The Talk

The fog had finally lifted, after a truly spooky Halloween weekend. I arrived in the office a bit earlier than usual, hoping to get some work done before my first meeting. It had been very quiet for a few months and I was happy to have some interesting work to do.

I entered the HR office holding a warm cup of tea. The department manager was there too.

“I have some bad news. Things are not going well and we have to reduce the overheads. You are one of three people considered in your team, we can keep only two of you. We will communicate our decision on Friday.”

The head of HR went on explain the criteria that will be taken into account, the (poor) redundancy package I’d be given.

“I imagine you will need time to digest all this. If you have any question on the process, don’t hesitate to ask.”

Tea getting cold in my mug, I went back to the office. One of the other two, Mrs A., was there, her desk next to mine. She had been told before me. She had a cancer last year, she returned to work only a few weeks ago and is still debilitated by the chemio. Worst things can happen. She’s collecting a few this year. She asked if I had been told and I started crying. We went to the ladies and shared a chocolate bar.

I went about my work mechanically for the rest of the day. I felt sad. Didn’t see that coming. I know that I haven’t had enough work to do lately, and I didn’t like it. But a new business development manager had been hired in August in my team and when he brings new business in, I’m the one who is supposed to do the work. Or not.

The following day and night my sadness changed to anger. Of us three, Mrs A. has just come back from long term sickness leave, Mrs B. has got the best experience and qualifications, then me. Three part-time mums. It seems deeply unfair even to hope that it’s one of them, not me. I’ll search for another job even if they keep me.

My direct boss called me after The Talk. He’s sorry I’ve been involved in this situation. He’ll make sure they know how useful I have been and would be in the future. He’s such a lovely person, I’d miss him a lot.

Today I’m calm. I’ll walk in that office again tomorrow and this horrible story will be over. Then I’ll send my CV to anyone who has an opening in my field in a radius of 20 miles from my place.


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