Ok I'm officially sick of this economic downturn although I've been in a downward economic spiral for the past five years and through two recessions before. The glass has always been half full but I'm finding it a little hard to keep my chin up today.
The Most Annoying Paraplanner in The World was retrenched today - two days after returning from Annual Leave and two weeks before Christmas which is a bit cruel considering her payout would have been greater with 3 weeks leave up her sleeve.
Frankly I'd have sacked her before now because she was not greatly productive but I didn't see that one coming and I'm the HR person! Well I thought I was. We in the Quad of course knew there was something up - she moved from office to office, shut doors and long conversations with a planner she liked and each of the Partners. It was clear she was leaving but the redundancy took us all by surprise. She told her PA (who stayed schtum), said her goodbyes and I've no doubt 'vented' her spleen to those behind doors prior to her leaving but said nothing to three of the Quad members - testament to what she thought of us I suppose.
Then at 5pm, one of the Partners who was visibly upset by having to let her go announced their decision. Another partner reassured us that without that one salary, pot plants and chilled water and a reduction in the collection of recycle bins (required only because SOME people print EVERYTHING they receive via email) . .the business was sound - well at least until June 2009 - and encouraged us to think of any other cost-cutting measures that might be appropriate. The third partner when asked about whether they understood the extra administrative burden of - you guessed it - Anti Terrorism and Anti Money Laundering Legislation - dodged the bullet.
Frankly we were all shell-shocked. PA's know everything but we didn't see this one coming. You could smell the vulnerability in the room!
I'm all for cost-cutting. It's a small business and yes we order too much stationary. I've never been a great fan of indoor plants and since I consider water something you wash and pee in, the loss of a cooler for me is not a bad thing (won't have to change that huge bottle because it's 'above' TMAPPITW felt it beneath her). I don't print every thing I receive via email and I'm happy to make a few sacrifices - My best friends own 30% of the business so that goes without saying. Much as I love my parking spot, if it has to go . . .it has to go.
My main gripe is that no real words of motivation were offered in terms of productivity despite the best efforts of the Elder Statesman. Our partners, have little idea of the amount of stupidly frustrating unnecessary paperwork that is required to implement their recommendations. But it definitely IS is the job of our Adviser team to be 'Rainmakers' one of those boardroomspeak words that means 'rake in clients'. We're a good business, the advice is highly qualified and sound. Our service offering is quality. You won't find our guys and girls recommending Olive Groves or buildings off the plan.
Of course it's hard in an economic downturn but I've been doing work for clients who are underpaying for over five years. And I've been listening to self funded retirees who have lost 30% of their capital. It's one thing to cut the budget, it's another to attempt to reach realistic targets, lock in clients for whom we are doing work and yet don't charge or don't charge enough. CLOSE THE FUCKING SALE! and if you have a happy client ASK FOR BLOODY REFERRALS.
Hopefully that will change in January as our new charging regime comes into play but today . . I felt like a Mushroom. I'm supposed to be the Practice Manager (read cleans fridge and crawls under desks, fixes printers and faxes, makes sure there are coffee pods, signage and enough letterhead to go around and agrees with Thommo on decor colour and Christmas Hampers). I'm also supposed to be Marketing but thanks to my client service role have little time to do more than write a newsletter or promotional email each quarter and make sure that our Client Welcome Pack materials are in stock. I'm supposed to be a PA but it's not a job to which I'm suited although my ability to fill in forms is becoming awesome. AND I'm supposed to be IT Liaison which means I'm adept at buying chocolate out of my own funds in order to jump the queue and reward those who are most helpful. The phrase "We'll all have to knuckle down" has little resonance for me because I'm already doing as much as I can. As are the other three Administrators.
I've been retrenched twice (must be a total biatch I hear you say). Well the first time, perhaps. I had a falling out with a peer who ended up being my boss and the rest is history but I was young and angry and newly widowed and all sorts of things then. The other was simply politics and our department was moved to Canberra so it was take voluntary redundancy, be relocated within NSW police or move to Canberra . . so I took the $25,000 and six months pay. I still lunch with my old colleagues and we're all bitter about the decision.
But now, I'm 52 years old. I'm basically an everyday administrator with delusions of grandeur albeit paid what I'm worth. I don't react well to fear and the thought of losing my job, even though I'm not crazy about it, is so demoralising, so dehumanising so fearful that the alternatives don't bear thinking about. I'm insecure at the best of times but right now . . I'm thinking what else can I do . . any suggestions? (And no, I'm definitely not attractive enough to sell my body although the thought has crossed my mind . . . I'm more cut out to be the cleaning lady - can't tell you how mad I am that I didn't become Super Nanny)
Smug biatch even looks like me. . .