Sometimes when I write on here I spend far too long thinking about it, editing, re-composing and so on, so this time I’ve just copied something I wrote in reply to an email, which was much more spontaneous. A friend had asked for a bit more detail about the announcment and how the news had been recieved. Here’s what I wrote:
Thanks for thinking of us. We knew a big announcement was on the cards, and that it would involve office closures, but there is a sense of shock that not only is Stevenage due to close but also four other offices all based in the south-east, which cuts off a lot of options for many people. Relocation to a remaining office is theoretically possible, but places are likely to be few and far between as there are 1100 staff in the offices they’re proposing to close and the published intention is to lose 1500 staff (with the closures and other measures).
This is my first day back since the announcements, but I understand that the mood here has been rather subdued, and people are generally spending as much time discussing their options, and moaning about the board, as doing any actual work. A lot of people are angry, a lot of people upset. In several cases it will affect whole families – it’s the sort of office where people have met their partners and married, with both couples employed here and children in local schools, and also the sort of office where people have stayed a long time. I’ve done 21 years, for example, but there are many who’ve been here 30 years plus and for all of us to be thrust into the job market with no recent experience of what’s it’s like “out there” is a daunting prospect.
We understand that we’ll get a lot of support once the proposals are confirmed after the consultation period. We’ll get assistance with job hunting, CV writing, gaining qualifications and so on (even time off for interviews) and we’re also lucky enough to have a two-year period before the office is set to close and we should benefit from the generous terms of the current civil service redundancy scheme.