Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Tough day at the office

The names of the people who are "at risk" of redundancy were announced today and I wasn't one of them. "At risk" is basically HR-speak for saying that you will be made redundant in a month.

But that doesn't mean it was a good day. Far from it. I have watched several colleagues receive the dreaded phone call and then have to make the walk out of the office to go down to HR and receive their written notification from our boss. Most of them came back only briefly as they were offered the rest of the day off.

Worse than witnessing all this, one the engineers who has worked for me for the last 4 years rang me while on holiday to find out whether he was safe. I didn't know but promised to call him as soon as I heard anything. An hour or so later he rang back saying there was no need: our boss had just reached him to tell him he is "at risk".

And on top of all that I have one more thing that leaves me feeling rather sick. There has been a carefully executed assessment process that required all staff in areas that were at risk to be assessed against strict criteria. I was selected to act as one of the board of assessors for a number of staff in our department. I have no doubt that I was as fair as I could possibly be in my assessments whilst at the same time trying to bring out every good quality of the staff I assessed. (God knows I was up 'til the small hours perfecting their assessment forms.) And my input was far from the final word. But at the end of the day I can't help feeling bad that regardless of whether I condemned someone or saved someone (meaning someone else would be condemned), I was still part of the machine that wielded the axe.

Under the circumstances I can't feel sorry for myself, but all in all it's been a horrible day. I've already contacted one former colleague to try to get one person a new job. But as silver linings go that's pretty thin.