International man of action, mystery and the labour exchange

Been a while folks. Time to unburden myself once more, and let loose on a keyboard, or whatever it is you would call it on an iPad….

As some of you may recall NestlĂ© and I parted ways amicably a while back. As you also may recall, I was planning on meeting this next season of my life pretty much head on, with positivity and gratitude. This was in the summer, good weather, lots to do, chilling by the lake. What’ll happen in November when you’re in the cloud, it’s 3 degrees and miserable? Few people said this, probably thought it myself. Well November 23rd today – Pah, I laugh in the face of your November! Ok the months not yet finished. Ok we have had a couple of sunny days. But the bottom line, is I am still doing well, happy and keeping busy. Still don’t have a job, really not seeing my kids as much as I would like (though this is a decision I reflect and consider often – there is a kind of logic to this in my mind…something for another day maybe), frustrated by the speed of administration in certain quarters (ok NestlĂ©…) but in spite of these potential show stoppers, the show goes on. Had a great trip to New York, with Anya (post to follow on this), a few days in the UK with Jacob – real highlights these, quality time, and a trip to Malaga to see Big John Moore which involved tapas, San Miguel and sangria. Oh and culture. Lots of culture….

I have some interviews coming up, still volunteering at Medair, training in the gym and lifting some decent weights. Time on the job search is escalating. It is astonishing how much of the day this can eat up. But it is time well spent.

Revelation: definitely ready to go back to work. Mind is now atrophying and I need to reverse this before I spend too much time planning the optimum method of loading a plate at the salad bar in Manor or Coop. (For the record I am currently going with the method of putting light pliable foods such as lettuce at the bottom so they get compressed as you load the heavier meat/fish based components into a tower….)

Starbucks call me to see if I am ok if I don’t appear during the day.

All being equal, I am excited by the new challenge, whatever that might be. Humanitarian sector looks to to be the favourite, with interviews at Medair and International Red Cross, but maybe pharma (Bayer). We shall see.

However, a recurring thought is continuing to plague me. Really encouraged to see that the suicide rate for men in the U.K. has declined. But only slightly. I attach an infographic to make a few points from 2014. Some of the key points are clear; 42% (yes you read that correctly) of men between 18-45 have considered suicide. Really, really frightening. Here’s another one; 41% of men who contemplated suicide didn’t feel they could talk about it. Man, I feel so bloody sad reading these (and other statistics). Epidemic levels.

Samaritans are great for giving opportunities for people to reach out.

https://www.samaritans.org/

Small talk saves lives

Another organisation is following, led by the inspirational Luke Ambler, is Andy’s Man Club

http://andysmanclub.co.uk

#itsokaytotalk

Ok why am I bringing this up again? The idea of Andys Man Club is to give men the chance to meet and talk, a safe, non-judgemental place to open up, to share.

I want to use some of my time and energy on a similar project in Switzerland. All around, I see men who are struggling. High pressure expat jobs, high cost of living, job insecurity is growing, adjustment to life in a different culture, family dynamics changing, all of these things and more are contributing to mental health issues. And worse case? Taking the easy/tough option.

So watch this space. I have ideas, time and energy. I want to help those struggling, not by offering a panacea for all of life’s challenges, but by offering a cup of tea and a sympathetic ear. Of course it will be non-profit, and I want to build on successful concepts already in place.

Just listening to those close to a breaking point. And offering hope.