It’s coming up to the anniversary of the day I was sacked back in 1996. I wasn’t officially sacked of course. My ‘position’ was ‘made redundant.’ Not me, oh dearie me no, my ‘position.’ I was miffed by this. I thought I deserved better after 17 years of hard graft.
Now as it happens a certain JK was at the meeting with my MD when the dread news was imparted. He was the company secretary, a really nice man, and he looked devastated at having to be there. Very upset indeed. So the next morning, I called him at work. ‘Listen, I know you had a rough time of it yesterday. I know you didn’t want to be there. And it really wasn’t your fault. It’s those f****** beancounters in the US. Don’t beat yourself up.’
The relief in his voice was palpable. ‘Thank you. That’s really thoughtful.’
Now as it happened on the same afternoon of the long knives, a very senior member of the staff had been chopped. He’d been there even longer than I had, was even higher up than I was (I had been Deputy MD,) and like me clearly didn’t see the axe beginning its descent. I called his secretary (ex, I suppose.)
Hi H. It’s Duncan. Do you have MC’s home phone number? I’d really like to call him and commiserate.’
‘I can do better than that. He’s here.’
‘He’s in his office. I’ll put you through.’
Click. Brrr brrr.
‘Hello, this is MC.’
‘Mike, it’s Duncan. What the f*** are you doing there?’
‘I’m sitting here making people feel uncomfortable. As far as I’m concerned, I work here till the settlement’s all finalised.’
Now that, my friends, takes a great deal of cojones, and a finely tuned sense of both fun and malice. Good on him.
Incidentally, I organised it so I could keep my company car until the end of my official notice period. Then I refused to take it into London, and insisted they send someone to come and pick it up.
‘I’ll be finished with it about 11:45 tonight.’
Then I spent a couple of hours drag racing it up and down a local strip of road until the fuel warning light was glowing. That meant that the snivelling minion who came to collect it had to find a petrol station open at night, and where I lived they were as rare as hens’ teeth at the time. I later heard that the transport chief thought I had been ‘unreasonable.’ I heard that from my former boss, who thought it was hilarious.