Wed, 25 Nov 2020
When Eleanor Tweddell was made redundant from her job at Vodafone, she had no idea that her experience would enable her to help others through a global pandemic.
With the second lockdown bringing more uncertainty over job security, she has published a book that she hopes will give others going through the same experience a little bit of hope.
Eleanor had been head of communications for three years at the telecoms company when, just days before Christmas, she was given the news of her redundancy.
“There had been a consultation for a few months so we knew it was coming, but the final confirmation came just before Christmas,” she says. “I was 42. We had plans to grow our family.
“I was working on some great projects, and actually loved my job. It was part of a bigger organisational restructure, but it didn’t mean it was less painful.
“Overnight my plans, my life, had changed.”
Eleanor admits that she felt lost for a long time before she began to take control of her own future.
“When you start applying for jobs and you are getting a few interviews but you are also getting rejected from a few jobs that you didn’t want anyway; it was that moment I realised I needed to address that feeling,” she says.
“There was a feeling of needing to explore.
“I started writing notes; just my own lessons, and then I started writing a blog and asking other people how they felt and how they had coped and that was how it grew.
“The book was about self-learning and creating something at that time. I was writing the blog and then one day I thought why not pull it all together?”
Eleanor says the steps in the book came from her own experience of working out what to do and when to do it.
“I think people underestimate the first stage of shock,” she adds.
“I just felt overwhelmed by ideas; so I started just slowing down and checking in with what I really wanted.
“That stage came months after rushing around trying to do lots of things.”
Alongside freelance work, which allowed her to keep an open mind about what she wanted to do while still paying the bills, Eleanor set up Another Door.
She realised she wanted to help others who may be feeling the same and so – along with her business partner Amanda Paradine – Another Door began offering support to those who have been made redundant and making it “the best thing that ever happened to them”.
You can find a host of free resources on the website, as well as listening to their podcast and reading their blog, which offers useful advice and tips.
Amanda provides career coaching, while Eleanor offers business coaching.
In March, the coronavirus pandemic brought the necessity of Another Door’s services to everyone’s attention.
“I am not a professor in career management but I offer the reality of the situation; I know how hard it is,” Eleanor says.
“Most of the book was written at 3am, through tears.
“I hope that people can connect and understand it from that point of view.”
Now, nearly 50 and with a five-year-old daughter, Eleanor says she is “really happy”.
“At last I have my own time, which means during lockdown I could shape my own day,” she says. “For that I am hugely grateful.
“That is, to me, the best thing to come out of it all.
“It isn’t about becoming a millionaire, it’s about starting a life that you can really own and have control over.”