Coronavirus has rocked the lives of nearly every person on the planet, but for some, the change it has wrought has been more positive than they could have anticipated.
Ray Young, 50 and from Derbyshire, was made redundant from his job as an engineer in April as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
He decided to take a job as a Morrisons delivery driver to keep some money coming in and, without expecting it, he is now happier than ever.
Ray has been working as a delivery driver for supermarket chain Morrisons since May
Last week Ray posted a message on LinkedIn saying how much he’s enjoying his new ‘stress-free’ role, and received more than 70,000 likes and 2,500 comments supporting him.
Speaking to This is Money, Ray revealed that he has been overwhelmed by the response his post has generated, saying his intention had been only to show that things can get better after feeling lost and devastated at losing a job.
‘I have worked in engineering since I left school more than 30 years ago,’ he said. I started as a motor vehicle engineer and then moved into aerospace, where I progressed over the years.
‘After being in the industry for so long, it was a shock being told there were going to be redundancies and that I should “start looking sooner rather than later”. I was devastated.’
Ray Young has been an engineer for more than 30 years: Pictured with his wife
Ray had been working from home for two weeks when the news was announced – shortly after the nationwide lockdown was imposed – and was officially made redundant at the start of April.
‘I felt lost because I knew during this uncertain time, getting a new job would be difficult and, as was the case with everyone else, I had bills and a mortgage to pay.’
He added: ‘I sat for a few weeks staring into space and even started drinking as a comfort. It was my wife who pushed me to look for something, anything, so I signed up to job sites and recruitment agencies.’
He was in luck.
As lockdown continued throughout April and May, thousands of vulnerable people were shielding, sending demand for food deliveries through the roof.
Supermarkets couldn’t keep up, and many went on huge recruitment drives.
‘I enjoy driving and didn’t want to travel too far from home for work so I applied for a role with Morrisons online and was invited to interview just two days later,’ he said.
He was offered the job a week later and was in training by the end of May.
A ‘new lease of life’
The role was initially a temporary position for 12 weeks but Ray has since been made permanent and said he will be staying put.
Despite his salary falling by almost two-thirds, he said he feels ‘extremely happy and grateful’ to be working in a position that isn’t as stressful as his last place of work.
‘This job has been a life saver for me and I am really happy. I will stick to this as long as possible before I re-evaluate. It doesn’t pay all the bills but it contributes a great deal and has given me a new lease of life,’ he said.
‘While there is responsibility of course, you can control the level of stress, unlike being an engineer. It has been uplifting and is definitely a weight off my shoulders.
‘The best thing about it is seeing the smiling customers and how grateful they are. There was one occasion when my last delivery of the night was to an elderly woman who lived alone.
‘We had a good chat and she thanked me for that as she hadn’t been able to have a proper conversation with anyone for months. It’s one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve had.’
Ray received more than 70,000 likes and 2,500 comments on his viral LinkedIn post
‘Don’t beat yourself up’
Ray recognises that he is lucky to have found a new role so quickly after his life took an unexpected turn.
He said he believes there will be more redundancies to come across most industries, especially when the furlough scheme comes to an end next month.
‘For anyone else who finds themselves in the position I did, I would say the key thing is to not beat yourself up. It’s not your fault,’ he says.
‘Take stock of what you’ve got going for you. Think about your transferable skills and don’t give up.’
Vince Foot, Ray’s store manager, told This is Money: ‘We have received some lovely comments from some of the happy customers that Ray has delivered groceries to – it’s great having him on the team as we help to play our full part in feeding the nation.’