Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Surplus to Requirements


Missing my contribution to the Madhouse today but don't let that stop you wondering over.

I wasn't going to post this and I have edited it heavily to make sure that I'm not recriminating myself or casting aspersions at others but it's a huge deal and I needed to vent.

Last night, I had the talk that had to be talked and on May 15 I'll take the walk that has to be walked. Yep, got fired. Well made redundant, retrenched, surplus to requirements. I knew it was coming but was hopeful that business profitability might pick up over the past six weeks. It hasn't. I was given a 'heads up' that my position was being 'evaluated'. But since nothing has happened and I've been given a Seminar to manage for 3rd June, I thought perhaps they'd decided to keep me on. It seems they were waiting for the March quarter reporting before driving that little metaphorical stake through my heart.

I'm a good employee. I don't take 'sickies' I'm a good mentor and communicator a great organiser and motivator. I'm punctual, great with clients and have learned more about databases, industry software and servers than you're average mumsy type will ever know. Perhaps I'm a little 'out there' for something as staid as Financial Planning but I'm loyal, honest, innovative, a quick learner and prepared to take on whatever's thrown at me. (Are you prospective employers hearing this?)

I admit that I can be too outspoken which sometimes doesn't lie well with others and as my psychometric profiling dictates, I do not have an eye for detail. And I don't suffer fools or rudeness or white-anting and I will stand up if I see an injustice or something that's untoward or unreasonable. I am however, one of these people who gets stuff done, copes well with change, takes a lead when others don't, won't or can't.

My main role in this SME is Practice Management, Marketing Communications and some administrative support. When the markets were buoyant and income no issue, I managed to fly. I had the confidence of the partners and and was given a free reign. I strategised, organised, instilled processes and costed their services. I built their Client Management System, revamped their Records Management System, I wrote policies and procedures. I hired and fired. I created Disaster Recovery Plans and Marketing Plans. I managed their website, organised their seminars, wrote their newsletters, marketing collateral and quarterly reports, built their corporate ID and even gave them their name. I lugged their office equipment and solved their IT issues. I oversighted the refurbishment of the office and resolved their conflicts. I built teams, communicated and was generally the go-between for management and shop floor. It was all very nice, a great combination of organisation and creativity - right up my alley. I even washed their tea towels and cleaned their fridge.

I was given a raise every year and never asked for one, told my position was secure, (anyone who knows me understands that job security is all to me . . .I now understand that it simply does not exist) I was told I was appreciated, valued, needed. In my zeal, I'd created (with the help of others of course) a great office environment with few hassles and had actually made my own position redundant in doing so.

However like so many small businesses, planning during the good times was not the best. Advice from business consultants and mentors was not implemented. Charging and servicing was inconsistent. An ability for all three partners to agree seemingly difficult. An equity-partnering deal was sealed with a huge Fund Manager and I was increasingly left out of the loop. Marketing was considered unnecessary in harsh economic times, especially when we could piggy back their expertise and basically as the highest paid, non-revenue producing member of staff, I was the obvious choice. I might have pissed off one of the partners with an errant email for which he has never forgiven me. Actually in fairness and if I was totally objective, (God I hate empathy) I'd have fired me too.

They've been decent and given me a good redundancy package that will see me through to Christmas or in the event I get a well paying job prior to that, I can admonish some of my debt. Although I am having trouble coming to terms with unemployment. Being laid off is more than uncomfortable, it shatters the self-esteem and the prospect of interviewing and finding a new position on the same wage at 52 years of age is well - beyond daunting. It may take some time for me to look at this as an opportunity to do something I like. I'm constantly being told that this is what it is - an opportunity! Frankly, it's an opportunity I'd rather be without. I feel bloody worthless today. I've been to the depths and am clamouring myself out . but it's hard, very hard.

I've been here before but I was 35 years old then, younger, employable, creative, fresh, enthusiastic and most importantly, debt free. Now, on the wrong side of middle age, Jill of all trades, master of none. I can do whatever I turn my hand to but won't be paid the same as I am now with younger, brighter, qualified things taking on the more highly paid positions. So it's back to temping, finding work, slogging away for shit per hour until I can prove that I have what it takes and deserve more. I'm so tired, so, so tired . . .so, so sad! So I did what any self respecting unemployed person would do . . .went and cashed in last year's Mothers' Day voucher and had a facial. I might not have a job but my face is as smooth as a baby's bum.

I took today off to sleep after a restless night, take stock, spruce up the resume and to nurse my still very sore back. I've had the shock and awe, worked through the anger, felt the depression and I'm now in the resignation stages of grief but it hasn't stopped me tearing up on a regular basis and wondering how the next four weeks is going to play out pootling around the office and taking on the 'poor thing' or possible 'gleeful' looks from colleagues who once respected and befriended me or who are glad to see the back of me. I wonder if I'll be able to tell which is which. So once again, I am dehumanized and feel totally worthless. It's no fun becoming a job loss statistic. It's terrifying wondering where your next dollar is going to come from and actually contemplating that your life insurance would cover your debts if only you had the gumption to take that step. (Which incidentally, I'm too chicken shit to do) It's even worse knowing that for one reason or another, I virtually engineered it myself!

Please send all job offers to bainbridge1610@gmail.com. I now have to find a new home for the wonder wall.

41 comments:

hokgardner said...

I am so sorry thishas happened. Having been "downsized" before, I know how shattering it can be.

Hang in there!

Hails said...

Ouch. Well done you for posting that - happened to me just over a year ago and I chickened out of blogging about it, despite needing to vent!

I was going to say all the "see it as an opportunity" stuff until I reached that bit. :) But while I take on board all you've said about age, and I realise that there's a difference between ours, I don't think it has to be a huge factor when someone is as motivated, enthusiastic and obviously hardworking as you are. Reading that list of things you acheived in your job made me realise exactly why I was made redundant last year. I'm only in my twenties, but I lacked all the qualities you bring to your job. I was in completely the wrong job, and terrible at it. Were I to go hunting for a "real" position now, I'd have much, much less of a chance of getting one than you would. You have experience, achievements, and plenty of proof of your abilities. I have no advice. But I do say, whatever it is that you want to do: go for it!

End of ineffectual pep talk. It did come from the heart though. :)

Brian Miller said...

sorry to hear about your job troubles. having been out since February, doing part time work to keep the bills paid, i feel for you. it can be a pretty tough blow. glad you posted though and are talking about it. you are definitely not alone. Its not the best market out there right now, i am a real encouragement i know, but there is money to be made depending on what you are willing to do. Great opportunity to think about what you really want to do and then go in search of it!

Baino said...

Hoki . .I'm devastated frankly. Happened to me twice and it's no better second time round. I am in a spin. Again. By the law of probability something truly wonderful will happen to me soon!

Hails I was advised not to so kept the personal stuff out. I could have said more but no point. I just hope I can convince a new employer that I'm not too old to have something to offer. Hopefully I can find something a little more creative. I didn't like finance much but I thought it was safe . what can be safer than working with your best buds? *sigh* I'm just old fashioned enough to take it very personally.

Brian I don't really care what I do as long as it pays the bills and provides me with gainful employment. I'll wash dishes if necessary. I think it's a baby boomer attitude to be upset about it but that's what I am. It's very hard. And being a single, even more so although my kids have been incredible in their support and fortunately are both earning. It's the emotional let-down that really has me choked.

California Girl said...

Oh God...just the thing we all dread, especially when we're on the "wrong side of middle age". Job security is all to me too but I know it does not exist.

Once you are through the five stages of grief, you will see the possibilities. My husband and I have discussed this many times. I am the breadwinner due to his two yrs of disability and no jobs in sight now. Everything depends on me, our health insurance included. However, if it all ends tomorrow, I want to get an RV, walk away from the house and the bills and say "Adios" and start over...on the wrong side of middle age!

Take heart. There's a pony in there somewhere!

Grow Up said...

Bugger. Sorry to hear that mrs. Here's wishing some luck comes your way...

nick said...

Very sorry to hear about that, what a nasty shock. I guess I felt much the same when I was first made redundant at 49. I went through a long period of feeling worthless, terrified, unemployable, obsolete etc, but got my confidence back eventually. I've had quite a few jobs since then which made me realise I had plenty to offer and the redundancy meant nothing about me personally. Also that age isn't necessarily an obstacle.

As Brian said, if there's some particular thing you want to do, now's the time to go after it. I'm sure you'll find something else a lot more interesting than washing dishes.

Just out of interest, were you the only one made redundant or were there others?

Susan said...

Damn. I hope it's only opened the way for something better, and I'm glad at least you've got a redundancy package.

We got hit too, in January; you summed up the angst and worry so well. We had a good year last year so made a few commitments and big purchases that now we wish we hadn't made--and now I resent the regret that I'm feeling about that. Why *shouldn't* we have an investment fund for our autistic kids' future; why shouldn't we have a reliable car? But making the payments on it all is now painful.

Good luck, hon: try to enjoy the pool and the dog and write a book or set the world on fire with your time off. Meanwhile I'll be praying to Gods all over that this turns into a good thing for you somehow, after all.

gaudiumdegaea said...

You are one amazing woman Bainoz, you know that?
THe last few weeks I have heard so many stories of employers asking employees, sorry did I say ask, I meant telling them that they would be subjected to salary cuts, making employees redundant, firing, whilst some of the high level management got themselves HD plasma screens for their officers.
People are forgetting the "interconnectedness". All the pain and hurt caused by greed and inconsiderate financial behaviours and non-ethical business practices which lack ultimate duty of care to staff and clients will come and bite people back in the arse.
That's all I have to say about this.
Your experience, skills, and the good karma you have accumulated over time being you will help you go through the hard times. In the meantime though, I am so sorry you are going through this at the moment.
Love,
Gx

Melissa said...

Oh, no! :( I'm so sorry, Baino! It's a terrible thing to face and go through -- thoughts and hugs are coming your way! xo

Kath Lockett said...

Oh Baino, I am so sorry that this happened to you. You are a truly wonderful, warm, intelligent, driven, creative and funny woman that any employer will be thrilled to have. As for being 52, don't sweat it - experience, maturity, a spring in your step and reliability counts, and smarter employers are finally starting to realise this.

Even if you have to swim in the temp pool for a while, it won't be forever. You shine too brightly not to be noticed, Ms B.

You might recall that two years ago I was forcibly removed from my role at UniSA, despite my manager (the now famous Bulldog) admitting that my performance was excellent and she was only doing it because HR helped her find a 'technicality' in my enterprise agreement. All this nastiness just so she could boost her own flagging ego and reassure herself that she was still able to do such things to others if and when she chose to. I'm still coming to terms with it - and it will take some time for you too.

It sucks arse, it really does, but I keep telling myself that the greatest revenge is to live well - one of these buttplugs will bump into you again - several months, or years from now, and you'll be the one having the last laugh, believe me.

...and keep writing about it. Your experiences during this time would make a fantastic book to read - moving, inspiring, funny, heart-rending, important.

Kath xo xo xo

Grandad said...

Ouch! I'm really sorry to hear that.

I was made redundant at 51, for the first time in my life. It was a shattering experience at the time and my self esteem hit rock bottom. But once the shock wears off, the self esteem returns.

It ain't you - it's the system.

Colette Amelia said...

This is terrible! And it is so very scary as I read all the things that you can do...and if someone who can do everything and has so much experience is jobless then all the poor slumps that are trying to find something after years of being a mom, volunteering and finally going back to school to get the education with the hopes that someone will hire them...and with very little work experience will really be left to those jobs that say:

"would you like paper or plastic?"
"Would you like ketchup with your fries?"

Welcome to Walmart!

My life insurance is going to the kids...the ex can have the bills!

Jenny Muir said...

Very sorry about this. So much of working life nowadays seems polarised into those who have no job and those who have to work all hours to keep the one they still have. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to who ends up on either side. But the best way to deal with it is to keep saying FUCKING BASTARDS (usually to oneself)whenever possible, I find.

You should definitely write a book about it, though....

Grannymar said...

Baino I feel your pain!

It is seven years now since I was in gainful employment. Health issues prevented me from returning to the workplace. That didn't guard me from going through the feelings that you now experience.

Harness the anger and turn it into positive energy. Write that book, turn the hobby into a business and show those guys what a mistake they made by letting you go!

Leah said...

I can only echo these positive, wonderful comments and put in a little note of support and goodwill and a hug from a great distance!

I can add, though others said it too, that you really are one impressive lady, lady. Just from reading your blog, I have been so happy to get to know your irreverent, brilliant, wonderful self.

I hope you'll vent here as much and as often as you need to!

Christopher said...

I'd like to second (or third, or fourth) all the positive, supportive comments, but also add that the expression "being made redundant" has always intrigued me. It doesn't seem like you're really being made redundant, especially since you're irreplaceable. Here in the United States the most common expression is "being fired". I'm not trying to be flippant, but I really think "fired" is a better term than "redundant", because it's hard to lose your job without a lot of burning resentment, anger, and humiliation. Especially in a case like this.

steph said...

Well, FECK it anyway!

You, of all people, don't deserve that sort of treatment, Baino

No wonder you're feeling hurt and vulnerable right now.

I'm sending you huge, gynormous hugs to let you know that I'm rooting for you big time!

(((((xox)))))

Ronda Laveen said...

Darn near same thing happend to my sister. She seems a lot like you personality wise. Often, people who tell her they welcome her honesty, hold it against her. I guess people just like having smoke blown up their wazzoo. And the worthlessness. Yes, she is experiencing so much of that. She will be 49 in August.

I have had positions like you where I've created the business, made the company and owner lots of $$$$. Put heart and soul into it. And then the business sold or the wife came in to take over cause it was running so well. Twice, after 6-12 years each time, I walked away with nothing. I swore it would not happen a third. If I was going to work that hard again, it would be for MY business.

And that is what I have done. I have created my own business as a solo massage therapist and am quite successful. I am the sole support of our income as my husband is the artist of the family. He works all the time but brings home very little $$. I may have to keep clients coming in, pay my own taxes, and provide my own insurance, but no one can fire me but me. Now that I think of it, with the last doctor I was back office manager for, I had to fire myself too. That was kind of weird.

Come on over and I'll give you a massage to go with your facial. In the spa that I work in, overall, esthetics are down. But as we older women look for work, a good number are spending money on facials and microderms before that all important "good job" interview.

laughingwolf said...

dang, baino... that sucks! :(

do you have to show up at the office?

if not, stay away and spend time pondering other positions

or, how about: baino consulting?

all the best, m'dear friend....

Candie Bracci said...

Oh come on,don't tell me that!I'm so sorry Baino.I wish you will find something else,don't lose hopes!I wish it with all my heart.Those bastards don't deserve you!!I'll be sticking around to support you in that hard time.
Sending you positive energies too.
You are brave and strong,you will get through it,I know.

kj said...

dearest baino, i am so damn sorry. there is no one more wonderful or more competent than you. please remember that in between fits of flucuating grief and, i hope, pissed off anger.

this is the start of something new and fresh. you have to go through some snarls but you'll see i'm right.

love you my friend,
kj

Pam said...

Sorry to hear this Baino.Many of the comments are more eloquant than I, but am sending a "Bugger. That sucks" over the border from Sth Aust.Sums it up really.My sympathies to you,and am also applauding you for a job well done.

Megan said...

That sucks. I mean, it really, really sucks.

Glad to hear they gave you something to get you through the between time. Definitely a good thing to hear. I had two weeks. Effing scary.

You'll find something. But it's going to be no fun looking.

Well, we'll be here for you in our own little way, whenever you need it!

Annie Ha said...

Oh, Baino. I am sorry. It is one of the worst feelings. Sending you strength!

conortje said...

what horrible news - I'm both sad and annoyed on your behalf. Also incredibly frustrated.

I can only imagine that someone as articulate, experienced and talented as yourself will find something as good if not better soon. I will certainly be crossing my fingers and sending you lots of positive thoughts.

River said...

I'm sorry to be reading this and I know exactly how you feel. I was also retrenched when the shoe factory I worked in closed and moved off-shore. I'd loved that job and the people I worked with (most of them) for 9 years and I'd been hoping to stay until retirement. I was sad to leave, but thought I had a good chance of getting hired in similar facilities, since I knew several aspects of the job, was an excellent worker, etc. What a shock to find that not only didn't they want me, they'd hired others from my workplace who I knew to be less competent than I was. So the job applications began. Rejection after rejection. I applied for training positions and was turned down. I applied to do a tourism course, a hospitality course, both times I was toldI could do the course but they wouldn't recommend it as I was too old to get a position. Too old at 49!! THAT was when I felt totally worthless. I gave up applying after 2 1/2 years and sat at home. By now my redundancy had run out and I was trudging to and from Centrelink on a fortnightly basis. Finally I applied to be a Christmas casual at Coles and was accepted. I saw it as a temporary stop-gap, a stepping stone to something better. 6 years later, I'm still bagging groceries. Unaccepted anyhere else I've applied. Job network places will always say age isn't an issue, shouldn't be an issue. But it is. A huge issue.

California Girl said...

thought I'd check in this AM to see how you are doing?

Let us know.

CG

Candie Bracci said...

How are you Baino?

Terence McDanger said...

Baino I can't believe what I've just read.

I'm not going to fill a page with the usual cliches about this being an opportunity and you'll see it as a blessing some day etc., except to say that these well-worn expressions are actually very meaningful statements that just seem like cliches through overuse - and they're only overused because they have a genuine kernel of truth at the heart of them that, more often than not, applies.

When the fog clears, you'll figure out how to use your time and redundancy nestegg, take a short course to upskill, whatever. You'll be alright Baino because you're just too bloody good not to be.

We're all thinking of you anyway, hope it's some comfort.

TMcD.

JMLC said...

Oh for pete's sake. I'm so sorry. It's really a crappy thing and no matter what good comes after, what doors are now open for you and what wonderful things are now in store, it's crappy until that happens. And maybe even after. Hang in there. Take care of yourself- more smooth skin and pretty nails for you! :-)

Kath Lockett said...

Baino, are you OK?

Cuppa Jo said...

ooh, erm, I hope it all works out well for you. The last time I was without a job I was too young to feel worried about it and had no debt. Still, I hope it all works well for you and that someone has something to offer you.

Excellent rant by the way.

Baino said...

Sorry folks, it seems I have worried some of you with my absence but I assure you it was due to shaping of my broadband not me drowning in my tears although I've done a bit of that this week.

I have read all your comments, more than once, and emails and want to thank you so much for your support, kind words, votes of confidence and for sharing your own experiences. I won't reply to everyone here because it would take an age but I really do appreciate you dropping in and putting in your two cents worth. Thank you all. You really are rather amazing.

One wonderful thing is that Clare and I have resolved to travel to Melbourne at the end of the month for a LONG weekend to have some fun, do some shopping and meet up with friends, my niece . . Kahlerisms and Brethred and to meet she who gets paid to eat chocolate . . Kath Lockett from Blurb from the Burbs so I'm now very excited!

Thank you again . . stay tuned .. .Theme Thursday coming up!

English Mum said...

Ah shit, Mrs B, that's major league suckage. As someone who has said some very kind things to me during some very tough times, I hope you'll be kind to yourself and see this for what it is, not any kind of statement on your personality/ability/dodgy email sending, but just a plain old sign of the times. Hang in there, Dude. You're so much more than a job, you're a really, really great person. Mwah xxxxx

i beati said...

How are you coping?After May my job is done and I shall sit in the hottest part of the year with no funds, looking looking. Start your own internet business and show them all !!!!Something everyone needs and there's not enough of !!Go Girl !!

Ces said...

Oh my God! I am so sorry Baino. You seem to be taling it better than I ever would. Now when a door closes, another one opens and better yet you are out there in the wide open field.I know this does not help, a job is a job and if it is your source of income it stinks to be out of it. Pray, take stock and pray. Go out there and find what best suits you. Good luck. I am rooting for you!

Ribbon said...

Buggar Baino... big hug for you(())

Don't know what else to say. You've pretty much covered everything in your post.

I do know that all will be well soon just because of who you are.

best wishes Ribbon

ashleigh said...

Shit f#$% poo bum.

You might see I've had not posting for a while. We've just laid off 9 people. You got 4 weeks notice. They got 15 minutes.

It's a crap shit time right now and all manner of evil is being done. How about asking if people want to work 4 days a week, or go half time? Nope. Sacked. Sucks.

Keep posting please - you're a fun read. Something will turn up, something always does. It might not be what you want but anything at all will show, later, to employers that you've got get-up-n-go, and believe me, that counts heaps.

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