There is a field of human endeavour identifiable by the vocabulary of its skeletal airtight constructs and its conceptual legal abstractions.
There are entities, such as the Law, and Organisations, Associations and Companies, which owe the basis of their existence to definitions alone.
Their state of being rests on highly polished words with small areas of meaning embedded in permissive agreements, which themselves hang uninfluenced by Newton’s law of universal gravitation in the air of abstraction.
Read rejection into redundancy? Read earthquake into termination? I say it can be most illuminating to read post-holder into employee!
During the 80’s and 90’s, I was the subject of five redundancies.
My first was a revelation. It was a blue-sky day in May. I returned from Iunch hour to my desk punctually at 2pm. I had had many praises for my work in sales, which was a new departure for me, as I was more used to general clerical work.
I was summoned to the company boardroom. Here the Managing Director and the the Finance Director sat at the long hardwood table. At five past two, here I was served with a notice of redundancy.
It was to be the first of five in the next couple of years.
I was struck by the wild lamentations of personal grief of other work colleagues at the sudden shock of receiving their own notices of redundancy.
They regarded their company as a second family, and ascribed familial affections, loyalties or aversions to some of their co-workers.
I knew a couple of people who suffered badly from the shock of redundancy, never able to handle this technical act of Letting Go. I saw one man descend immediately into the abyss of mental torment, compounded by alcohol drug abuse.
I witnessed his appalling spiralling losses, first of financial independence, soon family breakup, health issues compounded by a drunken fall downstairs leading to surrender to depression, domestic squalor and isolation.
Within three hours on that lovely spring day in May 1988, I had fulfilled my desire to drive to the flower-filled Cannizaro Park during normal working hours, and I made a photographic study, in serene solitude, of the fabled alleyway of Golden Rain blossom.
I had also had a consultation with a lawyer to verify the validity of the terms of my redundancy, and I had arranged my first job interview!
I call myself fortunate to clearly see an employing company for what it is, an abstract legal construct.
I see myself, an employee, simply as the holder of a post. I was never family, I never had the right to any other reward for what I did when I occupied that post beyond the narrow boundaries of the definitions which proscribed me there.
In the technical jargon, the word redundancy is rinsed of all human connotations, such as hugs or kisses, and signifies the point when two parties are deemed to agree they have arrived at the point when they no longer are bound by their contract of obligation to one another.
It was sad to see such quantities of unnecessary emotion expended when the lives of some of my office friends were felt so strongly uprooted in this way.
Woe to people who mistake the abstract definitions of others for the reality of their own existence, for they waste their time sleepwalking blind, eyes open only to their illusion!