on facing voluntary redundancy

Five years ago, one of us had to go. Someone in my department needed to be paid off. We each had our reasons as to why we thought the finger would point at us, and we worried how we would survive without a job. In the end, one colleague chose early retirement and gave the rest of us a reprieve. Panic over.

Redundancy is a horrible word. In context, it means your post is deleted; its nothing personal. But at the same time it feels personal. You are no longer needed; you are unwanted. Be gone.

This time, all employees have been asked to consider voluntary redundancy or reduced hours. And this time, I don’t see it as a disaster, as a failure. This time I see it as an opportunity.

Maybe its the fact that its voluntary, that I have a choice this time. And after much deliberation, I made my choice. I’ve applied for it.

The Pros

  • I have 14 years service so I would get a year’s pay in my hand. A whole year to figure out what to do next
  • I could take on part-time, short term work in the meantime, anything I fancied trying
  • I would have time to write more and to finish the courses I’m doing
The Cons
  • I’m so flaky that I never ever know what I want to do anyway, so the chances of me figuring out a concrete career path in the next year is slim (does this even matter in this day and age?). But this means I have an inherent fear of wasting opportunities
    • The jobs market up here is pathetic and its very much about who you know. I guess I could move – I’m not totally averse to that idea, but at the same time I’m not overly keen, and I don’t want to be forced into it
  • My employer is the biggest in the Highlands. If I leave, its trickier to get back in. I may need them again someday
But despite the cons, it felt like the right thing to do. I’ve been half-heartedly looking for other work for a while, with no luck, so perhaps its time to jump. Bearing in mind my application may be rejected anyway – word is that the scheme is over-subscribed.

I came back to work after Chistmas with the intention of making a real effort and trying to enjoy it. But I can’t. I do what I have to but that’s it. Things I would once have considered a challenge, are now an inconvenience. I used to go out of my way to make and find projects for myself, but now I only do what I’m asked. That isn’t to say I hate everything about working there; my line manager and higher management are on the whole excellent, and I like the majority of my colleagues. There is a certain culture within the organisation though; many sit around doing very little, simply because they can. There is no accountability. This means I’m often chasing my tail, as well as growing increasingly frustrated by the lacklustre efforts of others. But I’m at the stage where I just don’t care anymore.

And I’m sick to death of getting grief from the public, all the time, about everything. I’ve had 14 years of it, and although I can handle it, I’m tired of it.

I’m also going to apply for reduced hours, so if nothing else I’ll work a 4 day week which will allow some balance into my life. Not that my work takes over – when I come home at night I don’t need to think about it until the next day. But I love the idea of one extra day to work on my own projects. I can afford the pay drop, and the extra time in my own life will be worth it.

I’m not naive enough to think redundancy will be easy. I’ll still need to find work and I’ll need to manage my money carefully. But at this stage in my life its an option worth considering. It’s hard to get my head around how big a life change this decision is. Once I’m out, there’s no going back. But I do believe things unfold as they should, so whatever happens will be the right thing to happen.

Here’s to the future. Here’s to evolving.

Have you ever been made redundant? Would you jump at the opportunity if the conditions were right?

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