A book titled ‘Regrets of the Dying’ doesn’t immediately lend itself to rib-busting tummy tickles. Actively hunting down such a book in fact tends to elicit some concern amongst friends. It is though not only uplifting, but if anything, its life-affirming. I’m on the right path. During a turbulent week at work, this is always a welcome sign indeed.
As with every large corporate, the company I work for are going through a sizeable re-structure, probably their biggest in their history. After years of build-build-build, they’re digitising and automating, cutting the number of services on offer, and therefore cutting the staff that support those services. It’s a large-scale process improvement initiative effectively, one that most would agree is overdue. There is always though a ‘however . . .’, as most restructures are like radical weight-loss schemes: “I shall shed ten kilos this week by cutting off this leg that I barely use!”
Although the upper-tiers of management are endeavouring to approach it the best they can, the business analyst in me looks at why we have arrived at such drastic measures in the first place. Process improvement is part of every business. When you neglect it for a long time, then drastic course directs are necessary. Whilst we may focus that the current captains of the ship are trying to steer us in the right direction, where was the stewardship when we were sailing down crapshoot creek in the first place? Didn’t anyone see that we were developing product after product with little gain, with some platforms costings hundreds of thousands of dollars per month with literally no revenue. I mean, none. Zip. For years. And so how much trust do you put in the people that steered you into a warzone to then clamber out of it, sacrificing a few to save weight?
The other side of this is the demise of the collective. We all know that over the two years, up to eight thousand people will lose their jobs. In the days of unions, announcements like this would lead to forty thousand people telling the bosses to shove their jobs up their arse, and seeing the share price tank as no one turns up for work. In the days of individualism and the demise of unions, we watch on, hoping that personally we’ll be safe, whilst friends are walked out of the building.
Whilst I may reflect on the regrets of the dying over the coming week, it’s sometimes easy to forget the regrets of the living. If redundancies are instead viewed as opportunities to try something new, it opens up the world for you to find something that truly inspires. Having ‘the end of life' a guide can help. To quote from Bonnie Ware’s lovely book on palliative care, her patient John declares, ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard . . . what a stupid fool I was . . . the chase for more, and the need to be recognised by our achievements and belongings, can hinder us from the real things, like time with those we love, time doing things we love ourselves.’
Writing and writing...