Recovering from Thomas Cook, 3 Things to do if you’re out of work | Blue Sky
Mary Taylor - Principal Consultant

Recovering from Thomas Cook, 3 Things to do if you’re out of work

I joined Thomas Cook, the Rolls Royce of the travel industry, in 1988 and from the very start I felt there was something special about the organisation.

Yes, it was steeped in an unparalleled history, but what made it special was so much more than that. We were in the business of helping people to realise their dreams, which was such a privilege. The perks and the camaraderie were exceptional. The loyalty was palpable, and it was a two way street. I was supported throughout my career, given many amazing experiences and development opportunities. I was looked after through several significant life events and in a cast of thousands, I was always treated as an individual.

Eighteen years after I left, I still feel grateful to have been a part of something so special.

When I awoke to the news of the collapse, I felt an immediate sense of sadness and grief. Grief for the organisation that I grew up within, and grief for the many people who I knew had devoted, in some cases, their entire working life to Thomas Cook.

Here’s what we know so far:



I wasn’t alone in my sadness. I live in Peterborough, the home of Thomas Cook since 1977, and it seems that everyone in our city has either worked there or knows someone who has.  The impact of this collapse was immense, it touched so many and what followed was unprecedented.

Offers of help came pouring in for all those impacted, from all manner of different sources:

  • A local taxi firm offering to take people to and from interviews, free of charge
  • A self-employed childminder offering free childcare while parents attend interviews
  • Special recruitment open days within various local firms set up for people to explore different opportunities
  • A beauty therapist offering free haircuts and massages to ease the stress associated with the situation
  • A garage and plumbing firm offering discounted services to ease the burden of extra bills that might come in
  • A clairvoyant offering a free reading to a lucky recipient

Sometimes it takes adversity to create a sense of community and for everyone to come together. This wasn’t about grand gestures from big corporate giants, it was, and continues to be, about people doing what they can to help others in a time of need. Ultimately, it’s all about being human.

3 things to do if you’re out of work

It’s an awful situation for those impacted, but an opportunity for anyone who finds themselves in this situation to:

  1. Take people up on their offers of help. It’s easy to be dismissive and think that you can cope alone.
  2. Encourage others to do the same. People might suffer in silence – notice and point them in the right direction.
  3. Remember how it felt to be supported in this way; seek opportunities to reach out to others.

The spirit of Thomas Cook lives on in ALL past employees – this has been evident in our local community and across social media. With such history, connection and humanity, maybe something incredible will rise from the ashes, like the proverbial phoenix.

And there’s even a Linkedin Group set up to help on jobseekers from Thomas Cook and recruiters way. It’s completely open to join, set up to help share vacancies and support.

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