Saturday, October 04, 2008

Gardening Leave

My husband is swinging between hope and despair – well, maybe hope and despair are not quite the right words. Between being “thoroughly miserable” and “putting on a brave and cheerful face” is perhaps a better way of saying it.

He was away on business most of the week, but keeping an eye on a Scottish debate about the future of the Crofters’ Commission where he works. There had been talks about, not exactly closing it down, but slimming it down. Lots of the things that the Commission do could be done by other government and non-government bodies. Joe manages grants and project developments. He does it really well! This is not just a loving wife’s biased opinion! The people that move to his department through Joe’s excellent people skills usually go on to do great and glorious things when they get promoted! He does a good job!

However, it is the grants and development projects that they have decided to hand over to other bodies who they think could do it better. The Commission will simply regulate whatever it is they regulate, and they won’t have responsibility for developing and managing grant schemes. When they deal with crofters they won’t be able to help them access the various grants that they may be entitled to, like they can now. Someone else will do that who doesn’t perhaps have the necessary crofting expertise. They will just have the money and make their own recommendations about who gets it and maybe a specialised small community of farmers will not be at the top of their list!

This means that Joe’s job has gone! It hasn’t gone yet, but it is on the way out. The very thing they pay him to do, someone else will be doing, and to my unbiased loving wife mind, will not do it half as good as Joe does it! Joe will no longer be “the mannie with the money” and get his wee drams from the crofters when he visits them. No more visits.

He is not going to be made redundant. He will continue to be employed, but not doing what he has loved doing for the last ten years or more. He could broker a deal where he goes with the job when it gets passed over to another body – but he is a Crofters’ Commission man.

Already there is an unofficial “Save the Joe” campaign at his work. He is not an endangered species, and I am sure that whatever he goes on to do, he will excel.

He was telling me that if he was a few grades higher he might be given “Gardening Leave.” This is where the job you were doing no longer exists and nothing else at your management level is available. They don ‘t want to loose you to some other company, so they agree to pay you full salary while you stay at home and they wait for a post to become available that fits your grade. It only really happens to the top grade people.

Gardening leave would be good – if he actually spent it in the garden. He is dreaming of getting a dog and doing the rounds of the newsagent, the betting shop and the pub for a half a pint. Keep dreaming, sunshine.

Quite how I would cope with him staying at home, and getting paid to stay at home, while I was out battling with my acne and attitude inflicted adolescents, who know? It won’t reach that stage…will it?

I am glad that our security, mine and Joe’s, is not in how we are doing in the workplace. God is the one who holds both our lives in his very capable hands.

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