Saturday, 24 October 2015

The Times They Are a Changing

Well, it would seem my 4th period of redundancy is going to hit in just over two months time. Got the obligatory "consultation" letter, which is just tick-box-speak for a decision has already been made. The organisation has been steadily pared down over a two year period to the extent that I was the last man standing (having had to make others redundant in the process) and am about to be bowled over myself.

Redundancy is a constant Damocles' sword in high-tech businesses. What's high value and cutting edge today is subject to cheap Korean competition within a short space of time. My company has also been subjected to defense budget cuts, leading to lucrative contracts being cancelled and opportunities being postponed indefinitely. Sitting on my own on the western edge of my market, I'm not exactly in the centre of things either. We also happen to be a one-trick pony within my particular sector, having no other products with which to take up the slack within the revenue troughs. Inevitable really.

My father retired on a healthy final-salary-pension at age 58 after having been in the same job all his life. Redundancy at 60 is pretty tough - whatever people may say, there is discrimination against employing people over 50, despite the grey hairs indicating a level of maturity, sagacity and experience. I had hoped to last just another two and a half years, by which time the mortgage on the new-build will have been paid off and I could have retired to just work when I wanted and for peanuts (can't ever see myself fully retired).

Most people in my position transition to working for themselves on a consultancy basis, and that may very well be what I end up doing. The secret to consultancy, so I am led to believe and from previous experience, is to start with your last company and move out from that nucleus; Big Bang transition with no clear idea of a target can lead to disaster. Feelers have gone out to some 200 contacts in my network, and let's see what that brings over the next few days. In the meantime I shall draw up a proposal to work part-time or on a consultancy basis for my current employer.

Been there and gone through it before, so I'm not as shattered as the first or second time it happened - I know the pitfalls and the steps to take; extend the mortgage term, cease all private pension payments, get rid of one car. Thank God we have the rent coming in from the cabin and that the electricity for the house is self-funding. If push comes to shove, we can give notice to the chaps renting the cabin as office space, move in there ourselves and rent out the house to cover the mortgage. Perhaps I should move into redundancy counselling...


  1. Sorry to hear that Phil - as you say you're well grounded to continue life as you know it - I went through similar recently as you know. Best of luck - although intelligence is what will prevail!

  2. Been there done that and more than once!
    My favourite reply to the booter was "Well never mind I was looking for a job when I accepted yours"

  3. Phil, I am willing to bet such a resourceful fellow will be fine. I had two with GN Comtext and Netverk and not only survived but flourished. Perhaps you need a change of direction?

    1. I'm sure I do, Peter - consultancy perhaps...