Use Lockdown to Change Your Life

Hello to everyone who is self isolating. We are going through tough times; emotionally, financially and in all sorts of other ways.

Most of my clients are Chinese people living in China. They have used their self isolation to improve their English and all other interests or school subjects. They have used their time well. They have improved their own lives during their lock down.

Now we in the UK – and all across the world – are on lockdown, we need to think about how we can use this time to improve our lives.

Are you happy in your worklife? Are you achieving everything you want to achieve? Are you as skilled as you want or need to be? Are you happy with your colleagues?

If you have said “no” to any of the above, think about doing some online training while you have this opportunity. Groupon offers discounts on all sorts of online training courses, such as accounting, teaching, make up and IT. In the UK, the Open University offers degrees, masters and apprenticeships in many courses ranging from Business to Law, Tourism and Psychology. There are many other online colleges. A simple Google search will come up with a long list of options.

Bullying is rife in the UK workplace, as is discrimination. While we are currently celebrating and supporting our NHS and NHS workers, it remains true that in the NHS, 67% BAME people are passed over for promotion, harassed and have their work and careers sabotaged. One of my friends from South Africa said about her NHS colleagues, “I have been here for seven years and they still watch everything I do.” Another of my friends from Rwanda has moved from hospital to hospital, town to town. In Rwanda, she was a matron. Here in the UK, she now works night shifts in a care home.

64% lesbian and bisexual women say they have been actively discriminated against in the workplace. 83% lesbians say they find the workplace a difficult place to be. 87% bisexual women say the workplace is difficult.

My own experience is twenty years of discrimination. I am a highly qualified university graduate who had no option but care work after my work and career had been sabotaged in a number of workplaces, almost always by heterosexual women. In one workplace three years ago, I faced open homophobic and biphobic harassment, chanting when I walked into the office and threatening behaviour from the all male team (one of whom is classed by social services as a danger to women and his own children). Yet it was the female manager who said I was the bully and making up allegations against my colleagues, even though one of the men did admit to the chanting. He was not sacked as UK law says he should have been, and company policy says he should have been. Instead, I was forced out by the false allegations made up against me. Time after time, over the last twenty years, I have been forced to take up care work, the only work available where no one cares what your sexual orientation is.

On Teesside, 40% – 60% care home staff are BAME and LGBT. BAME and LGBT people do not make up 60% Teesside population. We make up less than 5% the population. Therefore, it is clear there are genuine problems with the employment of people who are not white or heterosexual.

My advice to anyone suffering is to retrain, and retrain into a job you can turn into a business. Be self employed. Be a success and be a success without any hassle from co workers.

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I was lucky a friend knew about an online company who were taking on workers. I gained my additional qualifications while working. I now have a career in which I am a success and making more money than I made working in the NHS, for local authorities or any private company. I work for a Chinese company. They do not tick boxes. They do not care if you are BAME or white, LGBT or heterosexual. They care about the quality of your work and your attitude and behaviour. Many LGBT and BAME people work for the company, and for other companies like it.

I do consider myself lucky. I was heading for the rest of my working years on sickness benefits. Care work on Teesside is very violent and often paid at less than the minimum wage. The work was making me ill. I was so lucky a friend gave me a hand up. Since I joined the Chinese company, several of my colleagues helped me increase the number of clients I have and thus my salary. I now give a hand up to new workers.

And now I want to give advice to anyone who is struggling in their workplace, for whatever reason. My advice is use the internet. Think about your strengths, your abilities, what you love doing and find a job role that sounds like something you want to do. Ask your loved ones and friends what they think you are good at and should be doing. Think about any courses you can find to get you to where you want to be. Apply for jobs. Use this time in lockdown to change your life.

Good luck!

About catherinehume

Catherine Hume: Writer, social care worker and a liver of a life less ordinary.
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