As I mentioned in an earlier post WordPress has suddenly started posting daily prompts again. This time around they are posted directly on to our blogs not to the Reader. I think it has been going on about a week. At least I’ve only seen them this week. It may be different in other parts of the world. Fandango decided to use one of them for this week’s FPQ.
What’s the hardest decision you’ve ever had to make? What made the decision so difficult?
One that immediately comes to mind was deciding to leave my full time job in the railways. I had been there for twelve years and it was a good job in many ways. I loved it for most of the time I was there. The pay was good, so were the holidays provided and we got free travel on the suburban system, buses, trams and trains.
Things changed when the powers that be decided to start downsizing the workforce and outsourcing a lot of the work to contractors. Our depot used to have about 200 employees, mechanics, electricians, carpenters and cleaners as well as the operational staff. Gradually the numbers dwindled. I remember the first twenty people taking voluntary redundancy around 1990. They thought that they were helping the rest by going but in the end it made no difference.
Cleaning was one of the areas that we were very much afraid that they would outsource altogether. It was a very stressful time. The older cleaners all left first and we found ourselves having to do more work with fewer people. Our department went from the control of one area to another. By this time I was a Leading Hand and I did not enjoy the constant stress of bosses wanting us to work faster and do more. Eventually I became so stressed that I had to take some time off work. I was getting constant headaches and one day after work I found myself unable to find the exit in a city department store that I knew very well, mainly because I was on the second floor at the time. I went on a camping trip with David and his Scout troop one weekend but I felt as if my head was spinning the whole time. On our return I went to the doctor who prescribed some medication and told me to take a week off.
After I went back to work I decided to enquire about taking a redundancy package myself. It was a difficult decision in many ways. I knew I’d be giving up a steady job although to be honest I didn’t think it would last more than another year or so. I was forty and I didn’t know if I would be able to get another full time job. David wasn’t working but our house was paid off. In the end, even though it didn’t make good financial sense, I decided to go because I never wanted to feel the way I felt then again. I managed to get a part time job at a hotel in Adelaide and stayed there for two or three years until we moved to Tasmania. I never regretted deciding to leave.
Some people might say deciding to move to another state where we didn’t have jobs and didn’t know anyone ought to have been a hard decision but it wasn’t. The only hard part was knowing we’d be farther away from Naomi and David’s family but Naomi was also planning to move and as long as we had the cost of an airfare we knew we could go back. So that wasn’t a hard decision at all.
*Note: The railcar depot site was eventually demolished and work was moved out to a northern suburb of Adelaide, the cleaners are indeed all contractors.