At Risk of Redundancy

Published on 2 November 2010 in , , , ,

It can’t have passed most people by that we’re now in some sort of “age of austerity” which, as far as I can make out, seems to consist more of an ideological desire to give public sector employees Job Seekers Allowance rather than a salary, and where, upon complaining about it, the only retort is ever “DEFICIT DEFICIT! WE MUST SORT OUT THE DEFICIT! ARE YOU THICK? WE MUST DO IT! WE MUST DO IT NOW!” at which point foam starts flying off mouths faster than you can froth up the milk for a latte.

BBC East - Norwich - sign

Photo by ell brown. Creative Commons licensed.

So in the midst of hundreds of thousands of public sector employees preparing to be given their P45s, it feels rather strange to be a public sector employee who is waiting to be given his P45 and for reasons that have got diddly squat to do with paying off those heady days when the nation actually had money and insisted that its politicians spent it, and politicians of all hues were doing their best to live up to that expectation. Yes, even the Conservatives.

In January it will be eleven years since I joined the BBC, however chances are I won’t be working there on my twelfth anniversary as a few weeks ago I was formally notified in writing that I was “at risk of redundancy”, based on a decision I made last summer not to move to Salford.

At risk of redundancy technically means you enter a consultation period about your role. It can even be where employees (and/or unions) discuss with employers options which don’t require their (or many) jobs being scrapped. I was half tempted to go in to one such meeting and say “well yes, lets discuss how I can keep my job. Here’s my suggestion – lets not move it to Salford!” however wasn’t sure the person from HR would get the joke. (I did try it on with my boss when he gave me the letter proclaiming “What’s this? A payrise? A much deserved promotion?!”)

And so, baring the minor miracle of getting some dream job, it means I’m likely to be leaving the BBC next June, pocketing a redundancy cheque in the process.

Everyone wants to know what I’m doing to do. So do I.

I know one thing for sure and that’s that for the first time ever in my life, I’m deliberately taking some time off. I’ve been in non-stop employment every since leaving uni, and whilst studying for my degree and A-Levels I was always working in summer. I think it’s time to have a little fun. And maybe decorate the living room. I’m already half forming one big summer project – walking the Southern Upland Way in the Scottish borders, and you can rest assured I’ll be blogging about it. I also have some other walking related writing ideas that I’m going to play around with whilst I have the chance.

Once September comes along, I’m going to go freelance and see what happens. One of the benefits of the new media landscape is that there’s usually a busy freelance market. Obviously I’ve no idea where I’ll end up, or any idea quite what I’ll be doing (other than putting my finely honed product management/business analyst/social media muppet skills to good use, and maybe doing some freelance writing), which is all rather exciting.

And scary. It’s scary too. I won’t deny that there’s the fears that I won’t find anything. The worries about money. But mostly it’s exciting. For now anyway. Ask me again in a years time and we’ll see…

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