A dry run, a lost opportunity, and something needs to change

Several weeks ago I applied for voluntary redundancy; the terms aren’t bad at a year’s worth of salary tax-free if you spread it out enough and lob some of the redundancy into AVCs. In practice, this means the equivalent of nearly a year and a half nett if I were to use some of my cash savings and replenish them with the AVCs in a few years. My timeframe for saving enough to buy my own freedom is about two years, so the difference is not worth sweating. And the advantage is that I get out now, rather than in two years. These are two years I don’t get to live again, so going for it is a no-brainer.

It wasn’t to be, since my employer decided they didn’t want to accept my offer to save them money. There’s some sort of power struggle going on in rarefied levels – it is clear that HR want to off as many people as possible because the company is still somewhat overstaffed with skilled people from its earlier history as a technology leader, whereas what is needed now is grunt coding from India and rock-bottom wages. Set against that, the local management hierarchy is managed on achieving their objectives, and obviously they feel they’re short of men, at least that seemed to be the feedback before the decision was made, and it seems borne out by the people who got it and those who didn’t. I don’t know anyone in my area that did.

I’ve been here before, this isn’t the first time I have tried for a VR package. At the moment I still need this, it is transformative and I haven’t saved enough money to go it alone. It would have been rude to pass on the opportunity 🙂

Working through the period between applying and hearing the result is soul-destroying – I did that last year, so this year I took some leave which I had saved up just for this eventuality. Because I’m saving I wanted to keep outgoings down, so I tried out what being retired would be like.

Many people fear not working, losing their sense of purpose and identity. Let’s just say that from my experience this is probably not going to be a problem for me, though naturally a dry run of two weeks is different from the full works. I kept outgoings down, tried to cycle as much as possible rather than drive and took the time to do things for myself and make do rather than buying replacements on a whim. It was rewarding, a sense of engagement and attention with the world.

[audio:http://simple-living-in-suffolk.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/100927-1314_rushmere_bird_LS100187.mp3|titles=Bird in hedgerow]

I listened more intently to what goes on around me, such as this charming plaintive bird in the hedgerow. I don’t know what it is, though it is probably some common sort but I’m not familiar with the call as opposed to the song.  It doesn’t matter, what mattered was that it caused me to dwell and to appreciate the sound for itself. It is good to see clearer the turning of the wheel of the year as the mists and mellowness sets in and the harvest hangs heavy. Set against that was the uncertainty of not knowing whether I was in the last month of my working life or not.

So financially I will maintain current course and speed, no doubt much to the disgust of Mr Bean. There is something to be said for remaining employed through the forthcoming financial firestorm. Other things could do with changing, I should take heed…