desk whilst others were on lunch and panic started to take over my whole body, I was shaking and couldn’t focus on anything. I tried to control it until it was my lunch and managed to. Half way through lunch I went to the toilet and was sick….the fear of everything was killing me! It’s not something that is that easy to put into words but I couldn’t stay in that building, it felt as if the walls were caving in on me slowly and suffocating me. I told my team leader I needed to go home as I felt sick! This was OK as we had enough staff to man the phones and emails. The next day I called in sick, even though I was feeling sick, I wasn’t physically throwing up. It was just fear of stepping into the building and doing something wrong.
I tried to go back in on the Wednesday, as I knew that statistically it was a quiet day and I would be under less pressure than say on a Monday! How wrong was I? I felt like an absolute wreck again. I was crumbling under the pressure of staying in my job and supporting Sam and bump who at this point was getting big and was about 6 months into the pregnancy. It was the supplier of strength and yet the demise of my downfall at the same time. I wanted to provide for my family and be the man of the house, but at the same time, I was a shadow of the strong person I was when I was made redundant at Sony. What happened to that person? Or was it all just an act to hide the pain?
I had to do something about it and so I did. I told work I was ill and remained off of work for that week and for the next 3 after going to the doctor and declaring everything that had happened and how I was feeling. The first doctor was not very helpful at all, prescribing me some anti-panic attack tablets and that was about it. I decided to go back and this time I had what seemed like my messiah….Dr Patel, he listened, he understood and he did not judge me. He was very understanding, explaining things in detail and advising that I start a course of anti-depressant tablets and see how things go. He also gave me a few authors to check out on their writings of ‘What is depression’ and ‘How to overcome depression’. I felt embarrassed. I always thought I was a strong character, someone people could rely on and talk to if they felt that they were feeling the way actually started to feel. Dr Patel was so good at re-assuring me that things would get better and he would support me from start to finish! This man was an absolute gem in what started to be my recovery.
I decided although I was going to get back on track, I had to leave my current job and explore other avenues of employment. I had received a call some months back from an old work colleague over an electronic shop opening in the vicinity of the old London road Sony centre, but as I had started with the call centre a few days before, I didn’t want to just leave. I tried contacting my old colleague to see if anything was still going.
After a about 2 weeks of yes and no answers, I finally got a call for an interview for a full time sales assistant job. I was back in my comfort zone and the depression demons had lifted once again. I went for the interview, positive attitude and determination and smashed it!! I got home waiting for a phone call which was promised that day to let me know the outcome and when the phone finally rang, it was good news!!!
Started late October and the medication was really helping. I wasn’t fighting the metaphorical monsters who wouldn’t leave me alone and I was focusing on the future and the arrival of our little baby in 2012.
Sam’s bump was getting bigger and bigger. We were keeping a small record of changes by taking a photo each Sunday of Sam’s progression. We attended maternity classes and were preparing ourselves and enjoying the prospect of becoming parents.
Towards the end of the year, work was OK, quite quiet as anyone would expect with this current financial climate. I was feeling great, selling products to customers and being myself again.
Now into 2012, the shop seemed to be coming to an abrupt end as the figures each week were diabolical…but some changes were made and things have picked up.
The expected date of our first born was the 5th of February, however the little pickle was in no hurry to be seen. We were told that baby was in the breech position. After having a full 9 months of an absolutely perfect pregnancy, this news petrified me. We went for a scan to confirm the news, and as Sam was already 2 days overdue, we were booked in to go to the Princess Anne hospital on February the 9th at 1pm. Baby decided that they didn’t want to wait until then, breaking the waters at 3am on the 9th of February.
Our Beautiful little boy was born on the 9th of February at 6.03 weighing 8lb and 4oz’s, born by Cesarean section.
Watching him grow up day by day is a complete blessing and I know that there must be someone watching over us, and whoever you are, I thank you.
Fraser Morgan Goldsack is 2 months old today when this blog was written and is an absolute beauty of a baby! I am so proud of my partner Sam and how amazing she is and supported me over the last year and a half of what seemed like hell.
I feel like a much stronger person and have developed a sense of appreciation that I never really had before!
There are parts of the last year that didn’t make it in to this blog, but there have been many inspiration’s to me throughout this tough time and I thank you all.
I am developing as a Human being each day and I am happy with each day I get with my family and friends.
I will be posting more blog’s at some point, some funny, some serious, so keep your eyes peeled!!
Thanks, Stephen Goldsack x