Redundancy is no joke

Redundancy is no joke

Being an employment lawyer, one realizes that occasionally we are in a privileged position, sharing in times of crisis, as well as times of great stress for business owners and employees alike.

To this end we experience the best and worst of human behaviour. Downright low-down cruelty, and sometimes the very best sense of perspective, exemplary conduct. In this light, I want to share a story that I recently saw, about what I consider to be someone with a very healthy sense of perspective, at a time when many could do with an approach to look up to, and even admire. My sincere thanks to Lucy Taylor of Albion Chambers for drawing this to my attention, and making my entire office laugh.

Josh was (and remains) a bright young man working as a copywriter. At work one day, when everyone knew that times were tough, he received an invite to a meeting. Not a welcome invite with the prospect of canapes, or promotion, but the type you get when bad news is contemplated. The type of meeting you get told that you can bring a friend to, the type of meeting that leads to redundancy.

Josh could have taken a trade union representative, or a work colleague, but being bright, and probably because he didn’t have a mortgage, Josh decided to hire a professional clown to go with him to the meeting. This was not a clever suited comedian, but a full blown, white face painted, green haired, red nosed clown with outsized shoes and spotted trousers. One can only guess at the expressions on the faces of those conducting the meeting as Josh and his friend entered the room, but I bet it was worth every penny.

The clown, it is reported, proceeded to noisily make balloon animals during the carefully prepared speech given at these somber moments, nodding at the appropriate points, and even miming crying when the final papers were served on Josh.

There is of course a legal point to all this, but for the life of me I can’t think what it would be.

For many of us our jobs are our life, our ability to support our children, and even the very definition of ourself. But this story reminds me, that our job is in some respects just a job. For all those out there facing uncertainty in this regard, I have lost count of the number of people I have seen at the end of employment, and in a certain amount of despair. I can honestly say that without exception, every one of them says later that it was the best thing that happened to them, and they started anew.

Just a thought.

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