Eight years ago the company I worked for went through a restructuring process. My position and I were made redundant. I was bitter about it for a very long time. Despite it being a left-brain job, which required me to work shifts (subsequently affecting my weight and health), the benefits were good, the salary was great, and I picked up what was required of me quickly and with enthusiasm. I even attempted studying towards a B.Com degree. When I heard the news, part of me thought “It’s okay. This job wasn’t supposed to be a long-term gig. You were meant to do something creative”. Mostly I just couldn’t believe that I’d been sacked. Oh, I got a month’s pay for severance, and the company graciously paid for us to attend courses of our choice to gain additional skills. But being told you’re unwanted, regardless of the situation, always stings a bit.
Five years ago, as I opened the door to leave for work after a long weekend, my boss called to say “Go back to bed, the company is closed”. Because he was German (and although I already had information from the Sales Director, shared in a panicky conversation before the long weekend) I needed to make sure I understood him correctly. The company, it turned out, was being liquidated. “What about my salary?” I asked. He assured me that it would be paid. It never was. I went through the entire process, but it turned out that the assets didn’t sell as well as anticipated, and there was no money to pay anyone. Although I’d started to get bored in the position, and the drive from Pretoria to Midrand was not exactly what I’d call fun, it was a writing job and I was getting to meet loads of people. Overnight I found myself doing HR and finance for a friend’s company out of desperation. I’m very lucky to have fantastic friends.
A little over 24 hours ago we got news that our division within the company is being restructured. Since everything is still in a proposal phase I won’t go into too much detail, but the one point in their proposal that has everybody up in arms, is that they plan to cut our salaries. That means that if I’m fortunate enough to receive the amount they’ve set as the upper limit for my position, I’d have taken a salary cut of about 23%. Oh, and we’re supposed to receive our annual salary increases in July. Nice.
I still experience times of bitter resentment towards the old German, particularly when I find myself in Midrand, but my discontent now has a new focus.
I am a writer – a skill the market is oversaturated with. I have a keen interest and passion for social media, but no experience. I feel a little all at sea. My CV has been doing the rounds for a while already, and I’ve been to several interviews, unsuccessfully. I’m not entirely sure what to do more than I already have, and so I wrote this in an attempt to set my mind at ease*. I’ve made it through similar situations twice already. I may have been younger and less sceptic, and my personal situation was very different to where I find myself. But surely I’ll be okay this time too. Right?
*Clearly this hasn’t worked.