Bad news – how do you like yours delivered?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 Permalink

I committed to post daily in this blog and – for some reason – decided to tie it in with my photo-a-day July challenge…. But I’m struggling because today I want to write about something completely unrelated to the ‘Best part of my day’ which is today’s theme.

And… scarier still I’m writing about my work. About real stuff… not glib crap about falling over drunk, TV shows and the like. I never write about my workplace or working life to any extent because I like the boundary I’ve drawn; and because when I talk to work people about my blogging I tell them I don’t write about work. And this post isn’t, but it is. About work, I mean.

Bad news. How do you prefer to hear it? Like the proverbial bandaid being ripped off, or do you prefer to stick your fingers in your ears and hope it will go away.

I’m a control freak and worrier. So I’m at a point when I’m trying to decide how I like my bad news delivered.

We’ve recently had a new government elected in my State. This post isn’t going to be about politics or even the decisions the government is making – I’m not crossing THAT particular boundary. However, the new government is introducing a range of cost-cutting measures, including the retrenchment of (what is rumoured to be) 20,000 public servants. And I may well be one of them.

I own a position in Agency X, but have been in a temporary position elsewhere for almost 18 months and am not due to return to X until February 2013. But… since I’ve left there have been significant changes and many of the people I once worked with have gone anyway. The most recent change is in line with the cost-cutting and I’ve just received advice that my old work area is no longer a priority for the government. Reportedly some senior staff left at very short notice last week, including the person heading up my section. Which no longer exists. The job I own is (was) with this particular person, so I’m unsure of what it means for me.

Apparently there will be some offers made: voluntary redundancy, opportunities to transfer (though jobs are being culled, so these are minimal), jobs at lower levels…  however, if you can’t find/don’t accept something, you will be retrenched. There are apparently also incentives to help you make a quick decision, the incentives themselves reducing as days pass up to a period of a fortnight.

So, here’s my dilemma. I’m not sure anyone in my old work area even remembers that I’m here. No, that’s not true. I’m sure they do, but I’m unsure I want to remind them. At the moment I’m only hearing things informally through former staff and I’m pondering on my options and the pros and cons of each. Sure my position no longer exists but will they expect me to move elsewhere and will I get a say in that? It’s already happened once in that particular agency, which is one of the reasons I applied for this temporary opportunity.

It’s somewhat distracting I have to say. I enjoy the agency I’m temporarily with, but frankly if I was offered a package from my permanent employer I’d have to take it or I’d be left with nothing when my contract here finishes.

It’s scary and it isn’t. In fact, though it’s playing on my mind, I must confess the notion of such a life-changing moment is incredibly freeing. Of course I may not say that months down the track when I have no job and cannot pay my mortgage! But, at the moment, I’m not overly angsty about what may be before me. I might worry because I’m single and have no one to help with my mortgage, but I also don’t have kids and have a bit of equity in my apartment if I had to sell it.

So, there you have it. It seemed wrong to write about how much I love lying in bed in the cold wintery mornings (ie. my fave moment of the day) when there’s other stuff happening in my life.

Like I said, I’m reticent to reach out and ask the big questions… so wonder if I am just delaying the inevitable bad news? Or perhaps I’m hoping to fly under the radar? Or maybe I’m scared about what comes next? Or possibly I’m worried the whole thing will be a big anticlimax and I won’t be forced into life-changing decisions. I’m just not sure.

How are you with bad news? Do you rip that bloody bandaid off, or edge it off slowly?

  • Jo Tracey
    July 3, 2012

    I spent last year in that quandry, but requested to run the project that was closing us down simply so that I could control what I knew. I’ve been in that position many times & always prefer the bad news just to be given- only then can you deal with it from an position of confidence. I opted out to grab the once in a lifetime opportunity to follow my writing dream- but I am lucky- my hubby is in a secure role & my redundancy (after 12 years) bought some breathing room. Whichever way you go opportunities will open up.

    • Debbish
      July 3, 2012

      I think that’s possibly why I’m so zen about it… I can’t control it at all and is not my fault in any way, so I’m ‘going with the flow’. But… I probably need to find out either way, rather than remain uncertain about what will come next!

      I’m happy you got your writing opportunities Jo! I’d love something similar, but…. (eek!).

  • Steve Turner
    July 3, 2012

    Rip it off Deb, then you’re back in control. You are then the Master of your own destiny again and can plan your future.

  • Mel @ The cook's notebook
    July 3, 2012

    I’m a rip-it-off girl. If I know what the options are then I can plan accordingly. If I don’t, I can’t. And THAT drives me demented! Good luck! As the others have said, opportunities present themselves. Often when you least expect it 🙂

    • Debbish
      July 4, 2012

      Hi Mel…. and I certainly hope so. (Re the opportunities I mean!)


  • loulou
    July 3, 2012

    your quotes:
    “the notion of such a life-changing moment is incredibly freeing”
    “I am just delaying the inevitable”

    Go for it Deb – YOU know the answer to EVERY question you ever ask – In life, the brave stop asking others for their opinions.
    Always after your evaluation go with YOUR gut and YOUR wherewithal – then the pain is over and a pleasure can be found.

    best wishes deb

    x Loulou

    (PS not shouting at you using capitals – I just know how intelligent you are and you are unique in your thinking to others 🙂

    • Debbish
      July 4, 2012

      No worries re the capitals (am a big user of them myself!) and thanks.


  • KCLAnderson (Karen)
    July 3, 2012

    I am definitely a rip-it-off type. And I agree with loulou…what she says is something that I have to constantly remind myself of. I am sending positive vibes your way and thoughts that everything works out in such a way that benefits you!

    Does “retrenched” mean “lose your job”?

    • Debbish
      July 4, 2012

      Thanks Karen. I ‘think’t that if my position is declared redundant I get offered a package or another position, but if I don’t take it and one is found then retrenched means I just have to leave (so yes….)


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