It’s ten years to the day since the Evil Marketing Droids struck at the heart of the Great Big Network that employed me. For a long time I couldn’t drive past the Harwell campus without a feeling of having been expelled, but I’m just about over it.
It was not entirely out of the blue – the newly appointed
Redundarator-in-Chief Head, Strategic Business had made it clear his visions and dreams did not include the marketing department as it was then constituted. A consultant had been hired to evaluate us, which is always the beginning of the end. She had once worked for News International, and never missed an opportunity to drop them into conversation as an exemplar of best business practice. Not a great sign.
But when it came, it was sudden. The Redundarator finally got permission to play with his shiny new toys. The head of HR was away that week, but that was not the kind of detail that interested him. At 10pm, two days before, he sent a general email around to all members of the marketing department, enclosing the consultant’s report, and saying we would all be interviewed separately in two days time (he was away the next day).
I was due to take a day off that day, but that too was not the kind of detail that would have interested him.
The report included the categorical statement that R, the head of marketing, was not suited for his post and should play no further role in the company from that day on. By sheer chance and the grace of God, for some reason I checked my staffmail from home last thing at night – otherwise the first any of us would have known of this was when we turned on our computers at work the next morning. I called R at home to ask if he knew anything about this. No? Better check your staffmail, then … Which he did. “Well,” he said cheerfully as he read the fateful line about his future, “that’s certainly more fun than sitting down and talking about it like grown-ups, isn’t it?”
As it was, we all did okay out of the process. There was an opening in the new order that I could have applied for, but it would have meant reporting to the Redundarator directly; I did not want him breathing down my neck, and having witnessed his ability to stab his staff in the back, I had no intention of giving him the opportunity, so I took the money and ran. The payoffs amounted to pretty well a year’s salary – which is how you save money innit – and those of us who were out all went on to better things. I was still able to get away that day to my planned meeting in London where some nice people offered me a ghostwriting gig that did my writing CV no harm, and R got a settlement which carried him comfortably at least until he could start teacher training, 15 months later.
Rather amusingly, the Redundarator’s LinkedIn profile said, “I like to think of myself as a problem solver.” And, apparently, causer. Looking at his profile now, it didn’t seem to do him any harm. He has deleted that line, though. Probably best.