Friday, July 24, 2009

Question Time...

A regular visitor here since the early days, Jeremy from Montreal, left me a few questions to consider and rather than leave my answers tucked away in the comments pages, I thought I would share them here. All of course based on my current knowledge and state of mind.

1. If not working here, where would you prefer to work?
I suspect I have spent too long worrying about where I work. Right now it is important to me to be able to remain living where I do and am really happy, so I would consider working anywhere that will facilitate that

2. What is your passion?
Tricky one. My greatest passion would have to be music (listening and playing) but it's going to be difficult to carve out a lucrative career with my limited talent! A more professional passion has always been around problem solving and customer service, served up with something a bit techy on the side. Perhaps the Geek Squad beckons?!

3. What contingency plan have you put together in case you lose your job?
There is no "in case" here I am afraid. Despite the political noises the company are legally obliged to make, the site will close, it is just a question of when (currently not known). The trick here is mainly around timing - trying to ensure I can find alternative employment without jeopardising the significant proposed redundancy package by leaving too early.

4. If not this job, where would you NOT prefer to work?
My only negative criteria right now is that I can't foresee any way from here that I would consider permanent employment with this company again. Beyond that, I expect that I will become significantly less choosy as the big day gets closer

5. Have you sought information from those people you visited on your job? (clients/suppliers/other locations)?
Not yet although I have been networking with colleagues past and present. Most of our clients and suppliers are either outside of the UK or much too far away for my considerations in point 1

6. Do you have a goal date in mind to put into action your contingency plans?
Well I can't make any firm plans until I know when they no longer need me. As I am on three months notice, I currently plan to take a more active approach to job hunting as soon as my notice is served.

7. It is always good to have a plan even if it is remote, so that you are not caught unawares.
My current general plan is to stay there as long as they need me. Despite whatever I may be feeling emotionally, the option of walking away from my current salary (which is proving difficult to match locally) to potentially nothing has to be delayed until absolutely necessary.

Apologies if this post comes across as a bit self indulgent, but I thought it may answer some questions that may have occurred to some of the rest of you...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ever changing moods...

Its safe to say that the mood at work has certainly been a strangely unsettled one since they announced our potential closure later on this year.

Even though I am in the thick of it all with 150 or so of my colleagues, I still find it interesting to see how people are coping with the situation and the difficult challenges that lay ahead for us all. For some reason, I keep relating it back to the seven stages of grief that people apparently go through.

Shock/Disbelief. Although we all figured it would happen sooner or later, very few of us had anticipated that it would be quite this soon,

Denial. I've had or heard the conversation so many times, the longer term implications don't seem to have been thought through very well and they can't possibly close the plant at such short notice.

Bargaining. Some may have hoped that there would be some sort of rescue plan for the site, although given that the parent group are not in financial difficulties, this was never really likely.

Guilt. Strange, but only natural I suppose. Could we have worked that little bit harder or smarter? Is there anything we could have done to avoid or at least delay this action?

Anger. Oddly enough (or maybe not), I jumped straight in at this one. I've worked damned hard and sacrificed a lot of personal time over the last 14 years, but now it makes no difference, we are all down the road together, exceptional efforts and achievements or otherwise.

Depression. The job market is not a healthy one at the moment. How are we all going to find jobs? What are we going to do next? How am I expected to pay mortgage/feed family? Little wonder people are worried

Acceptance. Well there is nothing we can actually do about it. Although officially it's still only a proposal, we know damned well that the place is going to close, so lets just try and leave with the best package and prospects possible. Better still, use this as an opportunity to pursue something you always wanted to do with your life.

I know I have been through all of these in varying degrees and even been back to revisit a couple of them before arriving at what I now believe to be some level of acceptance. When I look at some of my colleagues though I am not quite so sure.

Some are still hopeful that a plan will emerge to get things back as they were, some are still as infuriated as they were the day they found out, while some still seem quite numbed by the whole experience and still find it hard to believe what's happening. But, for the best part, most are still flitting in and out of each of these stages rather than following them in any particular sequence.

I guess we have as much a responsibility right now to try and support each other over the coming months and try to look out for those at the more vulnerable stages than others...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

As years go by...

Just another one of my random musings.

As someone born halfway through the sixties, I also witnessed the seventies, eighties and nineties along with many of the rest of you.

At the turn of the last century, or milennium for that matter (and what a huge anticlimax that turned out to be) we welcomed in the "noughties". Oh how amusing the media are when they set their mind to it.

But what happens at the end of this year? The teenies? Seeing as many of us are going to be unable to afford any extravagant holidays, I thought perhaps we should enter the new age of camping with the tenties...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Can We Have Your Glasses Please...

On the continuing subject of people on YouTube who are far too talented for their own good, I stumbled upon this unbelievable talent on there.

Now I like to think I'm quite musical but I don't recall ever managing to do this with even a single glass...

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Little More Harmony...

The car sailed through its MOT this morning needing only a new tyre and that, coupled with the half price test fee, would seem to be a lucky escape so I think it's time for a cheery post.

Last October I posted a couple of YouTube clips on here to demonstrate some excellent examples of acapella singing and to be fair, I thought they would take some beating.

Well take a little listen to this. Sure the song itself (Africa, originally by Toto) is impressive enough, but get a load of the way they introduce it...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Death by tray...

No news on the job front and none really expected this early in the proceedings. Lots of uncomfortable shuffling in-house and no shortage of inaccurate reporting via the press, but no, nothing to report yet.

Oh, except my CV. That was my quest for this weekend, I've updated the CV to bring it up to date and to try and make it a tad more appealing than the other 2 million or so I'm going to be in competition with in a few months time.

Anyway on to far less serious matters. Take a look at this video I found tucked amongst my YouTube recommendations - I think it's hilarious . Perhaps its just that I find most material by Eddie Izzard hilarious. Perhaps its because I've decided to pour copious quantities of Jack Daniels down my neck this evening. I guess I will know for sure when I look at this again tomorrow. Of course if I then decide it isn't funny and I delete it before you have seen it, then you may never be any the wiser. Anyway, take a look...

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

What you talkin' about...

I was in a bit of an odd mood yesterday evening and looking back now, I can see that my previous post was maybe a bit cryptic! So what is actually going on?

UK employment law states that you cannot make more than 100 people redundant without entering a consultation period of 90 days, essentially to ensure that the best options for all parties have been considered.

Technically it is only a "proposal" from those on high that we cease production in the UK and transfer the work to our other plants but realistically, I can't see why it won't be followed through.

Being pragmatic about it, I'm trying to see this as a fantastic personal opportunity as they have now forced me into doing something I should have pursued further a long time ago. For too long now I have really enjoyed my job and working with many of my colleagues there, but found it challenging to respect the organisation I've been doing it for.

As it turned out, my instinct wasn't far wrong but there is no place for self pity when you are one of around 200 people in the same position, many of whom are probably wondering how they are going to support their families and keep a roof over their heads.

Sure, its going to be tough looking for new employment in the current climate and especially coming from an industry which is quite unique in its nature. Personally, I have been fortunate to have gained a variety of experience during my time there and will be trying to pitch the various aspects of that to anyone locally who is remotely interested.

I can't go into too much detail as while I retain some level of anonymity on here, I can speak freely about how I'm really feeling about things and added to which, my current contract specifically restricts discussions on personal blogs about company matters.

So I'll keep the blog updated as this forthcoming adventure unfolds, but maybe not always at such a ridiculous hour of the morning...