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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I now have to find a new home for the wonder wall.