Greener Fields

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 10.42.01 AMIt’s something I could see coming, and it will ultimately be positive for me but it’s still a weird emotional shock to know that I am being made redundant.

As of 1 December I have no job after almost 14 years with this company.

I’ve done some amazing projects including;

  • started the enterprise-wide learning system the company now uses
  • relaunched our corporate internet site (twice)
  • managed or overseen the publication of more than 30 quarterly results
  • rolled out a re-branding for the company’s internet presence
  • improved the intranet search
  • implemented intranet statistics
  • launched an enterprise social network that I’m proud to say is delivering value to ING
  • started the corporate twitter account
  • wrote the first social media guidelines for the company
  • developed a guide on domain name acquisition
  • handled the launch of new global top level domains such as .euro and .mobi

Obviously I didn’t do all of that alone, I have had a great team to work with, a team of digital experts who are not only complete professionals but are also a lot of fun to work with. Together we’ve created some simple traditions that make work enjoyable – including “Bad Music Friday” implemented with the help of an Angry Bird speaker. I’m really proud of all we’ve achieved, and I have some happy memories of working in a truly collaborative team. Creating this team feels like my best achievement.

And now, following a restructuring of our department it all comes to an end. The team I’ve led will be split into two, and there is no role for me in the new structure. This is partly a consequence of a general “down-sizing” of our company headquarters, which was totally foreseeable given that the company is now half the size that it was when I joined.

Being made redundant sounds really scary, but it can also open doors. In fact I might feel more scared if it wasn’t for a conversation I had back in 2009 in an earlier redundancy round. I went to see a colleague who had been made redundant to say how sorry I was to hear the news he answered by taking me into the photo copier room and closing the door and saying something like;

I’ve brought you in here because I need to be sensitive to other colleagues in the team who have also lost their jobs – I don’t want to be too happy in front of them! I’m so happy with this decision, it gives me the opportunity to do something I’ve always wanted to do without a big financial risk.

He now runs his own consultancy in an area that perfectly aligns his expertise and his passions. It’s a success story, and while not all redundancy stories have such happy outcomes it’s a reminder to me that by seeing this as an opportunity I can steer a better course for myself.

So what are my plans?

I am giving myself a sabbatical, beginning with a course on Digital strategy in December. The rest of December is for reading, creativity, writing and resting. In January and February I will work on a small writing project to do with the implementation of Enterprise Social Networks.

I feel positive and excited about my future, but sad to leave my wonderful team. I am proud of the things I was able to achieve and grateful for the opportunities I had and all that I learnt. I am incredibly thankful to all those colleagues who have been so kind in their comments and messages over the last weeks – it has made it both harder and easier to leave.

And now for the next chapter…

Image green wheat field / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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5 thoughts on “Greener Fields”

  1. I’d love to hire you! I am learning so much in IT strategy… I need a gobble’de’gook translator!!!
    Also LinkedIn mobile app needs so much work… And they’ll pay more!
    You will land a big fish in 2014, I feel it in my waters, I hope they have a Sydney office!

  2. Sorry to learn this, Louise! I only just found your blog. Keep on blogging, share your experience and knowledge, find your niche (and there are still so many niches waiting out there) and I am sure you will find something new. I have been through the same experience, and all has worked out well for me. All the best!

    1. Thanks Ellen,
      Over the last few months I’ve heard from so many people who went through something similar came out the other side and are now doing more interesting work. I’m confident the same will happen for me – even if I can’t quite see what that work will be yet!
      I really appreciate your encouraging words.

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