Yesterday was R-day minus one month, the fateful day is approaching with great inevitability. The exact one year anniversary of that very interesting lab meeting, where we went in, to seminar room N9, expecting to get an update from Big Boss about the conference he had just attended. To our great surprise were joined by the Head of HR, the Head of Group (HoG) and some other Human Resources woman (who had just started, we have a huge turnover of HR people, I don’t think they manage to last very long dealing with our obscure scientist problems and our far-on-the-autistic-spectrum personalities).
This all seemed rather strange to our little unsuspecting souls, apparently Big Boss had known for some time that we were going to be culled, but wasn’t allowed to tell us. As far as we knew he had somehow miraculously survived the Review, the previous year. There was some stress around the review time, but then we just forget about it, while at the same time admiring Big Boss’s survival ability. I was always reluctantly impressed that he could keep (just) beating the Reviews, with so little to show for himself, but apparently you can only keep beating the system so long.
The fateful meeting was made even more bizarre because the one missing person was the Trade Union representative. There was a rather awkward period when nobody was saying anything and the Lesser HR Woman was running around trying to locate the one person you would think would make an effort to make this easy for us. Anyway in the end the HoG, a very distinguished scientist, stood up and told us that we might be surprised to hear this (apparently Big Boss had somewhat lost it in front of the director when he was being told) but the lab was going to be closed down.
I must say that if one must be made redundant, our place is probably one of the top ones to have that done to you. One year notice and generous redundancy payment. Still the whole thing was rather unpleasant. I think Big Boss was a little bit worried that I would have a hysterical reaction. But I had been so unhappy in that place for such a long time…..I felt a little bit like a suicidal person being told that they have a terminal disease, it seemed a bit hypocritical to suddenly wail and tear one’s hair out about the injustice of fate.
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