Redundancy: A War of Worlds

For those who have been through this, look away now…

Last Friday I, and my colleagues in the warehouse, received the glorious news that an number of us had to go. The cold atmosphere of that vaulted place froze dramatically and perceptibly.

For me, a second redundancy in less than two and a half years would have meant the end. So it seemed as my alarm clock clawed me from sleep and harmless dreams. There was no reason to suspect I would have been among those ‘released’, but one’s mind runs in all kinds of directions at moments like this. Mine did. Mostly, we make Hell from a pasture and the problems we face are less, in actual living reality, than the ones our imagination shapes and moulds. However, job loss this month would indeed have sent me spiralling down, and I feared, on Monday morning, to the very end. I believed, honestly believed, it would be all over; that the only way out would be suicide or ‘a grin and bare it’ existence on the streets at the very best. I got to the point during Monday of composing my final message, to explain my actions, to my five-year-old son. The darkness of my ever dark winter had never been so bleak as it was that day.

On the Friday, and indeed subsequently, I felt the Company’s decision short sighted, a lack vision. I said so, to anyone at the Company who would listen. But the decision makers were elsewhere. And they, of course, would argue differently. Indeed they possess a strategic eye view of what I see lingering in the racking, or pouring from the printer. I feel the business through one set of doors, and they weigh it across the nation, in contrast with other elements of the Greater Company. I witness the fall of morale and hope, and confidence. They read the fall of profit and loss accounts. To the Higher Echelon, of any Corporation, people like me are numbers, figures, an annual salary set against goods sold, unsold stock collecting dust, and contracts fulfilled or otherwise. The Higher Echelon would argue the business was not performing… I am forced to agree. But what will happen if fortunes change and business picks up? The cost of a year’s salary will see a colleague depart. If the business needs more hands, they will have to advertise, interview and train a new ‘colleague’. All that takes time, and patience.

Come the middle of the week we were informed certain colleagues had opted for the Voluntary package offered by The Company. I only hope they knew what they are letting themselves in for. Their decision, whatever the motivation, lifted a burden from the rest of us. With that weight lifted, and the horror show in my imagination forestalled, relief, like the anguish before it, was palpable. We could breath again, plan again, look to the future with a little more optimism… We could consider the future once more as a fertile pasture, not a barren waste.

Apart from my name attached to an employee number, I don’t exist. I am less than human, and that’s the way you feel; are left to feel. Someone has gone. And I hope for their sake they have made the right decision. For the rest of us work goes on… And in the blissful sunshine of relief, I see a different outcome to my calamitous second sacking: one where I choose a path towards survival.

Whether any of my ‘fantasies’ about how redundancy would have affected me had any foundation in reality, only Fate knows. There weren’t all bad. Indeed, some seemed pretty positive in their revolutionary, off-the-wall way. Perhaps I should take note of the more positive outcomes of those ‘horror shows’? Whatever that may do, I do know one thing: I have received a serious shot across my bow. So close was this it nearly halted my progress. Maybe the future doesn’t belong to me, and my colleagues, but to that numerical world, to that barren waste, to the ‘horror shows’. Maybe this time next year I may have to face this again…

But then I may have a year to prepare…


About malekmontag

I am a writer and a wage-slave, and proud father of George Giraffe. I live in the UK, but I exist everywhere. My first stories were published this year (2016) in Short Stories and Tall Tales (Atla Publishing). Follow me on Twitter @Malek_Montag15. My Work is also available on
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