On 29 February I spent my last day – well, half day really – at the company where I’ve worked for twelve and a half years. After that I was officially redundant, unemployed, no longer required. My role didn’t fit into the new structure.
Did I mind that I’d been made redundant? Would I miss the daily grind? Hard to say. Since Christmas I had hardly been at work, having spent most of January sick and most of February on ‘flexible working’ – a euphemism for keeping out of the way.
During January, always a dark time for me, I’d had plenty of time for introspection – there really is nothing like feeling poorly and sorry for yourself to instigate a spot of naval gazing. Several things were very apparent:
- I liked many aspects of my work
- I liked many of the people I worked with
- Over the years I’ve made some good friends at work
- I hated the politics and the BS
- I hated the new department I’d been forced into – neither I, nor my role fitted and I’d had the temerity to say so. Ironically, the ill-fit was the reason I was made redundant; it was a self fulfilling prophecy
- I despised some of the people I worked with – and they probably felt the same about me
- I hated that Monday morning feeling – it often began on Saturday night
- I really wanted to write fiction – full time
So, what could I do?
The obvious answer would be to leave. A scary thought – I love the security of a regular income. Who doesn’t? Maybe I could work part-time, that would at least allow me more time to write. So, perhaps I had options, possibilities. A deadline was set but in the meantime I’d see how it went.
But the fates had other plans. I went back to work at the end of January and three days later my role was put at risk. Because I’d been off sick I hadn’t seen it coming, unlike my colleagues who had seen the signs and were expecting the worse. While others were worried about the future I had to stop myself from grinning and laughing; it was hard. After a miserable month of meetings which masqueraded as consultations – a misnomer since there was no consultation, no genuine desire or opportunity for discussion, the decision had already been made long before the roles at risk scenario – three out of six were made redundant. We knew in advance who would be going – those of us who were not new, bright or shiny. Our experience and knowledge was no longer required.
And so I said my goodbyes, had a lovely leaving lunch and left. And today, two weeks after my last day, I received my redundancy pay. Not a large sum because the organisation I worked for will only pay the bare minimum, but it’s a damn sight more than the nothing I would have received if it had been my own decision to leave.
Now I have to put my money where my mouth is and write fiction – full time. I write romantic comedies which feature work situations so it’s possible, though not obligatory, that some of my redundancy experience will creep into a future book.
As I sit in my home office on a sunny Monday morning I have no regrets, only gratitude to my former employer. Gratitude that they took the initiative. Gratitude that they have enabled me to follow my dream and write full time. Gratitude that they acted so quickly. Their timing was perfect, after only three days back at work I knew I was going to leave, not because I was being made redundant but because I was going to hand my notice in on 1 March. But I never had to. I didn’t have to leave with just one month’s pay in my pocket. They paid me to go, but I was going to go anyway.
My revenge for being made redundant ? Happiness. I’m happier that I’ve been in a very long time. Twelve and half years to be precise.