Friday, 1 October 2010

A comforting soup

I don't like talking about my work on my blog, as I like to completely switch off from it when I get home. But recently that has not been easy to do. I've been coming home most evenings feeling rather disheartened and its a hard feeling to shrug. A number of my work colleagues are being given (voluntary) redundancy. Many of them are of a certain age, so some are happy with early retirement, but others like myself who have only just started our professional careers, not so. Some of you may remember a few months mentioning my increased workload which extended now to covering wider Scotland. I was making the most of additional responsibilities by enjoying the new places, but deep down I had hoped that something positive would come from it. Now a few more months on, I have a gut feeling my own role is no longer secure. Every day I walk in waiting, waiting for my manager to say something. Well today, he approached me and confirmed that unfortunately a 'letter will be coming in the post…' I have never been in such a position before. The work I do is very specialised and there appears to be no upward or side way opportunities for me within this organisation. As the breadwinner in our household, I seriously need to think about other career opportunities, which may mean moving. But looking for another job and moving, well you all know, its not the best time to be doing either of these. So the prospect of being unemployed in between may just become a reality. I’ve only ever been unemployed once in my life. It was for one week and I absolutely hated it. I’m trying to remain upbeat, but its not easy. I’m just waiting on this letter to come now and see what the options are for me.

Well whatever happens, one thing for sure, I won’t be going hungry for a long while, my larder is stacked with a lot of preserves, jams and chutneys. As well as dried beans, pulses, grains and tins. Talking of tins, my kitchen cupboards would not be without a few tins of tomatoes to keep them full. I know I don’t need to convince you all when I say they come in handy for many dishes from the base for a stew, ragout, casserole and soup. Ideally, I would love to have used fresh tomatoes in this soup, but I did not to get to grow any as I did last year, so it was down to the trusty tinned tomatoes.
Updated: November 2010
In short, I have been given one weeks notice by my employers that my role will no longer be part of the organisational structure; and that there are presently no alternative roles for me within the organisation.  I was being heavily utilised by the HR Team, namely the newly appointed HR manager - carrying out work for them throughout Scotland, even though I was just employed for the West of Scotland. I had wondered if there was any opportunity for me in the HR Team.  But the recently appointed HR Manager had taken a dislike to me for whatever reason.  I think it is because I like many others know from experience that she rides on the successes of others people accomplishments; and doesn't do much work herself, except for delegating her work to others including me.  For example, I was sent to offices in offices outwith my remit such as like Kirriemuir, Musselburgh, Linlithgow and Aberdeen because she was too cowardly to confront challenging staff.  Truth is she has been given this rather senior role because of her 'close connections' with a senior manager, nothing to do with merit, talent or skills and everyone here knows this, even my line manager.  I remember once someone in the management team once described her as horrid.  I now know why.  I know the real reason there are no opportunities for me in Scotland in HR department are because of this woman, but they say simply that the role is no longer required.  I am not stupid.  I am angry.  I know the truth that some people in positions of power abuse that position and manipulate and treat people like puppets.  The more I am standing up for myself, the more I am being bullied and harassed by her team, not her directly (that is manipulation of power).  Sadly my original manager has very little to do with me now.  I have been abandoned.  The union shows me very little support too- as it was with their agreement that my role was removed.  I know my days as a token Black Asian female manager with the organisation are limited now. Question is do I jump, before being pushed?! Well it won't be without a fight of sorts.
Curried Tomato and chickpea soup
Serves 4 generously
1 medium onion, finely sliced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
Salt to taste
Pinch of chilli (optional)
1 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes
1 x 400g can of cooked chickpeas, drained
3 cups water
In a wide pan, cook the onions and garlic in the oil until the begin to soften. Add the ginger, curry powder, chilli if using and salt and sauté for a minute or so, stirring constantly so the spices don’t burn. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes, before adding the water, cover and bring to a boil. When the water boils, reduce the heat and cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Then add in the chickpeas and simmer for 5 minutes. Then remove from the heat. Puree some of the soup in a blender and stir it back into the pot. Reheat, and then serve in bowl.


  1. beautiful soup. I forget about these flavor combinations.
    I've been unemployed a couple of times, for a few months. It is worrisome, but each time gave me the opportunity to create something interesting and better for myself and family. Sending best thoughts and wishes your way.

  2. If you've got BEANS, and know what to do with them, you won't starve to death. I think you under-estimate yourself. Maybe you need to start your own shop or small restaurant. You make such good and interesting recipes
    Layoffs and unemployment can open up new vistas for folks. Just stay positive and look for a new direction. Don't be afraid.
    Love the soup recipe....

  3. Sorry to hear that Mangocheeks, hopefully this will lead to a positive outcome further down the track.

  4. I hope everything works out for you. I was made redundant and chose to stay in France. I did some consultancy work in Germany for a few months then in the end set up the business that we have now, and that was exactly 10 years ago. So you know what they say - as one door closes another one opens.
    Keep positive

  5. :-( sorry to hear your job is uncertain, how horrid of your boss to say a letter is in the post, why not just tell you what is in it so you know what you need to face gggrrr. I was made redundant once and didn't like it but things turned out for the best - sometimes these things are meant to happen and better things wait in the wings. x

  6. Hello Mangocheeks!!! A BIG smile came across my face when i saw your comments!!! I just ate all the junk food in the world... (don't know why!)
    And now this thick, yummi soup makes me feel even more guilty!!! I would definitely have to try this... you said the magic word: curry!!!!:)kisses, hugs, smiles, more kisses and more hugs....!!!!!!!

  7. I'm so sorry! I am pretty much the main bread winner in the winter time, my husband is a landscaper and winter here is pretty rough. I spend a lot of time worrying about our well-being, but everything works out in the end.

    I hope you can find something that can help you support your little family, but most of all something that makes you happy.

    Beautiful recipe as always.


  8. I am sorry to hear about your stressful work situation... good thing you have some comfort food! Speaking of food, I don't know how one goes about getting published, but I think a perfect job for you would be cookbook author! Sending good thoughts your way.

  9. your blog and it is making me super hungry! I am making this soup would be lovely on a crisp cold day with a baguette...yum!

  10. I am sorry to hear about this. Here, the government crows that the recession is over, but there are millions out of work.

    Hopefully, things will sort themselves out quickly but if they don't, figure out how to keep your head up and keep going.

    All the best.

  11. ugh, our tomato crop here in oregon has been crap this year...four quarts of my roma tomatoes and that's all i got, still still stiLL waiting for the farmers markets to deliver the romas so i can can/freez...sigh...

  12. Do keep your spirits up! It is a very scary time right now. I lost my job The first of May but found a new one that started August 14th. It is a betterjob, so it all worked for the best...but it was a scary few months. Stay positive :)

  13. oh, I'm sorry to hear this. Do you think "a letter will come in the mail" means THAT letter?

    Your soup looks delicious and contains my favorite flavors. Take comfort.

    Perhaps this can be some sort of turning point? Could you do something with your blog and love of food/travel?

  14. Oh Mangocheeks I am very sorry to hear this news. I know how much you enjoy your job and working and I am absolutely sure that it won't be long before new opportunities present themselves, you are a very talented lady. Mr OC is in a similar position and it is a horrible one to be in. xx

  15. Mangocheeks, seriously get yourself an agent and get the first three chapters of your cook book in the post to some publishers. You can get the Writers and Artists Handbook or whatever it's called in the library to get lists of agents. You have your blog to testify to your prolific creativity and reliability in terms of turning out material and the evidence of your popularity through the comments sections. You are a talented, inventive lady. Set up a vegetable garden service whereby you set up and maintain a veg garden for busy/urban people and supply seasonal recipes for the produce? I could go on! don't despair - see it as a ticket out of the rat race. And I'll be first in line for a signed copy of your first publication. Louise xx

  16. Hi Mangocheeks!

    I'm so sorry to hear the bad news - what a lousy way to start the weekend!
    I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you, and I hope that this unfortunate situation becomes something much more positive, maybe you'll even see it as a good thing when looking back.

    The soup looks delicious, I'll be making it for lunch today!

    Lots of love & hugs to you

  17. So sorry to hear about the employment stress you're facing; perhaps, hopefully, good things will come of it in the long run...
    In the meanwhile, at least there is comfort food: this soup looks very nice!

  18. sorry to hear about your work situation being so uncertain - it doesn't sound like it is handled very well which is a shame - a good manager is priceless in these situations

    the soup looks like good comfort food - fresh tomatoes would be great but I am more inclined to eat soups when the weather is cooler and tomatoes aren't in season so I think a version with canned tomatoes sounds good

  19. Hi Mangocheeks

    you don't by any chance work for the NHS do you? I have the unenvious task of having to assist with delivering a safe, quality service but show significant savings!

    I really hope something comes your way :)


  20. My thoughts are with you on this journey. I was out of work when I was sick, and although I needed it, I felt I had failed, that I was in the wrong place. I work at a call centre and there's always a darkness looming that they could just walk in one day and close us down; that would mean moving back to the city and starting over again. I also got a promotion 2 -3 months ago and have felt they were going to take it away before I even started. Jobs are emotional; let your emotions take the journey with you. Hugs.

  21. My heart goes out to you, and my thoughts are with you... Hoping to hear good news soon... You are so talented, good things are certain to come your way! Sending hugs across the web...

  22. THANK YOU SO MUCH to each and everyone of you. You don't know how overwhelmed I was when I read each one of your comments. Its has truly moved me. Thank you my blogger friends x.

    I did get a letter this morning. The role that I am/was employed to carry out no longer exists. Therefore, I have no job title. But I have not been dismissed yet. The letter included a preference exercise. If Voluntary Redundancy was offered would i be interested? The reality is I will either be made redundant or become a surplus employee doing something that I will probably not enjoy. So the next month is going to be hard, as I don't really know where I stand in relation to 'having a job'. But I promise to keep you-dated.

  23. Thank you Nancy for sending the postive thoughts my way.

    Thank you farmlady.
    Just the thought of becoming unemployed has given me some food for thought and your faith in me is encouraging and wonderful. Thank you.

    Thank you so much Cabbage Tree Farm.
    Just waiting to see how it works out for me. I don't want to make any impulsive plans at this point.

    Sue of Nearly 50 and trying to be Frugal.
    Thank you so much and thank you for sharing your experience with me, which I read with great interest. In my previous role I had considered doing consultation and freelance work, but it did not happen. For now I will reamin positive. Thank you.

    Thank you Scented Sweetpeas.
    :-( Yes, my role within it is uncertain. But I will try and remain up-beat.
    Sorry to read that you have been through the experience, but good to read it worked out for you. Just waiting my turn now x

    donkey and the carrot.
    I am so happy to that I brought a BIG smile to your face.

    Thank you Some Chilean Woman for sharing. Your right ultimately what matters is that we are happy.

    Thanks fof your lovely comment Shannon.
    Another fellow blogger mentioned thinking about getting some recipes published, but I just don't know yet.

    Thanks gumboot goddess.

    Thank you Danielle Sigwalt.
    I am so pleased you like the simplicity of this dish. It is a good one.

  24. Thank you for your comment e.
    Your right, the recession is not over, esp if cuts are being made and people are out of work.
    I kinow you have had a rough time with employemnt yourself. And Yes, I do hope things sort themselves out quickly as the next month is going to be rather uneasy.

    EcoGrrl - sorry to read about your poor tomato crop. Hopefully the farmers market will deliver!

    Thank you Lexa.
    I will :D
    Sometimes these things happen for the good, and I can only wish for the good too :)

    Thanks Wendy.
    To answer your question 'Sort of'. The role I currently do no longer exists, unsure whether they will keep me or let me go. Waiting to hear in the month of my future. Then will think about other opportunities.

    Thank you so much Kath.
    Thank you for your optimism.
    Sorry to read that Mr OC is in a similar position. Its not a nice place at all. Hope things work out for the both of you too.xx

    Oh Louise.
    You have so much faith and belief in me it really is overwhelming, heart warming and touching. I remember you encouraging me to do this before, I so wish you were my career advisor :D Right now though I want to see how things work out for me here xx But I promise to keep in mind your words of encouragement that are making the little wings on my back flap with happiness. Thank you for your confidence and belief in me. Really means so much at this time.

    Thank you J aka Little Black Fox for your warm comment. Your right its not a good way to start the weekend, I only had a glass of wine last night and woke up feeling like i had a hangover.

    Do hope you enjoy the soup.

    Thank you Laura.
    Yes it certainly is a stressful time. Hopefully it will all fall into place for the good. And yes food is comforting!

    Thanks Johanna GGG.
    Its is an unfortunate situation and yes your right it could be managed a bit more professionally, but noone really knows what happening, so a lot of rumours. It may not have sounded it in my entry, but I do have an excellent manager. He has been extremely supportive of the work I do in the workplace, but also my development professionally.

    Your right the time we eat soup is when its cold and tomatoes are not in season, so tinned ones are something to be appreciated. Yay for the tinned tomatoes.

    Jane aka Chicken lover, I understand that you do have a hard task. No I don't work for the NHS. I have a number of friends who do though and are feel insecure in their role.

    Thank you so much Frosty Duncan for sharing with me your own experience and for your honestly. Not many of us are secure in our jobs at the moment, its not a good time at all. Hope things remain good for you at work.

    Thank you so much Astra Libris.
    Virtual hugs gratefully received.

  25. mangocheeks, I'm sorry to hear about work, but you have support and empathy from me. a little over a year ago i was working at a bank where everything was crashing around me. times are tough, but go you for looking on the bright side. nothing like a comforting bowl of soup to, eh?

  26. Thanks Monica.
    Sorry to read that you've been through a similar situation. I smile for you now, as it looks like you've found your vocation in life. Oh well, at least it makes you happy.

  27. I'm so sorry to read about your work situation, I hope you find out soon what's going to happen and that good and exciting things for you come out of this situation
    (I started a new job a couple of months ago after beiing unemployed for 14 months and I'm pretty sure my contract won't be renewed when it runs out in april, becuase the council are almost certainly going to amagamate the different library services and jobs will be going - so I'm planning to work at a summer camp and save up then go backpacking round australia and america, I'm finding having an adventure planned is helping me not be too depressed about being unemployed again!)
    Good luck! xx

  28. Thank you for your kind words Sooz. At the moment its just a waiting game. Good thing is I am still employed.

    It certainly is down times at the moment for many of us. Many of the jobs on offer these days are limited. I am so pleased for you that you are forward thinking about next summer and have already making plans. Good for you. Its something positive to look forward to x


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