When the spectre of redundancy comes calling – have you got enough money to survive?
A close work friend of mine revealed he was “offered” redundancy today 1. It was a shock to both him and I, but deep down we (should) know this could happen to any of us at any time.
Anyway we went for a few beers after work so I could be his sounding board and apart from the usual you’d expect in this situation, I was really quite surprised at how bewildered he seemed. This was a guy who I would say is pretty frugal. Without revealing too much, he had managed to set up a pretty cushy living situation for himself whereby he could work from home in a mortgage free house with his family. He could well have passed for a closet FI’er if I didn’t know any better. So I would have thought he would have some cashola saved up for a rainy day. He may well have for all I know, but I got the feeling from our conversation that it didn’t amount to anything that substantial if he had. Alternatively I could be way of the mark or he was being cagey, and the bewilderment was simply down to being told he wasn’t wanted anymore? Who knows! It’s a brave man to ask for another’s balance sheet details and I am not that brave (or rude).
I also thought that I would be ecstatic if they’d offered me the same deal (he has been there 10+ years so similar time to myself, i.e. big time redundancy money). But again, I guess I will never know until it happens. Even if I really wanted to leave somewhere, it cannot be nice knowing that you are surplus to requirements.
The bottom line of all this though is clear:
No One Is Safe
This was a solid and reliable employee for 10+ years and he has been shelled like a pea from the safety of the corporate pod with barely a second thought.
Live Within Your Means
Regardless of whether you want to leave work ASAP or not, you owe it to yourself and family to at least have some back up savings to cover your arse if the worst was to happen! I can’t believe I lived for many years without any significant savings, even though I could have amassed them with relatively little pain or change in lifestyle. Fair enough, I didn’t/don’t have any dependants but I would have been up sh*t creek for at least 8 full years of the 11 I have been working for if I’d have lost my job. A sobering thought indeed.
Again, I don’t know the exact details but I can’t help thinking that if my friend had a bigger safety net to fall back on, he wouldn’t have felt so bad about the whole situation.
Have you or anyone close you ever been made redundant? Was it a cause for celebration and a well deserved break from the rat race, or was it a wake for you/them to get your financial house in order?
- The ironic fact that I wish it had happened to me instead of him was not lost on both of us, him having listened to many of my (mainly drunken) ramblings on how I am going to quit “at some point soon”! ↩