They walked together through the almost empty warehouse.
The boss scrunched his eyes shut as he pushed his right hand back over his forhead and onto the place that had once held a thick head of hair but was now shining like an apple.
‘Times are tough,’ he began.
‘Cut to the chase,’ the other interrupted. ‘Am I gone?’
The boss nodded.
‘I’m afraid so, yes.’
Nine days earlier, two staff had been made redundant and “the others” wages had been slashed by twenty-five percent. That was hard enough. In an ironic gesture, the Boss brought all of the staff out to lunch as a way of saying “thanks” to the staff who were leaving. He made a big deal of the generosity of the owner that permitted him to bring everyone to lunch. But the other knew who was really paying for it. That’s where his hard-earned twenty-five percent was now being wasted. So much for saving the business. And now, thinking that he had escaped the worst, he too was being made redundant. Yet the future viability of the company rested on him. So the baby was actually being thrown out with the bathwater. Was it any wonder they were in such a state, he thought.
The next day was Saturday. Fridays were more often than not the day used to break bad news. And of course he was not the only one to be made redundant on that Friday. Another three people also got the speech, although they probably listened to more of it, he reckoned and smiled to himself.
His phone rang while he was out, cutting grass and contemplating. Grass cutting was always a good time for him to think. In between emptying the bag of green. Up, across,down. Nothing too taxing about that. He stopped the mower.
‘How are you feeling today?’ the finance guy asked.
‘It’s funny you should ask,’ the other said. ‘Not good. To be honest, I think that it is stupid that no option other than making some people redundant seems to have been considered.’
‘How do you mean?’
‘Why is it that no one was offered the opportunity to work part-time instead? I mean it doesn’t make any sense to me that half the workforce were let go and now the rest are fearful of the future. If everyone had been asked to go on part-time, they would all hold onto a job and get some assistance from the state as well. Then who knows? If business picks up, the knowledge and skills are still in the company and can be scaled back up. I’m just saying.’
But he appreciated the call.
On Monday, the other went in to work as normal. He had a month’s notice to work apparantly. Should this have applied to a redundancy? Whatever. It gave him time to think, time to look for another job. Time to make plans and arrangements. Breathing space.
The last thing he expected was to be offered a new contract with the same company. Albeit a three-day week one.
Yet, that’s what happened.
So now, there could be plenty of time to write.
If only the company can stay afloat.