Magazine article Management Today

Blue Friday for Britain's Managers

Magazine article Management Today

Blue Friday for Britain's Managers

Article excerpt

Blue Friday for Britain's managers A victim of the recession, Dr Malcolm Wheatley formerly worked as a management consultant in the Bristol office of Price Waterhouse.

Friday, 4 January A memo lands on my desk, announcing the onset of the half-yearly round of appraisal sessions. Already? Didn't they happen in -- let's see -- March last year?

Monday, 7 January I see a note on my boss's secretary's desk: the appraisals are to be on Friday 11. My boss has detailed a particular running order: mine is to be the last. Alarm bells start to ring.

Friday, 11 January I am called in just before 4pm. Like a chess player's end-game, the pieces are carefully marshalled and laid out. The current economic situation. The consultancy marketplace. Activity levels. Sales. The skill areas where the firm is currently positioning its selling efforts; the limited overlap between this and my own skill areas. The final pieces are moved into place: check.

But execution is not immediate. There are openings in Europe. Like swordsmen mired in treacle, we fence around, exploring possibilities. Do I speak German? Czech? Polish? I'm finding it difficult enough to speak English, but hear myself volunteering to go anywhere and speak anything if it means I can stay.

So it's check again, and mate. The operation has been clinical, but not unkind. We discuss severance terms, and I find myself back at my desk. I am to leave at the end of the month. I call my wife and drive home.

Saturday, 12 January The mounting Gulf crisis pales into insignificance against the more immediate one at home: the sudden gulf between our income and our outgoings. …

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