Thursday, October 3, 2013


It’s not a nice word is it? Redundant. Unnecessary. Superfluous. Disused. Outmoded. Unwanted.

All very cheerful terms, to describe a very cheerful thing.

I’ve been made redundant once before. In 2010, a couple of years after the banks all started imploding and collapsing in on themselves like dying stars, the resultant economic black hole had expanded from its beginnings in the City of London and reached such crucial financial outposts as Bristol.

Actual black holes are reputed to suck in everything around them. Nothing can escape. Even that speediest of speedy things, light, isn’t speedy enough to escape the clutches of the black hole. Its fiscal equivalent feeds on jobs. Thousands and thousands of jobs. By the time my job was “reviewed” and, ultimately, “rationalised”, the job losses at my company alone came to around 20,000.

I didn’t fear redundancy in 2010. I embraced it. Redundancy knocked on my door and I welcomed it in, made it a hot cup of tea and told it I would happily be made redundant. Because I was young. Because I was (in marital terms) single. Because nobody depended on the money I was paid. Because of course I would get another job, how hard could it be?

People who had worked at the company for decades were concerned. Their CVs had last been updated when MS DOS was but a twinkle in the pre-pubescent mind of Bill Gates. Some had probably been written on papyrus.

But I was convinced I’d be fine.

And I was, more or less, correct. I was unemployed for about two months.

Now, in 2013, the job I got after I was made redundant the first time is* making me redundant. Sorry, it’s making my ROLE redundant. A distinction I should imagine will keep my spirits resolutely afloat when I drag my arse into the Job Centre for the first time. At least I only have to go once every fortnight…

I'll have a new one of these soon. Mine won't be courtesy of The Telegraph though, like this photo is.

Anyway, yes, today I was formally entered into the consultation period which it is “more than likely” will lead to my exit from the company in somewhere between three and eight weeks’ time.

How do I feel?


Alright. Then not alright. Confident. Then scared. Sure of my abilities. Doubtful. It changes by the hour, by the minute, by the second. Changes when I look at job websites overflowing with “opportunities” which barely warrant the name. Changes when I think about the array of fixed costs I can do nothing to reduce, which zip from my bank account like electronic ghosts. Changes when I hold my baby boy and wonder whether, soon, he’ll be seeing a lot more of me than he currently does. Changes when I think about that black hole, which still no-one has managed to sow up and stop.

I’m trying to think of it in positive terms: a new beginning, a chance to do something I’ve always wanted (what have I always wanted to do? Nothing, I don’t think).

But it’s not always easy to be positive about something so overwhelmingly negative.

Pretty soon I’ll be jobless, and the best thing about it is going to be keeping my curtains closed all day and tweeting pictures of them to George Osborne.

*Almost certainly, although strictly it isn’t set in stone just yet.