Friday, 8 April 2011

Is the end in sight?

Over recent months I have written several blog entries about my work. I have mentioned the impact Ofsted and the run-up to it's recent inspection have had on both the school where I work and the people who work there ... but in the background there was a serious problem that remained unmentioned and unsolved ... a massive budget deficit.

Matters came to a head as the end of the financial year loomed. All the staff were summoned to a meeting last week where the options were laid before us. Basically, for reasons that were none of our making, the existing staffing levels were going to have to be 'down-sized'. It was hoped that natural wastage might make the need for redundancies remote, but although it was not stated, it was apparent that staff like me were vulnerable.

This evening, just as I was leaving work, I was called into the Principal's office for an 'interview'. The upshot of our conversation was that my current contract, which lasts until the end of July, will not be renewed. Basically, they can no longer afford to employ me, and by my going, the job of one of my full-time colleagues will be more secure.

The news was not as much of a shock as I expected ... and it means that I might actually be able to retire a year earlier than I had planned ... so it is not all bad news! My wife and I are going to do some serious thinking about the future over the next few weeks, but at least we have nearly four months to get things sorted out.

20 comments:

  1. Good News Bob, perhaps.

    Your employers will, no doubt, be making sure that your pension rights are unaffected and that you do not loose out financially.

    However, it is something that you have time to plan for and remember, you don't have to accept their first offer.

    Jim

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  2. I think back over your posts, Bob, and I recall many about your frustrations and disillusionment with it.

    Perhaps it might be well to look at this as a relief from those stresses.

    I hope that you will find yourself "freed up" to the extent that your find yourself truly enjoying life again.


    -- Jeff

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  3. Jim Duncan,

    I own the company that is contracted to supply my services to the school where I work ... so my pension provision is already in place.

    My wife and I will need to make certain adjustments to our lifestyle if I retire now ... but we had expected that would happen in the near future anyway ... just not quite this soon.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  4. Bluebear Jeff,

    I will not regret leaving the problems and stress behind me ... but I will miss a lot of the people I work with. They have made my past two years at that school more than just bearable; they have made it fun to work with them.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. Wishing you the best as you go through these sort of unexpected changes. Frankly, I expect this will lead you to some new adventures and I hope to read about some of them here on this blog.

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  6. Bob, the expression silver lining comes to mind. I took a financial hit and retired early and don't regret it for a moment. I'm just not sure why I still don't have enough time!

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  7. Leaving the stress behind is good and re reading your posts again think it will be a blessing in disguise - plus think of all that free time for the hobby !

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  8. Paul Leach,

    Many thanks for your words of support.

    It proves that you can never know what is actually around the next corner in life, and I am looking forward to finding out ... and I will certainly be blogging about it as I go.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. Ross Mac,

    As usual, you are absolutely right!

    It is nice to have money ... but nicer to have a life ... and if I do actually retire this time, I know that I will have more of the latter than the former. For one thing, I will have enough time to do the things that I want to do as well as the things that I have to do, something that has not always been possible of late.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  10. Mosstrooper,

    Whatever happens, I know that in the end I will feel better about a lot of things than I have for some time.

    I might even buy some of those lovely 42mm figures I keep thinking about ... and have time to both paint them and wargame with them!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  11. Bob
    I do hope this works out to be a blessing for you and your wife... perhaps a chance to take stock and be one which will have less stress and hassle in the end.
    best wishes
    Alan

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  12. Tradgardmastare,

    Thanks for your kind words.

    Whatever the outcome, my wife and I are going to be in a better - if slightly less well-off - situation. Hopefully happy and definitely a lot less stressed!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  13. Bob, as an early retiree' grasp the moment, but only if you have the money you need. When I left early 5 years ago I thought I'd be desperate to get back to work once I had recovered from my heart operation. Fact is, I've got more than enough to fill my days, and my income, while reduced due to early reitement seems to be more than adequate. It seems that you forget the costs associated with being employed. Holidays at peak times, travelling costs, having to pay people to fix things you can easily do yourself.

    Best wishes whatever the future brings

    Will

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  14. Fire at Will,

    Thanks for both your best wishes and excellent advice.

    I am certainly not going to miss the journey to and from work. It is just over six miles by car towards central London ... and can take anything from thirty minutes to two hours at the moment. That will have increased next year in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics as my route goes right past the site in Greenwich where the equestrian events are taking place. At least I will be spared that!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  15. You seem to be relatively well set Bob and certainly appear to be approaching this with the right attitude. My own father took early retirement - but has used it to pursue a second career as an artist. There's certainly a book on wargaming in you...

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  16. Conrad Kinch,

    Thanks for your very supportive comments ... especially about writing a book!

    Whatever happens, I don't want to end up being mentally idle. I have seen what that has done to my father. He became engrossed in his garden, but did not maintain any friendships, read any books, or do very much that was cerebral. He spent all his time with his plants or with my mother. It was her death that began the slow decline into anxiety and dementia, as he had very little to distract him from spending hours alone worrying about just about everything. My brother and I tried to help him, but he refused to listen to us or to join any group that would have supported him.

    I do not want to end up like that … and so wargaming, reading, writing, travelling (for as long as I am able), and meeting people are all part of my ‘retirement’ plan. You never know, I might even make it over to Ireland again someday, and perhaps I can take you on in a battle or two of C&C Napoleonic’s!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  17. I am glad that you are looking at this positively; taking early retirement, as long as you will be alright financially, will be a good thing.
    I second Conrad; any chance of a book on wargaming(hint, hint!)?

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  18. Paul,

    A long time ago I would have worried myself sick about what might happen ... but I have learned not to worry about things over which I have no control (well I try not to!).

    As to writing a book about wargaming ... well I would love to write one about gridded wargames, including early ones like POLEMOS.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  19. Bravo, Bob.

    My compliments on your thoughtful and reasoned reaction to something that normally triggers a knee-jerk panic reaction in people.

    I lost my job last year, and to be honest it was the best thing that could have happened at exactly the right time. I'm still in touch with my ex-colleagues and what was previously a high-stress job (which nearly broke more than one of us) has now taken on a greater workload with a lower headcount and the removal of many of the benefits we previously enjoyed (like company cars and paid overtime).

    Here's to the beginning of a new lease of life. (raises glass)

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  20. Dr Vesuvius,

    The relief of knowing that I will soon be free of the intolerable workload that now passes for normal is almost physical. I sat down this morning and counted up the number of days I have left until my contract comes to an end ... and it was fifty days! That is ten more Monday mornings, ten more staff briefings (which are never, ever brief!), ten more endless faculty meetings, and ten more Fridays to look forward to ... including the last one!

    As you say, here's to a new lease of life!

    All the best,

    Bob

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