Agony Aunt: Made redundant and feeling low

Dear Jan,

I am a 55 year old man and have been out of work since I was made redundant in 2009, when the company I had worked for, for twenty-five years, closed down.

Recently I have been feeling very low and there doesn’t seem to be any answer to my problems.

I know I was good at my job and used to be very confident.

In the last few months though, I have changed.

My wife was very supportive at first, although I sometimes, now, think she hates me and I am concerned that she might leave me if things carry on like this and I don’t get a job soon.

I get very angry with her and I don’t mean to. The other day I really lost it and we haven’t spoken much since.

I sit around most of the day, watching daytime TV and cannot count the number of jobs I have applied for. I am not even being shortlisted, and I think this is because of my age.

Money is not the main problem, I had quite a good redundancy payoff and my wife works in a well paid job.

My life is so different to a few years ago and I sometimes feel it is just not worth living any more. Please can you help me.

Thank you,


Dear Anon,

Thank you for writing and I am sorry to hear you have been having such a difficult time recently. I am sure, from talking to others and the letters I receive, you are not alone with your difficulty in finding work.

Your feelings are perfectly normal considering the tough time you are experiencing.

If you feel at any time, your feelings become unmanageable, you can contact The Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90.

Counselling may also help you to understand your negative feelings around anger and start to motivate you to change your situation and improve your relationship with your wife.

I am sure, once she sees you are doing something actively to change she will be more understanding again.

Let’s start with some practical help. Your local Job Centre can put you in touch with support to update your CV, practice interview techniques and write job applications. As well as increasing your confidence re-learning these skills will help to ensure you get shortlisted and are invited for interviews. You may feel your age is a disadvantage, but often employers are looking for a mature outlook and experience.

You say you used to be confident and good at your job – you can be again. All these traits are still there, they just need resurrecting.

It’s not too late either to take up some new training. There are online free courses available too. Check out

Or, you could look at a new interest, or revisit an old one by joining a group with people with similar interests. There is loads of information available at the local library.

These are all positive steps that could also help to renew your confidence, update your skills and look impressive on your CV, as does voluntary work.

You could contact your local Volunteer Bureau or do an internet search for some ideas.

Whichever way you decide to get work, and you will, make sure you do something active, however small, every day to keep motivated.

Go for a walk or a swim, anything to keep moving. These are much more rewarding ways to spend your time, until you get the job you are looking for.

If you have a problem that has been bothering you, and you think you would benefit from some guidance please feel free to write to me at [email protected]

I will answer a reader’s letter on emotional, relationship and day to day life issues.

Please rest assured that you will not be identified by name. I am not able to enter into personal correspondence.

However, if you would like to seek further help and support to deal with issues or make changes to your life find out how at