What does Independence Day mean to you?
It didn’t used to mean much to me. That was before 4 July 2017, which brought me the sort of independence I really hadn’t planned for.
All of the staff of the great little company I worked for were summoned to a meeting with the UK Managing Director. We learned that the global parent company loved what the little company had created (which is why it had snapped it up two years earlier in a takeover) - it loved its products, its service and its customers, but it just didn’t care too much for the staff.
So the little company would live on in name only - the parent company would subsume all of its commercial activity - and the staff were given their marching orders.
If you’ve ever been in a similar situation, you’ll know what happens next.
Shock, anger, hurt, tears - our meeting ended with all these things along with much nervous hilarity and the consumption of a lot of alcohol. And then the painstaking phased departure of staff on a weekly basis - marked by various farewell parties and events, including a ceremonial burning of the company spreadsheets. Oh and a work sleepover, with everyone camping out on the office floor - well, it had to be done.
Losing a job you love is crushing. It smashes your self-confidence to pieces. It’s hard not to take it personally. And once you’ve come through the madness, sadness and despair, all you can do is dust yourself off and look for the silver lining.
Independence Day has a new meaning for me now - and from here onwards something I will be quietly celebrating...