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Explaining a long absence

(8 Posts)
LozzaChops101 Wed 21-Jun-17 13:53:25

Hi folks.

I've been out of the workplace for 18 months now due to what I suppose is undiagnosed depression. I realise going to the doctor about it would have helped, but there we go. Anyway I have managed to get myself together enough recently to apply for roles and have had some responses and interviews (so far unsuccessful) but I think I need some advice about how to approach all of this.

I was in a good position for 7 years prior to this (from graduation in 2008) but it was an extremely stressful environment with no supervision which I suspect contributed to my flake-out.

My main question is about explaining an absence of this length without any sort of diagnosis. I have done some (paltry) online courses and a little bit of casual work for a friend's company in this time, but really nothing to explain the gap fully.

I have also not had any experience in negotiating a salary and have had some responses today that are asking what I would expect. I am willing to take quite a hit on my previous salary as I am not living in London any more and of course have been absent from the workplace for so long. Would saying this help or hinder me do you think?

Thanks! smile

wheresmyphone Wed 21-Jun-17 14:01:07

You could call it a career break: list the on-line courses and list the work you have done for your friends company. Don't under sell it.
Re salary: tell them your last salary but say happy to negotiate as no longer in London, you can say you are flexible. Loads of people do that.
What you will have to think about it is how you explain absence when you get an interview. Think it would be reasonable to say you were in a very busy job, knew it wasn't for you but it was so busy didn't have time to think about the next move nor interview without letting down your employer so you resigned, decided to take some time out....you took on line courses and worked at your friends business whilst thinking what you really wanted. Now you have decided and you are keen to get going again. No need to mention stress, depression.

LozzaChops101 Wed 21-Jun-17 14:28:03

Thank you so much for that, I appreciate the rational thought processes from an outside observer!

I'm not sure quite how to frame casual painting and decorating work in an application for a corporate role, but I'll give it my best! grin

wheresmyphone Wed 21-Jun-17 16:54:03

Interior design and remodelling 😀.

I do not think it matters: you took time out to think. You took courses and did something completely different work wise to pay bills and try something completely different. Do not be embarrassed about it.

I once hired someone who had taken a year off to go and ride roller coasters around the world.... really!

HundredMilesAnHour Wed 21-Jun-17 17:02:22

You're not in Financial Services are you OP? Be aware that some industries (such as FS) do some pretty intensive vetting once you reach job offer stage and any employment gaps longer than 3 months will be looked at. The gap itself isn't a problem but they will want to see evidence of your "activities" during the gap to basically prove you're telling the truth about the gap. Being truthful is more important than what you actually did (unless you were in prison of course!). So think hard before fabricating anything as it could cost you a job offer in the long run. This might not apply to your industry but just in case it does.

For example, if you say you were unemployed they want to see proof of unemployment benefits being paid by DWP or proof from HMRC of what income tax you paid during that period. Or if you were ill, they want a letter confirming it from your GP. If you were travelling, they want to see evidence of plane tickets etc. Just something to be aware of OP.

LozzaChops101 Wed 21-Jun-17 17:33:22

wheresmyphone OH. WOW. Like Kimmy Schmidt's mum?!

HundredMilesAnHour - Not financial services! I was in a buying role for a (relatively small) food retailer, and am applying for similar food industry roles - sales etc. I do have some certificates for the courses I've done, and can get a reference of sorts from the friend I worked for. It doesn't really fill that gap though. Thankfully I wasn't in prison, although I did watch a lot of Orange Is The New Black blush

Happy days, I have landed a pre-screen phone call on Monday, so I can work on my confident approach to explaining The Gap Of Doom!

wheresmyphone Thu 22-Jun-17 20:42:00

For avoidance of doubt, I was absolutely joking when I said interior design and remodelling! Never, never lie.

You really don't need to.

And stop calling it the Gap of Doom. You have done a good brave thing...you were in a very busy, busy job (*avoid the word stress*). You were having doubts....no time to interview elsewhere nor time to think properly, you didn't want to let your down your empolyer so you took some time out whilst you thought about your options. It wasn't wasted...you did some on line courses (have them listed and details to hand when you interview) , helped out in a friends business (have your dates and what you did sorted) and did your thinking. Its a positive thing you did: do not be ashamed!

Good luck on Monday.

wheresmyphone Thu 22-Jun-17 20:43:23

and just googled Kimmy schmidt and off to watch the show: looks good

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