Unemployed IT Stories – Single Mother Contractor Facing Bankruptcy


This was sent to us in response to our article ‘Being Unemployed During the Downturn’. We thought it was well worth publishing.

Company Ceased Trading


You wanted stories so here is mine.

I was working up until the end of June 2011, when the company I was contracting for ceased trading, (nothing to do with me, I might add)! I had been looking for work since March 2011 as I knew the contract would end in either May or June and thought it best to get permie work, since I’m a single mum and didn’t want to keep moving my kids from pillar to post to get work which I have done for the last 6 years.

I went for a couple of interviews and it looked promising for a while but it all fell through. My contract ended and I signed on straight away, I have no money in my company and I had rent to pay etc. so at least that was taken care of. I looked at working abroad, the girls went to stay with their dad and I went to Grand Cayman in August 2011, in search of work, though it‘s not legal to do so while on the island – but anything was worth a shot.

I had been looking for work for several months beforehand as well; this was going to be a new start for us. Unfortunately, there was nothing to be found as their IT industry isn’t exactly flush either. I came back determined to try and find something here.


I went for an interview at a well known company and was interviewed by the guy who would be my manager, and then by another contractor, who I vaguely knew, as he had worked for my ex fiancée. After the manager had interviewed me, the contractor did the same, and we basically chatted about people that we knew in our area of the industry and he offered me the job.

I instantly went into action to get my children child care and to change their schools, as I didn’t want the fact that I couldn’t sort this out being a factor in them withdrawing the offer. It‘s bad enough being a single parent with the stigma attached to it, let alone contracting and being one. So, I got all that in place and waited for the official paper work etc to come through from the agency.

No Job

Two weeks later I was told, they didn’t want me and that they had gone with someone else from a different agency. Strange, I thought and rang the guy that would have been my manager and left a message for him to call me to explain what had happened. I got no return phone call, of course! I heard through the grapevine that the contractor who had interviewed me had rung a colleague of my ex’s saying that I had failed the technical interview and asking how I was technically. The colleague couldn’t answer the question with any conviction since he only knew me socially, but the amazing thing is, I was only asked one technical question, which I got right!

I was offered a permanent job on the south coast though, but the agency advertised the salary at a higher level than the company was willing to pay. This wasted my time going to 2 interviews for a job I couldn’t afford to take.

I have applied for anything since then, any part time work in admin or whatever and have had 3 interviews and 1 job offer, but when I checked with the job centre and council if it was a good decision financially to take the job, they said no, I was better off on Income Support!

Which is where I still am, and I‘m 40k in debt!


My car is about to be repossessed which has now forced me to move the girls to a school that is within walking distance. It‘s just under 2 miles away. The finance company will not negotiate with me at all and are going to bankrupt me if I don’t pay them their money after they have sold the car, as there is negative equity in the car.

The irony is of all this, is I am owed in the region of 26k from various people, some of whom I have sued and have no hope of getting the money from. The other is my ex husband. This is all tied up with solicitors who have no interest in doing their job it appears.

Some of this mess is down to me of course, no one forced me to go and buy an expensive car. Some of it has been caused by people owing me money and not paying when they should have etc.

On the Social

I am still obviously looking for work, but what there is, is not paying enough to make me any better off than I am now. My friends say “but surely some money and a job is better than being on the social”, I’m sorry to say, it‘s not, I need to be on 50k pa for me to be totally off benefits and slightly better off than I am now, as what they give you with one hand they take with the other.

It‘s the childcare costs that are causing the problem and the amount of rent I have to pay – those two outgoings alone cost over 2k a month. Unfortunately the sort of jobs that pay the money I need are not out there and haven’t been for some time.

I am now looking at retraining but God knows in what, that will bring me that sort of money in, so ideas on a postcard!

Bankruptcy Looms

Bankruptcy looks like my only option right now so anyone who has taken this option and is a couple of years down the line I would love to hear from, as that is the aspect that worries me. I don’t care at the moment since I have nothing anyway that they can take, but in couple of years time I have no idea what I would be doing and being made bankrupt now will no doubt influence the options that are open to me.

I’ve babbled I know, feel free to summarise!