In Focus: Vulnerability  

Out of sight, out of mind, out of work?

Neil Liversidge

Neil Liversidge

Much of Brian’s work had originally been for the public sector. That went south in 2010 due to austerity and public spending cuts. Being a versatile individual he learned a new skill-set and moved into more commercial projects.

Everyone was happy with his work. Then, just as he was learning new skills around digital interactivity, wireframing, and animation, Covid-19 hit. Brian asked for training. None was given. Instead, he was told, “look at Adobe XD”.

Only one person in the company knew how to use the new software package they expected him to use, but he was never available to help or answer questions. 

Bolt out of the blue

Brian was left to sink or swim so, being a determined swimmer, he worked late into the night, clocking way more time than his part-furloughed hours and found some relevant videos on YouTube.

He made serious efforts to retrain in the new technology but working from home was now a problem. It meant that colleagues to whom he needed to refer for help and advice were often unavailable. IT issues also became a huge challenge.

In the studio, somebody always had some idea of a workaround or fix, but not with remote working. Even sending work backward and forwards became a problem. Downloading massive files often meant leaving his machine running overnight to download the next day’s job, but that didn’t work when unplanned, urgent jobs were dropped on him at short notice.

Remote working also meant the end of the ‘buddy check’ system they’d used successfully for 20 years. The easily correctable mistakes that resulted were adduced as evidence against him in his ‘review’. 

It is impossible to know what has gone on behind the scenes, but younger and lower-paid people have been employed and other more senior people like Brian have been made redundant.

He feels his employers want him out as cheaply as possible. In his absence, working from home, they have forgotten all the positive work he has done for 20 years. Empathy has vanished. Now they only see the negatives.  hey have decided that an old dog can’t learn new tricks and isn’t worth the time it will take to teach them. 

Brian’s trust in them, naturally, is gone. Colleagues he once worked with side-by-side have become strangers. Friends he trusted are friends no longer. His self-confidence is shattered and he wants out, so his employers will no doubt get what they want.

The value of advice