I am officially at risk of redundancy. Long-term readers will know this isn’t the first time We’ve been there before. Only two years ago. I took the whole thing quite badly then – the stress, the pressure, the uncertainty… Frankly, I was a mess. Looking back on that time upsets me. I can hardly recognise the person I was then. I’ve moved on and cheered up so much in the last two years.
I was desperate to get a job and incredibly happy when I did. It turned out in the end everyone else did too (because sufficient people had taken voluntary redundancy or early retirement). All that worry for nothing.
When I worry like that it doesn’t just affect me. It affects my whole family. That’s not fair on them. They’ve done nothing wrong. They don’t deserve it.
I work in the public sector. The public sector is being squeezed massively by reductions in government grants, council tax freezes (for the good of the people who’ve been hit by the recession over the last goodness-knows-how-many years) and by increased demand for services from a rapidly ageing population. Something has to give. Money has to be saved. Right now that money is being saved by restructuring the area I work in (and lots of other areas too) and reducing the numbers of staff.
I don’t want to go through that again. I don’t want to put myself and my family under that pressure. I don’t want to read the job descriptions, choose a job, tailor an application to suit and go through a soul-destroying interview with people I know, to potentially come out with nothing but a big gaping wound inside. A feeling that I’m worthless, not good enough, my face doesn’t fit, I’m old hat…
This time redundancies will definitely happen. The cuts are much bigger, the restructuring more dramatic.
There are few jobs in the new structure I could do.
Actually, that’s not true, there are few jobs in the structure I WOULD BE PERCEIVED AS BEING ABLE TO DO. Those are two different things. We’ve already been told, jobs will go to people who have the experience, not to people who show potential and willingness to learn and take on something different.
There’s voluntary redundancy on the table. Maybe I should just take the money and run?
But I’m between a rock and a hard place. I’m just about to move into a bigger house with a bigger mortgage. Now is not the time to be without a salary. Let’s be honest, the terms of the mortgage probably mean I CAN’T be without a salary.
So I do the application, I do the interview, I don’t get the job. What then? Compulsory redundancy?
Not necessarily. For me, this is the worst bit. If I don’t get a job I face the prospect of redeployment to a job deemed suitable for me elsewhere in the council. Where could I end up? Doing admin in a team of people who don’t talk and don’t have a laugh like we do (whilst also working very hard I might hasten to add). And if I don’t like it? No prospect of redundancy. It’s take it or leave it. And if you leave it, you come out with nothing.
A rock and a hard place.