March 27th, 2013

Merlin - with torch

Important life news.

Those of you who know me well may be aware that the organisation for which I work (which I'd better not name - I did that before and got in trouble for it) is undergoing a bit of structural upheaval. The long and the short of it is that I'm virtually certain to be made redundant in the next few months (not 100% - of the eight or so of who do my job across the country at different sites, there's a possibility that one of us may stay in post until about November; the rest of us, it looks as if we'll likely be given the keys to the street by June or so).

However, there are a few posts which we have been "broadly" (but sadly not "substantially) matched to in the new organisational structure, and rather pleasantly I had an email today telling me (and other people on the "undisclosed recipients" list) that I've been ringfenced for one of them. It's a pay grade lower than I'm on at the moment, sadly, but according to my manager (with whom I had a one-to-one last week) we'll be on pay protection for three years; also, it's at the Milton Keynes site, where I'm already working, which is a positive (although we have several sites across the country none of them are anywhere near as close; I was tentatively considering one of the posts at the Southampton site, until Sarah pointed out that realistically, even the the AA route planner reckons about 1 3/4 hours journey each way, that's likely to increase to about 2½ hours in rush hour, with the obvious increase in diesel bills). So, I've emailed back to say I'm interested in being interviewed for this particular job. That of course doesn't guarantee I'll get a job at the end of it, but it's a positive sign, There are at least a couple of other posts which I suspect I'll express an interest in (one of which is a pay scale up from where I am at the moment.

Practical as ever, when I 'phoned Sarah to tell her the potentially good news, her first words were to remind me that I'd need a haircut. And a clean suit. ^_^

If the worst comes to the worst and I get made redundant, I'll get ten months worth of pay (one month for every year I've worked in the organisation - I recently passed my ten years' service, which used to be a big milestone, but with the changes they don't seem to be marking it any more. That should tide us over for a while. Contingency plans include

a.) setting up a small business converting vinyl records and audio tapes to CD, and video tapes to DVD; I might do this anyway - it's something I do for a hobby anyway. I suspect that the first thing I'll do if I get the letter giving me the shove (there has to be a certain amount of notice - I think it works out to a week per year worked) is bung an ad in the local newsagents window, and possibly one in the local paper too. If I get some interest, it's something to at least consider long term; if not, then I know it's not something to set my heart on.

b.) learning to program a computer (Sarah has pointed out that there's a lot of ageism within the industry and, at 43 and without any real experience - BBC Basic doesn't really count - I'm not particularly employable; still, it's something I'd like to do even if it's just for myself. If I can get a job out of it, so much the better).

c.) writing a novel or five. Probably not something I'd want to rely on, but again, something I'd like to do if only for my own satisfaction. These days there's always self-publishing or eBooks as a possibility...

d.) Office Angels have always been good to me before. That was before I had over 10 years continuous employment at one company behind me.

e.) Down the local jobcentre. To be honest, I actually fancy doing something that doesn't rely on too much brain power. I'd happily stack shelves at the local Tesco, for a while at least, if it gets a bit of cash in my pocket and keeps me off the street. It's only ten minutes walk down the road, meaning I get more time to spend doing my own thing (see items a - c above), means I'm not (or rather, Sarah isn't) forking out over £50 for fuel every week, meaning I'd get to enjoy a pleasant 10 minute stroll to work and back every day...but I suspect I could get something that would pay a lot better anyway. We'll see...