I was on the train from Norwich to London yesterday and was privileged to listen to a man’s conversation about being made redundant.
I didn’t want to listen to it but I really didn’t have much choice and neither did anyone else in the carriage. But this conversation was slightly different to the run of the mill conversations about redundancy that you would expect to hear.
The guy’s mobile went off and the first conversation was about everyone from the company being summoned to London to hear whether they were going to be made redundant.
Okay… not very nice for the people in question but it happens.
The mobile went off again, as soon as he’d hung up from the first call. This time he was talking to someone who had already been for an interview with another employer and this interlocutor was wished the very best of luck… again, fair enough.
The third call was outbound and this time the tone of the conversation was different. The essence was that the guy I was listening to would be very unhappy if he received good news. In other words, he wanted to be made redundant and, apparently, he’d told the powers that be in no uncertain terms that this was the case.
Next call – outbound again – and the guy got some bad news. Someone had heard on the grapevine that he was one of the lucky ones… or was that unlucky? Anyway, he was going to keep his job.
And this is where it got interesting. The guy was clearly happy to get that piece of news… the look of relief on his face was palpable. What he actually said over the ‘phone was: ‘Oh no, that’s terrible. I want to go, I’ve told everyone.’
What was going on here?
It was a simple case of the guy weaving a protective shell about himself to insulate himself just in case he was made redundant. A natural enough reaction and I wonder how many times what seem like defensive reactions are actually protection mechanisms.
What happened next made me raise my eyebrows, though. He spent the next 20 minutes ringing just about everyone in his contacts list to stir things up… it’s disgusting what ‘management’ is doing, we should revolt, let’s give them a really hard time, why don’t we meet up in the pub first so we can plan how we’re going to make things difficult?
I was quite shocked. Clearly business’s don’t like making people redundant, they have to do it to survive and now this guy felt he was safe he decided that a little rabble rousing was clearly in order.
Just goes to show what a little uncertainty and then confidence can do to someone’s character.