Working Life: Wash that job out of your hair
Sunday 16 August 1998
One Monday morning I snapped. I got into a grievance procedure and suddenly found myself involved in an uncomfortable and dangerous process. With only 20 months service in the company, my legal rights were nil. For some reason my boss asked me a bizarre question, "Are you 100 per cent loyal to me as head of the department?" I hesitated, sighed, and said no.
The meeting was adjourned, and after lunch I was summoned to a conference room. I was faced with three grave faces and my personnel file laid out on the table. "I've thought about what you said this morning and I have decided that our differences are irreconcilable. So we're terminating your contract." Gulp. I was handed an envelope, containing my P45 and a month's pay. It was all over.
I was allowed to go back to my desk to clear my things. First, there was the euphoria, I roared back into the department and punched the air; shook hands with my few remaining colleagues, and disappeared in the direction of Liverpool Street with two carrier bags. I'd never have to go back to that hell hole again.
Thirty-six hours later I woke up in the middle of the night and came to the painful realisation that I'm 29, I've got no career, and that payslip which I brought home every month was my dinner ticket, rent cheque and pocket money.Friends helped me find some perspective. For all my anxiety, I had dealt with a difficult problem. What do you do if your job becomes a daily misery? You can disappear for long lunchbreaks, and live for Friday afternoon, or you can get fired.
It's amazing how quickly five-thirty rushes round when you're not working, and it's disquieting that no money is on the clock. But Sundays are no longer spent dreading a pile of un-ironed shirts, and my pinstriped urban straitjacket is hanging in the wardrobe. My cousin got made redundant last week, with two kids, a wife and a mortgage. He still went on his holiday to Poole. And at least I don't have any dependents. Perhaps you can put your head above the parapet and not have it knocked off. Instead, you can contemplate life without a boss, and making your own way.
Life & Style blogs
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
- 1 A politically correct lefty goes to see Top Gear live – you'll probably believe what happened next
- 2 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 3 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 4 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 5 David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...