Paul is a man in his early 50’s married with 3 children ages 19,17,14.Two of his children are attending private school and his eldest child has just started college. Paul joined a financial company 23 years ago having completed a diploma course in business. He worked extremely hard, was honest, trustworthy and loyal to the company. He progressed through the company and was promoted on several occasions and held a senior position in the company. During his working life he made a lot of sacrifices in his personal life in order that he could afford to send his children to private school and college. This involved working long hours and on lots of occasions putting the company first. He did not complain about this as he was on a good salary, pension benefits, health cover and he also received a good annual bonus and periodically was given shares in the company. Overall he was very content with his financial situation and his family’s lifestyle.
Six months ago on a Friday morning he was called into the Director's office to be told that due to the downturn in the economy, they had reviewed costs throughout the company and, his department was being restructured and the services that he was providing were going to be outsourced. Therefore, his role was being made redundant. Due to his long service, the Company said they were happy to pay him an enhanced redundancy package and give him 3 months notice. The enhanced redundancy still only amounted to 6 months salary. The shares which he had accumulated over the years were worth very little due to the market crash. Needless to say he was devastated, shocked, angry, frightened and deeply concerned about his future.
That Friday lunchtime he rang me to tell me the news. He sounded very upset and asked would I meet him. I met him that afternoon and we discussed his situation. His main concerns were the family, how would he tell his wife, what about the children’s schooling how could he pay the mortgage and the other ongoing bills. Why was this happening to him, he had done nothing wrong. Why did they not prepare him for this devastating news? He was angry, everything was negative and dark. Yes it was a black Friday! What was he going to do? After several hours and numerous cups of coffee we decided to write down a plan of action. We listed all the positives. He had 3 months to look for a new position because of the notice period. He was going to get 6 months pay and because of his service he would probably get most, if not all of this payment tax free. He had 23 years experience and he had a skill set that was marketable. We agreed that he should tell his wife immediately but not tell the children until we had agreed a plan of action. We agreed to meet the following day to discuss the next steps.
The next morning I met him and he looked terrible as he had not slept at all but he also felt relieved as he had discussed the situation with his wife and, while she too was very upset, she was also very supportive. We began by reviewing his cv and highlighting his achievements and progression within the company. We also agreed that his main objective was to find a new role that maximised his strengths and not his weaknesses, as this situation should be looked on as an opportunity. While I did not believe that there were a lot of permanent positions in the market requiring his skill set, there were a number of projects and 1 to 2 year contracts that would be suitable. The next step was to find recruitment companies that had the contracts for these positions. As my background is in HR I was able to arrange a number of meetings with these recruiters.
After 6 weeks and several interviews Paul was offered a 2 year contract with a similar Company where the salary was a little less and the benefits were not as good as he had previously. However he felt happy and relieved that he could now get on with the rest of his life. When he signed his contract with his new employer he announced at a family dinner that he was leaving his present position to take up a new position with another company.
This is a typical situation that is happening on a daily basis. luckily Paul’s story had a happy ending. Not all situations are as straightforward as Paul’s however, we must remember there is always a solution and a light at the end of the tunnel.