I took a holiday to France and then I lost my job.

After spending a few days in France we flew back to Berlin. It was nice to be home, in my own bed, with clean clothes and food in the cupboards. But something felt a little bit odd. My work emails were a little suspicious and no one seemed to be demonstratively saying anything.

The next morning before leaving for work a good friend and colleague called me to let me know that everyone working for the UK division of the company was being made redundant. It was a shock. I remember my hands went numb and I got an instant, loud ringing in my ear. I was grateful that my friend had told me first and I hadn’t had to find out from the .. HR manager and my … boss. I was able to go into a meeting with the two of them later that morning feeling prepared and not vulnerable as I would have been if they had broken the news to me.

So I spent the next week trying to process the information. What was I going to do? Stay in Berlin and try against all odds to find a company who would hire me and take on my visa? Go back to New Zealand? Or finally start to use my British ancestry visa and take the one hour flight over? Even though I had planned to try to get a job in the UK eventually, I wanted to do it on my own terms when I was ready.

It was not an easy decision. I had a complete life set up in Berlin. My boyfriend, our wonderful apartment, my gorgeous neighbourhood, friends, an easy lifestyle, not to mention two years worth of ‘stuff’ that would be an insane task to pack.

Countless lunch times were spent chatting to my friends who were also affected. The same sentences were brandished in every conversation, our discontent at the handling of the situation by the management involved, our shock at their lack of organisation, our shock at their absolute lack of tact. We all experienced different effects the stress was having on our health. Sleep patterns were affected. I personally began comfort eating and gained weight. It was a really difficult two months.

We were eventually given some concrete information after weeks and meetings where various promises were made which never came to fruition. So we all headed towards new goals realistically. I started to apply for jobs in London and it didn’t take long to line up a few interviews. It was much easier to line up and apply for jobs in an English speaking market where there were hundreds advertised each day, as opposed to the needle in a haystack of English speaking jobs advertised on German websites.

So my fate was practically sealed and I had to come to terms with the idea of leaving everything behind and starting again, in my third country and first English speaking working holiday of my life.

Posted in: Work abroadExperiences