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Stop the Press!

In my time as Production Manager of a newspaper printing site, now stretching back more than fifteen years, I have indeed called, or more precisely phoned people to exclaim "STOP THE PRESS"!  However, I am now faced with a metaphorical stop the press situation.  Our site in Birmingham has been placed into consultation for closure alongside our Luton press site.  Around 150 jobs are at risk, including my own.  The question is regularly voiced: "Are you alright?"  It's not a question I know how to answer two days after I was given the news.  I tend to say that I am, but I don't really know to what extent I am alright.  Is there are measure of alrightness?!  

For me, this enforced situation isn't a total surprise although it was only one of a few scenarios which I believed may happen.  Additionally, I had been considering the future and making plans for a long time, but not actually doing something about it!  As I'm in my mid-40's I knew that newspaper printing would probably not sustain me for the rest of my working life.  I have been making background preparations for that move for at least the past year.  However, when it happens and you are given your letter, it doesn't stop it being raw.  I am not primarily concerned with the basic needs of security and finance because I have been fortunate in this area.  However what is hitting hardest is the loss of my 'printing family' whether it is the colleagues from the office who I interact with on a daily basis, the superb team that we have across the Birmingham site who now face a period of uncertainty and upheaval, or those hundreds of occasional contacts across many business areas.

This is a great opportunity for me.  However, with opportunity comes risk and big decisions, especially in the midst of a pandemic.  I was speaking with some colleagues; for most of your working and personal life, you don't have to make many life-changing decisions and at the time you may not know how crucial those decisions are. To make a change of career-path from one you've followed for your working life to something different is one such life-changing decision.  To say that is daunting is perhaps an understatement.  Perhaps this is the measure of alrightness I'm looking for - yes, I am alright, but daunted by the decisions ahead.  I am extraordinarily fortunate - I have qualifications and I have contacts.  I have a supermarketful of opportunities.  I have a shopping list, but am not sure which aisle to go down.  I know that I will work it out and I will plan a new path; how I get there will be the focus of the next few months.  The time to make those plans is now, so I better get on with it!

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