Monday, 26 January 2009

Motivation and Prevarication

The company I work at has announced another wave of redundancies, it’s been like this on and off for about 6 years now. We are one of those companies that have grown by gobbling up some of our competition. When I joined here in the early 90s that wasn’t the plan, the plan was “organic growth”. We did pretty well on that jumping up in the league tables in our industry through the 90s on the back of a lot of good work. Then consolidation started in our industry with other competitors of ours merging to grow themselves and it was obvious we were never going to be the top dog if we didn’t join in. Also an important product that we had a partnership marketing deal on looked under threat from a merger, so our bosses changed the rules and we went aggressive and bought that company. Over night we were no 1 in the world. We merged with another company and after that the reorganisations and rationalisations started. In 2003 I thought I was out of a job as I was “deselected” but another guy wanted to go and I was kept on. In 2006 I thought I was likely to be shown the door but somehow that didn’t happen.

We started 2009 with another wave of redundancies in the part of the business I support. I know that this is necessary stuff etc. but it is hard to see people you know who’ve worked hard, done all asked of them and then a decision to “consolidate” or “outsource” is taken by people away from them and they are the people counting the cost. I’m a bit fed up of receiving emails from my USA colleagues saying “my last day is x, thanks for everything” and having to type replies of “Sorry you are going, please keep in touch”.

The last few days the papers are rife with rumours of my company buying another company and I think to myself, that’ll mean another whole host of reorgs somewhere along the line and my group being a support function hasn’t yet even had our changes announced – we know in principle how the structure will be but the actual changes and job losses are not yet announced.

Motivation in the midst of all of this is a major issue for me, since Christmas I have singularly failed to “get going”. This isn’t like the depression I felt in the summer last year, this feels like laziness but is largely because 1) my customer base is in turmoil of it’s own. 2) there’s every chance I’ll not be here in a few weeks time. I know the AA thing is “keep it in the day”, “focus on the things you can do not what you can’t control”, etc. but I’m finding it desperately hard at the moment.

Prevarication is the second point – I am now beating myself up over the fact that I seem to hear lots of people here talking about “Well if it is my turn I’ve this plan to move to x and do y” or “Glad I took that course last year, if all else I can look for some work using that as a z until something else comes along”… etc. I have no plan b – I’ve bugger all of a plan a really – keep turning up and hope they pay me. I was listening to Peter Jones (Dragon’s Den) on Radio 1 this morning – he was on about being positive and getting on a doing something in the recession not sitting on your arse. I always feel people saying that are having a direct go at yours truly. I know that isn’t true but the old knot of fear in the stomach hits me and I hate that feeling of being totally without direction.

I must complete my things to be grateful for list today. Get myself a bit more focused at least on the simple good things in my life and not to worry about decisions I can’t realistically influence and stop trying to second guess the world.


  1. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. Never had a plan A myself never mind a plan B...;-)

  2. think you nailed it in the last para...

    The pragmatic aproach is always to worry about the things you CAN change/influence, whilst not worrying a jot about the things you can't. Makes perfect sense when you think about it, but always easier said than done.

    Take it easy fella


  3. Business is a fickle animal right now, isn't it ?

  4. Well the new deal is done - but months away from completion - so we have this round of redundancies to still get through then another lot...

  5. Ugh. It doesn't seem like a week goes by without one friend or other losing their job.

    For the most part in my career I've been pretty lucky but I do remember one time when I was at a company which went through a series of cuts over a number of weeks. Each Friday you didn't know whose head the axe would fall on. No fun at all.

  6. I feel sick to my stomach just about every day right now. You are not alone mate.

  7. Husband had an email 2 weeks ago tomorrow saying, 'You're in the group currently being considered for compulsory redundancy. You'll hear within 2 weeks if this will affect you.' One day to go.

    I think it's worse to get that sort of warning.

    Like your company, Husband's has gone through regular redundancy schemes. He's hanging on in there so far. At 58 not much chance of another job and with younger son in uni we need the money.

    Hey ho. let's stick with the AA thing and take one day at a time.