When the Commonwealth Public Service job cuts started in late 2013, I used to laugh when people would ask me if I was worried about redundancy. “of course not,” I would say, “the government will always need legislative drafters. And besides, I’m blind, a woman., and a union delegate. They wouldn’t dare!” I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so shocked as I was on the day when we were all called into a meeting about restructure, and were told that our agency was going to cut the number of legislative drafters by half. We would all be interviewed for our current jobs, and those were ranked in the top 50 % would keep their employment. The rest would be offered voluntary redundancies.
Some people cried, and some talked quietly in the corridors. I shut myself in my office and just sat there for half an hour, sipping water. I couldn’t think, and all my bravado had disappeared.
Then the questions flooded in – why should I have to apply for a job that I already applied for and won? What happens if I’m not in the top 50 %? Should I take a package, or take my chances trying to find a job during the redeployment period? What happens if I can’t find a job? How will I pay the mortgage?
I honestly thought that, when I joined the Public Service, I would have a safe and secure job for the rest of my life. This is what my parents, and everyone else had told me when I was young. They even said that if my job disappeared for some reason, I’d be put on something called the “unattached list” and would stay there until I was found another job. Not so, in these current times, anyway.
Over the next few posts, I will write more about what happened to me, the decisions I made, and why, and will be offering my recommendations for dealing with redundancy and job loss.
My first recommendation: If you have just found out that you may be made redundant, or may lose your job, just know that you will get through it. It may feel like the roof is falling in, but it’s not. It’s just creaking ominously overhead, but you’ll be OK.
If I can help in any way, please let me know in the comments section or, if you prefer, contact me directly.