Credit Crunch hits home - and career
By Sitala Peek
From a lucrative £50k career to taking on a second job in a call centre, Bracknell property sales consultant Ann Young says she is "at the coal face" of the credit crunch.
Ann Young is a Berkshire sales consultant who works for one of the country's largest residential property developers on a 1,400-home site in Bracknell, but her lucrative career has taken a nose-dive.
"May was when I first noticed a big impact on sales," says Ann.
"The problem was people couldn't sell their homes so they couldn't close the deal on ours. Whereas previously it might take four to six weeks to sell a house, now we've got people who've been unable to move since March."
Staving off unemployment
With loss in sales, the property developer has had to lose staff.
After surviving the first round of redundancies, the remaining staff agreed to reduce their hours to help prevent more job losses.
Ann says: "I now work four days a week. Everyone was told to take Tuesdays and Wednesdays off to reduce overheads and I volunteered to take Mondays off as well.
Ann can't afford to buy a car every 4 years now
"I'm at the coal face of the credit crunch and I've seen it happening.
"It has fundamentally affected my income, which has completely nose-dived and I've probably seen around a 50 per cent drop in income since August 1."
In September Ann was forced to take on a second job to pay for her food bills and petrol money. She works in a call centre, three nights a week, for £6.50 an hour. The job is 35 minutes drive from her rented house in Berkshire.
She says: "It's a hard pill to swallow. Before this I worked at Citibank for 12 years. I started off as a credit analyst and when I left I was the relationship manager for UK and Ireland, earning a £50k basic salary."
In her telemarketing role she reads out five options again and again from a ten-minute script to discover how satisfied customers are with their new car.
She says: "It's very monotonous and if I'm honest it's fairly humiliating having to do this, but it's a means to an ends."
Cutting back Vs indulging
The credit crunch has also affected her daily quality of life.
She says: "I've had to cut back on food and indulgences, my lovely Clarins products I've says goodbye to those. Now I use store own brands and they're fine. I don't eat out as much anymore either."
Ann has successfully reduced her weekly food shop from £80 to around £20 by changing supermarkets and being more thrifty.
She says: "I don't buy expensive cuts of meats and I go to a supermarket at the end of the day when they reduce a lot of their produce.
"It's the difference between having fillet steak or pasta and tuna for dinner. I miss my organic wine though, instead of drinking chateaux plonk.
She adds: "Surprisingly I'm quite enjoying doing it because it's very interesting seeing how much you fritter."
Despite her money saving efforts she predicts she will still end up overdrawn.
"It's quite a shock because I have never, in my working life, had to worry about my income and watching my outgoings.
"This is the first time in 18 years I will probably go into my overdraft facility."
Part of the reason is a £1000 three-day break to Lapland Ann is planning.
A necessary luxury?
She says: "It sounds crazy given my current circumstances and job insecurity but psychologically and spiritually it's really important for me to get away.
"I lost my father just before Christmas and it's quite a bad time for me, so I generally try to do something then. Lapland is somewhere I've always wanted to go and you never know what's around the corner."
Ann was well-to-do but not any more.
Ann says she is refusing to let her present circumstances affect her self esteem.
"I have no reason to feel ashamed. It's not like I'm going through this on my own, we're all in the same boat to some extent. I'm worried but not to the point where I'm losing sleep and for the minute I'm still working."
But just in case, she has already started updating her CV.
She says: "It's a shame my skill set lies in construction, banking and financial services, which are all looking fairly shaky right now.
"I don't think the housing market will recover until 2011, but I believe in serendipity and working in telemarketing I know that if I lost my job tomorrow I could always go and get a temping job."
last updated: 09/10/2008 at 13:54