On paper 2011 should have been a pretty rubbish year for me. On December 14th 2010 James Brokenshire, the Minister for Crime and Security in the Home Office announced that the government was going to close the Forensic Science Service, the place that I have worked for the last 13 years. His decision was based entirely on economics. For a number of reasons the FSS had been losing money and the government had decided that enough was enough and the best thing to do was to close the company. To say that this came as a surprise to those of us that work there would be an understatement. I won't bore you all with all the details as I could literally write pages on the subject. We all knew that things needed to change and that some tough decisions needed to be made about the size and shape of the company. However, none of us saw the decision to close the company coming.
Being at work this year has been one of the hardest things I've ever done. I have found myself managing a programme of work to close down the company that I have wanted to work for since I was 12 years old. It's been devastating, depressing and frustrating in equal measure. There have been times when I have wanted to scream "this is so wrong" at the top of my voice and I have lost count of the hours I have spent with colleagues discussing the situation and it's consequences.
I still believe that the government have got this one very very wrong and that at some point in the not so distant future it's going to come back and bite them. However, I have made my peace with it, there's nothing that I can do to change it. I will do the best job that I can in the time that I have left in the company.
By the end of December, most of my colleagues who work as scientists had left. Only a few now remain along with the group of people, including me, who will eventually close the company. And then at some point in early/mid 2012 I will be made redundant.
So on paper, 2011 should have been a terrible year. But do you know what? It really hasn't! And here's why:
* I celebrated my 2nd anniversary with my fantastic husband
* I successfully rented out my flat in Leyton and I am now a landlord
* We have moved to Limehouse - it's a great area and we're really happy here
* We have had enjoyed good times with both our families. Everyone is in good health.
* We have seen some more of the world travelling to Rome, New York and California
* I found Thinking Slimmer. It has changed my relationship with food forever.
* Through Thinking Slimmer I have met some amazing people with inspiring stories and am now lucky enough to call some of them my friends
* I took up running, finding that I actually enjoy it and it has helped me to clear my head and cope with what's going on at work.
* I completed the 10 mile Great South Run in 2hrs, 1min and 58 secs!!!!!!
* I got a place in the London Marathon 2012 and am now 2 weeks into my training plan for the race
* I have dropped nearly two dress sizes and am happier and healthier than at the start of the year
* Although work has been tough I have had over a year to think about what I want to do next. I now see that this is a fantastic opportunity to do something different with the rest of my career. Compared to people who come into work one day to find they have been made redundant there and then, I have been very very fortunate.
* Despite the general awfulness of the work situation, I work alongside some fantastic people. The sense of camaraderie has been brilliant and we have supported each other through these tough times. I know that I will keep in touch with many of them.
So when I look back on 2011 I will do so with fondness. What could have been a terrible year has turned out to be pretty darn good!