The company where I have been a manager for eight years has hit hard times, wages are frozen and heavy job cuts are on the way. A generous voluntary redundancy scheme has been announced and even though I don’t want to leave, and have a wife and children to support, it seems stupid not to apply.
If I am turned down, it will mean my job has been marked essential and I’ll be safe from future mandatory redundancy. If I am accepted, it is surely best to be one of the first out, before the market is flooded by all the other people who have been kicked out compulsorily.
Or am I missing something?
Manager, male, 42
Yes, you are missing something. You are assuming that companies are consistent in deciding who to keep and who to chuck. Just because you get turned down for voluntary redundancy this time does not mean that you will be safe next time. It is perfectly possible to be deemed essential one minute and cast on to the scrap heap the next.
To offer yourself for voluntary redundancy as a tactical move would be madness. You say you don’t want to leave your job, and that you need the money. In that case, the only reason to put yourself forward would be if the pay-off were so large that it would more than cover you while you found another job.
But I can’t see how this could be. If you have been in the job for eight years you will probably get about a year’s money.
It could easily take you that long to find something else good. Most companies are barely hiring at all, so unless you want to work in the public sector you may have a long wait ahead of you.
I know two people of roughly your age who took voluntary redundancy a little over a year ago. Neither has found a full-time job and both are trying to keep busy with a bit of consulting here and there.
I also think it is a mistake to assume that you are bound to lose your job at some point. Unless the company is going to go bankrupt, some people will survive; I’d concentrate on making sure that I was one of them. That means keeping your head down and trying to look essential. This is quite tedious, as it not only involves working hard but being seen to work hard.
It may be grim busting a gut to look so keen but it is not as grim as touting your CV around companies that don’t want to know.