Having been employed for 31 years with the same company, after a year unemployed following polytechnic, I was made redundant last week. For the last week I've been (very) slow-timing through various bits of admin, finishing off a book and generally been a bit of a nuisance about the house. It's got to stop soon or I'll get used to it and ultimately end up skint. What should I be doing now? Should I be registering unemployed somewhere? Do I have to wait a while before I can register unemployed, bearing in mind that I've had a redundancy payment? My firm has contacted me and suggested that there could well be some work that they'd like to offer me, rates to be finalised, while I'm in a state of limbo. A condition is that I become self-employed and therefore become responsible for my own tax and National Insurance. This is something that I don't have much clue about, having left that to the bean counters in the Payroll Department. Bearing in mind that this suggestion was made a little bit more than wistful thinking a couple of hours ago, I've not really started researching the concept, but I gather that pensions and sickness start to creep into the equation. WTF is "additional State Pension" for example? I've been paying into a company pension scheme for over 25 years and am aware that I opted out of something to do with State Pension at some stage. Am I automatically opted back in now that I no longer work for the company and payments into the pension scheme have ceased? The work isn't likely to be anything like full-time, maybe a few days per week and maybe weeks without work (though there is a potential for prolonged employment during the Olympics, when most of the staff have booked longer-than-usual leave, and afterwards, when the company realises that they've just got shot of the only person they had who could work independently in a specialised field that is going to be in big demand). I'm tempted to go for it, not only to keep some pennies going into the bank, but also to maintain contacts that could land me a permanent job. I still haven't decided in which direction I want to go in the job market. There aren't many firms around that do the range of work that I used to do. I could go freelance but I'd have to severely narrow the range of services that I'd offer, if only because of the cost of equipment. Or I could go for a complete change - any good apprenticeships for someone in his mid 50s, anyone? There's an added complication to all this. A couple of months ago, I played a starring role in a Reportable Incident and my back hasn't yet recovered. This doesn't exactly make me a saleable property at the moment and I'm reluctant to look for work until it settles (I have an idea that if I apply now, not only will I be turned down, but it'll also reduce my chances if I subsequently re-apply). The firm I worked for is obviously aware of the injury, so the work offered should take account of my inability to lift stuff. Having said this, during my closing weeks (before the termination date was known), they did push the boundaries a bit far a few times. At that time I wasn't overly concerned given that if I couldn't work, they wouldn't be getting fees, but I'd still get paid. Now I'd have to be a bit more forthright about which jobs I'd take on. So I'm asking for advice from those in the know. What should I be doing now? Is turning self-employed a good move to pick up some short-term and certainly non-lucrative pay or does it have consequences that could outweigh the benefits? Would I need to engage an accountant? Beyond claiming compensation and trying to get my GP to do something more than issuing painkillers, is there anything I should be doing in relation to my injury? All help will be much appreciated because I'm in unknown territory. I don't have a map but I'm aware that I have to avoid some place called Shit Creek because I haven't got a paddle.