After leaving University at the age of 23, I was only able to get work as a Storeman/Packer for a chemical company. Approximately 18 months later the economy took a severe downward swing, leaving the company little choice but to downsize by closing down their Newcastle warehouse and ship directly from the Sydney depot.
The redundancy came at a bad time, but then when is a good time to become redundant?? The economy was in recession and there was little work available but plenty of applicants. It wasn't unheard of to have over 500 people apply for a simple clerical job.
I took various commission jobs, working long hours and paying out lots of money for work related expenses. This included postage for mailing out advertising material and transport costs to go to areas where I would spend hours going door-to-door in 35oC (95oF) in a suit.
Sales were slow because everyone was tightening their belts and not spending. Over the next 3 years I tried selling (door-to-door) life insurance, saucepans, and at one stage I got so desperate I tried selling men's and ladies perfume.
Throughout these hard times, I could not take Lesley out as I didn't have the money. I had to sell the car as I couldn't afford the upkeep. Lesley stuck by me through these years which increased my love for her, as it showed me that she loved me for who I was, not for what I had or earnt.
Eventually I found work with a Government Funded training organisation which taught the unemployed various skills needed to increase their chances of obtaining work.
In 1998, I once again faced redundancy due to a change in Government. The new Government wanted to change it's programs for getting the unemployment level down, and this meant a reduction in funding to training organisations such as the one I worked for.
On the last day that voluntary redundancies were being offered, I was offered a job at NIB Health Funds as a Development and Support Co-ordinator.
Anyway, the upshot of all of this is that my redundancy payment allowed me to purchase an engagement ring. On the 20th June, 1998 I took Lesley to Valentine's Restaurant at Broadmeadow and on one knee I popped the question. Lucky for me the answer was "Yes."
As with any marriage, a lot of time is spent preparing for the big day. How did we fare? Let's find out...