Retrenchment is a strange devil – it’s something so scathingly passive-aggressive, we don’t know how to respond to it.
In a sense, as the Section 189 documents relevant to the South African retrenchment process will tell you – you have lost your position through “no fault of your own”. But any person who has gone through it will know that “no fault of your own” is as vague an HR term as are innovation, agile and core competency in the pretentious sport of jargon-slinging.
I once worked for a company where, on a night of heavy celebration following some or other departmental feat (yes, it involved free flow of alcoholic beverages), I was offered a more senior position by my manager. I’d told him that I wanted to mull it over but accepted the next day. Returning to work that Monday, I was told by my HR manager that unfortunately we’d not followed the correct route and that the job spec had not even been finalised.
A few days later I received the job spec and was told (rather too smugly) I could apply if I qualified for the position. Of course I didn’t qualify – it was early days in my career, and I was still working towards my degree so it goes without saying that I didn’t apply. Though I was somewhat upset at my manager for the slight, my biggest issue was the way the company, and its HR manager, had (mis)managed the situation.
It was a mortifying experience, but I suppose one needs to go through a few mortifying experiences in your career in order to understand the industry and set down ground rules and non-negotiables for your personal career path. (more…)