A woman who lost three jobs in under a year due to the pandemic has spoken of her “shock and joy” after landing her dream job.
Annabelle Smith, 29, lost her job as a marketing manager in May 2020 and was made redundant from an administrative job at a property firm that November.
The final blow came when Smith was made redundant earlier this year at a gym where she was an assistant manager.
“When everything got shut down during the first lockdown, marketing was the first to go,” Smith, who was in the marketing job for a year pre-pandemic, said.
“It came as a huge shock, I had only just been promoted and things were going well.”
The company placed Smith, who’s originally from Hertfordshire, on furlough for one month before making her redundant.
She entered the job market and managed to get a sales and lettings agent position with a property firm in July. When the second lockdown came in November, Smith was again furloughed for a short time before being made redundant for the second time that year.
She said: “I felt like some bad news was coming so I was looking for work while on furlough and luckily managed to get something straight away.”
However, Smith only remained in the position of assistant gym manager for around a month before the third lockdown when she was let go yet again.
Following the third job loss, Smith said she became "despondent" as she was unable to secure interviews for jobs she was overqualified for.
She decided to stop applying for jobs until the lockdown ended, but was invited on a BBC Radio 5 panel on 22 February to speak about her experience.
One of the panellists ran a marketing agency called Get Savvy which was based in the city centre of Leeds, where Smith lives.
CEO Catherine Shuttleworth contacted the BBC following the show and asked for Smith’s details to offer her some advice.
After a 15-minute phone call, Shuttleworth was so impressed by Smith that she invited her in for two interviews and eventually offered her a job on 12 March.
Smith said: “I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. When you’re looking for work you’ve got so much on your mind.
“I had gotten to the point where I was rejected from anything and everything, even the most basic jobs, so I said I was going to just wait until the job markets [improved before] I applied. I felt like I was becoming despondent because it’s just been such an awful year.
“I completely stopped applying to jobs because I thought it was pointless and wanted to wait until the job market opened up a bit. But as luck would have it, I ended up on this panel, and someone in marketing happened to be on it.
"All of the bad luck, but now I’ve got my dream job. Something so good has come out of it.”
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Smith, who was struggling to pay for her rent, had to apply for universal credit and housing benefits to help her cope with her financial burdens when she was let go from her jobs. But after being offered a role specialising in the sports division, she said she couldn't have found a “more perfect role”.
“I’m so happy to be able to work, and get to some form of normality. Not working from January has been so weird,” Smith added.
“Before the world reopens in a few weeks I felt like I had been left behind, but now I can enjoy things with people. It’s a bit surreal. You’ve got to say yes to every opportunity. If I said no to going on the radio I would have closed that door without knowing it.”
She celebrated the new gig with a bottle of Moet Champagne which she was given for her birthday in November and had been saving for a special occasion.
Additional reporting by SWNS.