You see, I was challenged (see footnote) to write about Leaving or seeing a colleague leave public service due to the cuts.
I don’t want to get too personal about this. This is not about Fred or Sue or even me. It’s about all the reluctant goodbyes I’ve seen over the years – remember, there’s the cuts today but there’ve been cuts on other occasions as older readers who lived through the Thatcher years will remember.
There’s a way to go and a way to let them go.
So here are some of the lessons I’ve learned. All are based on what I’ve have seen or experienced.
Employers and managers
Have the guts to speak to them personally. Don’t let them know by letter or even worse e-mail.
Don’t call them in and start your We’ve got to let you go speech with “This is going to be a difficult meeting for me.”
Don’t say “They’ve screwed enough out of this organisation. There’ll be no farewell gifts.”
Once you’ve been persuaded that it’s appropriate to mark their departure with a modest presentation don’t give them all the same inappropriate farewell gift of an alarm clock. (Both this and the previous point happened to colleagues of mine in a London Borough)
Do something – whatever it is – to make your reluctant leavers at least feel you’ve done what you had to as decently and ethically as possible.
Don’t ask them back to do voluntary work (as an English police force just has by asking redundant officers to sign up as special constables).
It’s not you. It’s the system. And even if you feel you’ve been picked on who’s the better person for it – you or them?
Don’t lose your dignity and self-respect. You will get through it.
If you’re given more than one option think the pros and cons of each through carefully. The first you think of taking may not be the best.
If there’s any support going from your employer take it, whether it’s a brought-forward pre-retirement course, outplacement support or anything else.
Maybe most difficult of all, but get over it. After you’ve ranted and raved (in private) lock any remaining bile in a small box in your brain and bring it out sparingly until it disappears for ever.