Wigan man has been made redundant SIX times

While being made redundant would be many employees' worst nightmare, one Wigan shop worker has lost his job an astonishing six times.

Monday, 10th December 2018, 10:40 am
Updated Monday, 10th December 2018, 11:45 am
John Brailsford who has a new job after being made redundant for the sixth time in his career

John Brailsford was axed from his first job with the Post Office, where he spent five-and-a-half years after leaving school.

He then began a career in the home furnishing retail sector, but has faced redundancy five more times in 42 years.

The 65-year-old grandfather from Ashton said: “The first one was, ‘Oh my God, what’s happened?’ I had just got married and I’m thinking, ‘What are we going to do?’

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John Brailsford who has a new job after being made redundant for the sixth time in his career

“I didn’t have a CV - computers were not about in the mid 70s - so I typed up a CV and posted it out to half a dozen businesses. I went for interviews - luckily I got the interviews - and I secured a job in retail.”

Mr Brailsford worked his way through the ranks, becoming a shop manager within six months and going on to manage numerous stores.

But then the firm was taken over and Mr Brailsford had to leave.

He said: “That was awful. I went from being a successful manager to unemployed. It was the start of the 80s and the stigma attached to unemployment then was awful. If you were unemployed, you were useless.”

Eventually Mr Brailsford found another post, starting as a sales assistant earning “a pittance” and progressing to become a regional controller.

But again he was made redundant in 1990, at a time when he was having a house built in Somerset so he could relocate.

The move was cancelled and he found a job as an operations manager for another company, where he stayed for two-and-a-half years until it went into administration.

Fortunately, Mr Brailsford was planning to resign on the day he was made redundant, clearing the way for him to become a regional controller for kitchen firm Magnet.

However, he was made redundant two years later and became a sales manager elsewhere for 10 years, until he was head-hunted by Courts UK.

Just months later the firm went into administration and again he lost his job.

He worked for various companies before moving to Carpet Right, at Robin Retail Park, which closed in August, again leaving him unemployed.

Mr Brailsford now works in sales at furniture shop Abitare, on Caroline Street in Wigan, where he had previously worked for seven years.

He said: “I will be there until I stop working I think.”

It has been a tough journey for Mr Brailsford, who says he and his wife of 45 years had to adjust their finances and make sacrifices due to the changes in his income over the years.

But he continues to be passionate about working in retail.

He said: “It’s meeting new people. People go into shops, especially home furnishing shops, because they want to look at what’s available, they want to sit on it, touch it, feel it, try it. Maybe it’s a sofa, maybe it’s a table and chairs or a bed.

"They want to feel comfortable that what they are looking at and spending money on is right for them.”

Despite the multiple redundancies, the longest Mr Brailsford has been unemployed is eight weeks, which he says is because he was willing to take a lower position.

He said: “If you are made redundant, there’s nothing you can do about it other than dust your CV off, update it, put it out there, talk to people that you know, do the networking and secure yourself a position.

“If you have to take a job at a lower level to join a business, don’t be afraid, because they will recognise people that have got a good work ethic.”

He advised other people made redundant to stay calm and only contact firms they would like to work for, rather than taking a “scattergun approach.

He said people could also consider what transferable skill they have if they do not want to stay in that sector.

Despite the many firms closing down and job losses in recent years, he still thinks people will continue to want to see products before they buy.

Mr Brailsford said: “I think there is always going to be a future for retail. I think, unfortunately, it is not going to be the future as we know it today. Retailers that do not embrace the technology and have both avenues open to the public are going to fall by the wayside.”