When Jette Virdi was made redundant, she took to Twitter to ask for help. Here’s what happened.
If I start at the beginning it all seems quite innocent, because I didn’t really have a choice.
See, I was in lockdown in Scotland with my two-year-old and my husband, my Kiwi husband, was in lockdown in Singapore. We were trying to get him a visa to the UK, but I needed to be employed for six months before we could even apply for his visa. And you know, surprisingly during lockdown it didn’t happen. DUH. So there we were, seven months apart with no chance of getting back together soon, and I was suddenly offered a job in Ireland.
So I accepted, kinda unsure what exactly the job was, kinda unsure where we were going and kinda unsure as to what would happen. But taking the job meant we would have an income and I could support my family and we could be with my husband and my little girl’s dad.
I bought a car, I rented a house I hadn’t seen, and my mum travelled over to Ireland with me and all the way down to Birr in Co Offaly. If you’ve heard of Birr you’re doing one better than me. We had lived in Dublin in a previous life but had no clue about Offaly or Birr other than what people told us; “the coldest place in Ireland” or “what the hell are you doing moving to Birr?”.
But move we did, because honestly there was no other choice. We weren’t able to move back to Singapore as my husband had already handed in his notice. We couldn’t stay with my mum anymore. And I didn’t want to move back to New Zealand miles away from everyone we knew and loved in Europe.
The job was exciting at the beginning. I could see so much possibility and quite honestly the summer was pretty amazing with it’s blue skies and ice cream; we all know how much that helps. But there were cracks. I began to be unhappy in the job. I started to understand why I’d always worked for myself.
And then one day I was made redundant. My initial reaction was ‘thank bloody hell because this has been crap’. Then I started to get the fear – how was I going to pay for rent, insurance, the car, my kids crèche? My husband, although back with us, was still waiting on his visa clarification and Covid was simply pushing it further out. Yes I had some money saved, but not a proper emergency fund.
So as I sat on the couch that night watching Modern Family I did the only thing I know how. I got on social media and shouted out “I was made redundant today. My family of three has no income now. Any help with a job would be amazing. My zones of genius are: styling and photography, social media, website building and business development. Thank you. Love to all struggling”.
I was retweeted 4,021 times and I had over 400 people comment/message/ask how they could help. I was literally inundated with jobs. In the space of seventy-two hours I went from making €1600 a month before tax in employment, to being made redundant, to earning over €5000 a month after tax. Still to this day, two months later, I am blown away by the response I got. All because I asked for help. It was the beautiful side and power of social media.
Asking for help can sometimes be the difference between going under or thriving. Later I got into trouble with my husband for mentioning that I’m the sole breadwinner in the family. And it frustrated me, like why can’t I be a whole lot of honest about our situation? You have no savings, you’ve been living off me for the last seven months and I don’t care. But I lose my job, our only survival, and I want to scream about it. I want to shout and ask for help. I’m not embarrassed. I’m empowered by the loss.
You see, yes there’s the fear. Of course there is. But for me, it pushes me to make things happen.
I now have contracts with 13 different companies and I’ve just launched another business, The Flower Drop. I want to keep making money. I’m actually addicted to it now. The power of making a really hefty chunk of change each month. And I can appreciate the embarrassment my husband has that he doesn’t have a job but that’s his deal, not mine. And I know where he’s coming from – it’s not my story to tell but it is isn’t it? I mean his situation is my situation and mine is his. But where is the line? I can’t be supportive of pretending everything’s fine. It wasn’t, it still isn’t perfect but it’s a whole lot better. And it’s cathartic, admitting that it’s all gone to shit. I mean what’s so wrong with admitting your life has gone under?
I don’t know why, but a switch turns on in me when things get rocky, and I need to pull myself up. And I love it. That’s where my best ideas come from.
I look at my daughter sometimes and think “I can’t make the world perfect for you but I sure as hell can give you an example of how it’s possible to get back up, and be better, more resilient than before”. And really it’s all I want for her. With everything happening in the pandemic, as women get pushed further and further down the line, again, doesn’t she deserve to see that when things go to shit, and they will at some point in her life, it’s not the end of the world? And yes, we have to get over the fear, through the dark blackness or worry, but on that other side – a little faith in herself and her abilities and who knows what she can achieve?
So yes, I might get in trouble again for writing this and feel pushed further down the line but I’m also one proud woman and I’m ready to start shouting about my success.