These have been interesting times in the public sector. Money has been very tight. They have called it austerity, a period of eight years of cuts, perhaps longer. My budget is over forty per cent smaller than five years ago. I’ve lost nearly half the people who worked for me and still we have some way to get to the end, if it ever really comes. Our boom has definitely bust.
But I’m not too down about it. We’ve managed to do some difficult things that would never have happened in the good old days. And we are still surviving and looking forward.
One of the ways that costs have been reduced has been by letting people go. We’ve tried to keep compulsory redundancies to a minimum and used volunteers or early retirement as our first call. We’ve let people go who were happy to and where it has been possible.
Kim is the latest. We said goodbye to her today. She put on a small buffet for her closest colleagues as she didn’t want a grand fuss. She wore a flowery dress with eggplant as the main colour. We would know it as aubergine but I’ve already done A. It looked like a Celia Birtwell to me. It wasn’t yet she was clearly impressed that anyone in ICT would know about such a thing.
Her leaving has got me thinking about my own career. I am in the zone where I could leave if I wanted to but I feel it would be too early. I think I still have a lot to offer and this is my quandary. I understand that cuts need to be made and that people make up most of our revenue budgets. I also understand that letting people go who are approaching the end of their time is preferential to having to make people redundant who have young families and big mortgages around their necks.
On the other hand though, the experience that many of the people who are leaving have is priceless. We are running the risk of not having the skills necessary to run the complex business that we work in. We need to be careful that we don’t end up doing the wrong things for the right (and noble) reasons.
Anyone can save money. The trick is to be able to keep the business going after the cuts have been made.
I will miss Kim.