UK Jobseeker’s Allowance

UK Jobseeker’s Allowance

After looking at UK National Insurance, the last thing to rule out is Jobseeker’s Allowance. This seems pretty straight forward. You need to:

  1. Check you’re eligible.
  2. Make a claim and go to an interview at your local Jobcentre Plus office.
  3. Keep to your agreement to look for work.

How hard can it be?…

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UK National Insurance

UK National Insurance

Buried in a handout for a self-employment course I was doing the other day was the statement, “it is important to register as unemployed as soon as you can even if you intend to start a business. This ensures that your National Insurance contributions are credited from the appropriate date.” Really? This was the first I’d heard about it. It sounded like an important thing to do. I was wondering why I hadn’t come across this before on the list of things to do when made redundant. As a high rate tax payer,  I assumed there was no point rushing down the JobCentre Plus as I would not be entitled to any help in the current tax year. Should I?

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Finding a job is a full time job

Had various friends offer help in various ways which is awesome of them. One of them was also made redundant in Jan. He ‘was’ looking for a May start but is actually about to start his 2nd new job as he was offered something almost immediately when he started networking. His tips are:

  1. If you want a break, take it and don’t apply for things as when you get an offer it’s hard to decline.
  2. When you decide to look, network first with your contact base of ex-colleagues and any clients.
  3. Try agencies

Good advice I think.

I have been working on putting together my own app toolset to replace my corporate based ones. I’m currently trialling:

  • Kanbanchi – work/career – Kanban based task board integrated with Google Drive and Calendar.
  • Habitica – personal tasks/goals – gamification of tasks and to-do lists.
  • ProjectTimer – taskbar app for tracking time spent on projects, e.g. Job Search vs IT skills vs Tools Setup

In conjunction with this I’ve also been writing some notes on task management and planning. Quote of the day is:

“Plan to spend about 30 hours a week on activities directly related to your job search.”

Hence the focus on project planning as I intend to spend time on coding/IT skills as well as Job Search.

p.s. decided to ditch the day count 🙂

Day 3 : What can I do with a 6 figure life insurance policy?

It occurred to me yesterday as I was cycling to the train station that for 26 days I still had a 6 figure life insurance policy. That would set the family up nicely and save the pain and no doubt modicum of humiliation of finding work again. Plus it would offer the challenge for a bit of devising a bulletproof plan for obtaining it. Dumped that idea in the crazy bucket. However will need to get my own cover.

I have exchanged some emails with my besties at work including my boss. Glad I did this as nice things have been said all round. It would be very tempting to just drop off the face of the earth but a decent goodbye mail gives a bit of closure I think. I’m distinctly worried about how they will cope in the next few weeks and have offered up a few suggestions of whom should pick up my various roles. There that’s done. I shall put it out of my mind now and wait for the phone call to start up negotiations about a decent consulting rate. Not going to pin any hopes on that one though.

Have confirmed that I could transfer my pension fund(s) to another pension vehicle if I wanted to. I won’t be in the short term. I can’t pay into it but I have no plans to until I have another income. Plus I have been downright virtuous in topping it up since I started work. Best decision I’ve made I reckon. It’s not made a lot of money but then neither has my Wife ( ok, or me) spent it so it has built up.

Day 2: I went to London as Me and came back an Unemployed Cancer Patient

Off to London today for a couple of appointments. The first is with a doctor as I have a basal cell cancer on my right cheek which needs to come off. The second is with HR at the office for the first redundancy consultation.

The doctor was very nice and seems strangely familiar. He will remove the skin cancer using Mors Surgery. “However small it is it feels huge to the patient”, he says. “Don’t worry”, I say, “I told my wife I would be coming back with half my face missing”. “Probably only a tenth”, he dead-pans. Oh the japes we are having. Now for the punch. He can’t do the op until May 22nd. I’m pretty sure my health insurance will have run out by then. I will check with HR.

It’s now lunchtime so I stop for a bite in Pimilco Pizza Express. It’s very nice and has wifi which is what us modern day job seekers require. For 30 seconds I feel like crying but then an excellent calzone arrives and I soon start feeling better.

I then go to a vodafone shop and look at phones as the scrubbed blackberry still works but not for long. I’m torn between the Blackberry PRIV at one end of the scale, and the 10 quid Alcatel at the other end of the scale. Luckily for me the display blackberry has a wonky space key which makes writing INCREDIBLY FRUSTRATING. Hate shopping. Leave.

I meet a good friend (Ex-colleague, contractor, entrepreneur, and ‘Man On The Inside’ at the old company) for a very civilized mint tea. He reads out the roll call of the those that have departed. I feel better again. I’m in illustrious company.

I make a point of meeting him in the lobby of the office. I’ve learnt from bitter experience that its best to knock that one down as soon as possible. Firstly, the security guard does not rugby tackle me to the ground. He’s not even holding a list of names like you sometimes see. Secondly, absolutely nobody I know appears as I’m enjoying the fine leather arm chairs. Lastly my longest standing client does not come sprinting over to poach me out of IT. It’s all a bit disappointing quite frankly.

Finally I’m off to the meeting with HR. I’m ushered into the inner sanctum of HR and into the private office of a very nice lady, who I suspect may be the BOSS. It feels like I am getting the VIP treatment. I’m flattered. She lets slip that this round is less than 100 people so I probably am. Lucky me.

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Day 1 : This is the first day of the rest of my life

Tired. Mind was racing last night. Had to shout at it to shut up. Poor Wife woke up at 3 am. Good news though. I’m already picking up new qualifications. Grade 2 Piano. My piano teacher and I get cracking on Grade 3. This is the first day of the rest of my life I tell her.

Because I worked for a GOOD COMPANY the redundancy package is good. I don’t have to rush back to work. But how long have I got? I add up the direct debits and brutally hack out all the non essential ones. GREAT NEWS. If we live like monks and only eat baked beans I reckon it will stretch for nearly 3 AND A HALF YEARS! Without having to sell the house! BRILLIANT! I feel a whole lot better.

Hmm, am forced to admit that my definition of essential is probably a million miles away from anybody else’s and that the estimate is not very realistic. Best get on with figuring out where my next pay cheque is coming from.

  • Read ALL the redundancy pack that the courier delivered last night and made a list of questions for HR.
  • Apparently 30K of the redundancy package is tax free.
  • Made a list of all the bills and prioritised them.
  • Made an appointment to meet a consultant from the outplacement service next week. Opt for Milton Keynes rather than London for a change as I’m harbouring the idea that I might get a job there as it has plenty of tech companies.

Day 0 : R-Day

So I get the call to come to Room 3C not long after 9 whilst working at home. That threw them a bit but they bravely ploughed on. Bless them. Managed to ping off a cheerio mail to my team and my main client. 29 mins later the Blackberry is scrubbing itself and remote access has gone. It’s brutally efficient but standard stuff.

However it’s an absolutely stunning Spring day so the Wife and I decide to head straight out with our 3 Golden Retrievers for a long walk in the woods. Walk and talk. This was a good idea. 2 coffee stops later we head back for the First Pub Lunch Of The Year in the lovely garden of our local. The resolution to not drink crumbles immediately in the face of real ale and sunshine. Today is a great day to get fired 🙂

Part of me wants to go out and get wrecked as I am in a very good mood. I can think of some people who would qualify for a pass to chaperone me on this momentous day! However after launching myself into some mowing I decide I don’t. I am gripped by the need to DO SOMETHING.

  • Cancelled ALL non essential direct debits
  • Built a mind map

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