REDUNDANCY might be some people’s worst nightmare, but after losing his job one man is following his dream of writing horror stories for a living.
And 33-year-old author Jim Clift says the Wiltshire-based outplacement specialist who helped him through the redundancy process must share the credit for relaunching his career as Cardiff’s answer to Stephen King.
When Jim was made redundant from Legal & General this summer, his employers contracted outplacement specialists Connect to help staff on the road back to work, by offering help with writing their CVs and brushing up their interview skills.
Outplacement specialist Nigel Price also encouraged employees to think about the things that interested them and the jobs they wanted to do.
“Nigel was really interested in my writing, to the point where he bought himself a copy of my book and has offered a critique.
“After the publication of my first novel I’d tried, and failed, to write a follow-up. In my situation it is so easy to slip into a malaise. But Nigel went that extra mile to support and encourage me, and thanks to his enthusiasm, I’m now writing again.
“In the meantime, Nigel helped me edit my CV. On his advice I posted it on a few websites and I’ve already been offered work on the strength of my résumé alone – they told me it was so good I didn’t even have to attend an interview.”
Jim’s appointment with Connect was scheduled for his birthday. “I’d planned a relaxing day,” said Jim, “but I decided to go and I can honestly say my session with Connect was the best birthday present I received this year.”
Jim’s writing was born from a very real horror story. At the age of seven he was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia and was told he needed a bone marrow transplant. He spent months in hospital, miles away from friends and family, underwent chemotherapy and a painful operation, and spent six weeks in isolation.
“About three years ago I started writing poetry about my experience,” said Jim. “I suppose it was my way of finding closure. Once I started, I couldn’t stop writing. My friends suggested I write a short story, and after a month of writing for five or six hours a day I was ready to publish my first novel.”
In The Truth Behind the Light, detective Tom Phillips is called to investigate the murder of a petrol station owner and crosses paths with a malevolent spirit. The story is told in the first person from the points of view of different main characters, and readers are pulled backwards and forwards through time as the mystery unravels.
Outplacement specialist Nigel Price said: “Jim’s a fascinating guy. An accomplished people manager who’s delivered an outstanding technical and administrative service, but at the same time he’s also hugely creative and has a great way with words. Whichever way his future takes him, he’s got a lot to offer.
“Nobody likes being made redundant but it does give you time to think about what you really want to do next. If you work it through honestly and thoroughly, it really is possible to end up with a better and more suitable job than the one you did before. That’s certainly my hope for Jim and all his colleagues.”
Connect offers clients a pledge unique in the outplacement industry – called The Connect Guarantee – to offer help and support for candidates until they are resettled – by finding a new job or starting their own business.
For more information about Connect, which has been offering outplacement services to national and multinational companies for 10 years, log on to www.theconnectprogramme.com
The Truth Behind the Light is available on Amazon and Waterstones.com. The sequel is in production. Jim can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org