it's that time of year again...

Christmas decorations are going up, town is too busy, and for the 4th year running Yell have announced redundancies in the I.T department.

We've just had an announcement that 34 roles (roughly 10-15%) will be lost from the UK, though until consultation starts they cannot disclose which areas are targetted. We'll hear more next week (and I assume affected roles will be put At Risk), once they have appointed various representatives for the consultation...that will last a targetted 30 days, at which point redundancy notices will go out.

They have specifically said no volunteers this time, which means there is a list of names that are for the chop pretty much. General opinion is that I will probably be OK, based on specific skillsets I have that support some short and mid-range business requirements, though as always I'm in a slightly weired position in that my role is different to everyone else in my team (my offical job title is Designer, though I work in the Solutions and Architecture team...I am the only person with the role of Designer, as they got rid of all the others last christmas). My email signature currently refers to my role as "Solutions Consultant", and when they do skills matrices I get the "Accounts Recievable" and "Finance" boxes ticked to go alongside that...

Not sure if the timing is good or not, but I had a bit of a rant at my new American boss just before Fishcon, pointing out that everyone else on my team was paid approximately twice what I'm on, which seems slightly unfair to me (this is based on gradings we have...I have a "work the hours" job grade aka MPG4 (Managerial or Professional Grade 4), while everyone else is on a more lucrative "work the job" (PTG, Professional Technical Grade) grade, which also includes perks such as company car, better bonus, better medical, better pension deal etc etc). To be fair she wasn't aware of this (I'm just a name and skillset to her, after all, combined into a funny accent on the end of the phone), and she has taken it to HR while I was at Fishcon, though I suspect they may well be busy in the next few months with kicking people out the door...

So, in summary, I have absolutely fuck-all idea what is going to happen...options are;
1) a P45, and probable commute to London with a new job
2) Fuck all
3) Promotion

My money is on (2), as Yell loves a bit of status quo, and without being too arrogant I do fulfil a specific and fairly important niche in the overall scheme of things, so I'm probably not on THE LIST, though I also fully expect some bullshit from HR to come back about "current market conditions" and "benchmarked against equivalent roles", probably based on my in-accurate job description.


I still remember the line "These redundancies are so numerous so we don't have to do any more..." when the first one went through. Although I guess that can run with 'Google is just a word' or 'We're gonna grow print' [crica. 2005] or even 'We will remain a British company'... The old senior management sure could tell it straight.

Glad to hear it looks like you're fairly safe. Hope James, Simon etc.... get desired outcome n all.

We're losing 24 from my department at work, it seem like an odd decision given how much money we make (boatloads), but from what I've heard they tend to restructure every 18 months or so. The only reason my area was spared this time was the loss of 20 through wastage over the year.

I've always considered job security to be one of the core reasons for working for the coporates. That looks like an increasingly outdated view. If they get through the easier to sack people legislation, then I suspect when the axe falls again the number of people getting cash will be considerably less.

That's enough incoherent ranting for one post... I'm off to have a nose round my OU materials for next year, what arrived this morning.

Nibbles's picture

I've just been informed I am "At Risk", and that my redundancy pool includes the BPC's (Business Process Consultants...effectively 3rd line support). Headcount reduction of 16 to 9.

Just sorting out a copy of my job description (which has no mention of live support), before querying how different roles can be grouped under the same role-based redundancy pool...thoroughly un-impressed.

babychaos's picture

FFS. Yell officially have no idea what the hell they're doing.

AggroBoy's picture

That's mental. Still, makes for a good short selling opportunity.

brainwipe's picture

I'm not really a big fan of looking for jobs (hence why I have been at Yell for 14 years). I don't really think I have too many options this time though...

babychaos's picture

Just make sure you're suitably argumentative about the ways they're violating their own process, and do it in writing. You can often scare companies into a bigger payout (or even backing-off entirely) if they get the impression you know your rights. Make sure you use the term 'wrongful dismissal,' preferably with someone from HR on the email chain.

AggroBoy's picture

Me? Vocal? Never...

...or, put another way, our initial meeting over-ran by 20 minutes, and I was the only one speaking. The person who sits next to me used to work in HR, her mother works on industrial Tribunals, and her father-in-law is a judge.

babychaos's picture

I'd love to have seen their faces an at least they heard you out!

Good luck, I hope it all goes well.

Misterecho's picture

"Just make sure you're suitably argumentative" this is pete we are talking about suitably argumentative is kind of his default state :D

I hope things turn out well for you mate.

Evilmatt's picture

I will forever more aspire to being "suitably argumentative"

Misterecho's picture

With 14 years behind you, you should be looking at a sizable package.

Dwain's picture

[Insert inappropriate joke about 14 year olds and looking at sizeable packages]

brainwipe's picture

it seems the incessant complaints about how they have segmented the department up have sank in. I was notified today that;

1) I am still at risk
2) I am now in a pool of 3...the other 2 are the same grade as me, and do actually have roughly the same job
3) We will lose 1 person from that pool of 3

So while nothing has fundamentally changed, at least now it is vaguely possible to grade the 3 people against each other, rather than before where scoring 16 people on different job roles.

babychaos's picture

A move in the correct direction. Now to bump the others off.

On the other hand, a move might be good for you and the redundancy money might loook a bit like driving lessons and a car. Or a chunk off the mortgage.

brainwipe's picture

We need some more clarity on what the plans are for the department really. I've said that I really need to know what the offer on the table is before I decide to go or not. I'm on a BT Contract ('cos I've been here since forever), and apparently the deal is pretty good in that case (in the region of 4-6 weeks per year), and if they are intending on merging solutions/design and the 3rd line support I would rather not hang around. As ever, I have to weight up a new job against the convience of Yell. I don't want to take on any sort of commute really...I've been very careful about making sure I balance work time, and (for example) heading into London will be a massive reduction in my actual day-to-day time.

As someone has just pointed out to me, one of my projects has been mentioned in the MD's Christmas email!

Of course transforming a business is exciting, but also throws up some bumps along the way. In the UK we've seen this most notably with recent billings issues and general back end processes that have led to a number of less than satisfactory customer experiences.

Go Me!!! No publicity is bad publicity (allegedly).

babychaos's picture

Don't write off working in the Berkshire area - they will be jobs you'd be suited for near to home without going to London. You may well attract a similar sort of salary at some of the fucking huge blue chip companies nearby that do billing.

brainwipe's picture

The area I am worth the most is in Accounts Recieveable systems (specifically payment systems), and most companies tend to hold onto key staff in that such roles don't come up massively often. The majority of roles that do come up are in London...

I'm on job searches for 3 main areas (Basingstoke, Newbury and Reading are all easily accessible to me), and there have been 2-3 roles advertised in the last month, compared to about 15-20 in's just the nature of it...fiscals tend to gravitate to London.

I need to sort out my CV really, as it's very much focused on internal vacancies. Been looking at CV writing companies, which will cost in the region of £150 to sort out a decent externally-focused CV, which may not be a bad idea, as I could go with some guidance on getting my stuff out of Yell-speak, and into a more commercially acceptable format.

babychaos's picture

Send your CV to me. I've read hundreds and although they're technical, I'll set you in the right direction!

brainwipe's picture

At 4 weeks per year of service your looking at a 56 week payoff, or put another way an entire years salary tax free.

Dwain's picture

Only the first 30k is tax free.

Rob - I think my recent CV is at work (left memory stick there in my haste to get out on Friday...). Shall email it over in the new year.

babychaos's picture

ok mate, whenever. We can meet for lunch to discuss it. As for your redundancy pay, the statutory is shit. Get the govt to calculate it here:

Check your contract, tho. You might have additional bonuses in there.

brainwipe's picture

As I joined when Yell was BT I get redundancy as per the T&C's of that contract, which is (roughly);

((My age-35) * 1.5 months salary) + ((years service - (my age-35)) * 1 months salary)

Which is (1 x 4759) + (13 x 3473) = ~£49,500

On top of that you can normally get full bonus for the year (I get 8.25%), a training budget of £1k etc etc. It's not bad, and in all honesty if I was Yell it would be financially more sense to make my job suck rather than pay that out.

babychaos's picture

gadzooks! I doubt you'll be made redundant!

Misterecho's picture

I was going to email this to Rob, but then I thought...why should he be the only one to have a laugh.

My CV, basically designed around internal vacancies in Yell

babychaos's picture

Another way of thinking about a CV is to think of it from the point of view of the person who will offer you that contract. They're not thinking "We need a glove to fit this hand", they are thinking "We're in the shit and we need to fill a hole no other fucker knows how to fill."

Also, you must come across as enterprise, which is what you are. You're not two-bit-small-time-hick-company man.

Guff - remove it
Remove Address (say based in Reading, Berks)
Remove DOB
Remove home tel
Remove marital status
Remove skills (all hygene)

Personal statement should read something more like (in 3rd person so it can be read down the phone to a prospect):

Pete is a enterprise level business process architect specialising in Accounts Receivable systems. Pete's technical finanicial expertise cover BACS, eCommerce and Credit Card processes and their implementation within a SAP environment. His most recent success was the delivery of X million £ project that did blah.. [you know, the big ass one you've been on]

This is the section that counts and will take a few times to get it right. It's a bit woolly, you need to put some numbers in and sharpen the language. As you're enterprise level architect, it's OK to have a paragraph describing the last 2 roles you did. For example, in your consultant role:

Designed and owned £Xm SAP-based Accouts Receivable system and its interface with legacy system. Delivered design on time (early), designed tests and assisted in data migration....

More general notes:
Menion SAP more, you know its limitations and capabilities
Mention size of company in terms of numbers, for example:
"Ownership of accounts receivable systems and interfaces for 1m/year turnover system"
Mention size of projects in terms of estimated man-hours to complete it. You designed a 10,000 man hour system.

Careful when you say you develop systems, that normally means you code
Haven't you designed test processes?
Haven't you set up automated tests?
Haven't you used automated processes for migration of data?
Mention that you owned the migration of legacy A/R system into a new SAP one (which I think you did)

Avoid "Lead Designer on a number of high profile projects". Say what they were.

Move Certification to before education.

Remove education before University, say on request.

Let's see another iteration.

brainwipe's picture

I've done a bit this morning...I shall have a go at finishing the wording this evening, and shall put up a revision...

babychaos's picture

Nice, it takes a good few iterations to get to somewhere that is both useful to a recruiter and you feel represents you fairly. Mine took about 10 iterations and then 3 or 4 every time I changed jobs. So about 400 iterations then.

brainwipe's picture

Hmm...first re-draft. It reads...badly.

First revision

I'm not sure how to balance big projects vs day to day work (for example, in 2010 I was involved in 7 different projects in one way or another...from consultant in one area, upto basically running the show (the VAT amends, for example). Also the "paragraphs" are still very much in bullet-point wording, though that is partly me trying to keep projects defined.

re: testing. I do have testing qualifications, though I avoid the proper part of it as much as possible, as its something I'm not that interested in. I mainly do unit testing for developers (mainly as our dev system sucks in terms of data creation), rather than full test scripts.

babychaos's picture

Re: testing. Put it on, you can always explain it. By having it there, it makes you look more rounded. You can have bullet points but it is always worth having a paragraph at the top so that the recruitment agent can read it down the phone.

I'll have a closer look later.

brainwipe's picture update.

Still At Risk, and have been given my offer letter. It's fairly obscene (without using figures it is 18 months salary). I also have to complete a preference form (that in itself has no weight, but will be used in case of tie-breakers). Finally, we will be scored in a number of criteria do determine suitability for keeping a job.

The 3 options on the preference form are a bit comical;

1) Prefer to take redundancy payout
2) Prefer to redeploy to a role currently available (there are 3 in IS...2 testers and a security consultant...none are very good)
3) Prefer to redeploy to a role within the new IT Structure...which we have not had told to us.

So Option 2 is out (all the jobs suck), and Option 3 is basically a non-entity, as you're signing to something you simply don't know (consier going for a job interview where you do not know what you are applying for...). So my option will be to take the money. I have explained that I cannot even consider option 3 to senior peeps here.

The scoring process will be concluded on Tuesday, and those impacted will be told Wednesday. I'm then immediately off for 2 weeks, so one way of another will miss all the fun.

babychaos's picture

Option 3 sounds familiar ... oh yes that's what I just had to do a few months back start a new job I knew nothing about except there was no option 1 or 2 for me it was random new job or be deported. I suppose I could have joined the other illegals hanging round diy shop carparks :D

It does sound like take the money and run is your best option I hope the process goes your way

If not you can always join me selling bags of oranges of dubious origin from the side of the road next to the supermarkets car park

Evilmatt's picture

The plan is defo: Step 1: Take money. Step 2: Run.

brainwipe's picture

Take the money, don't open the box!!!

Dwain's picture

Waiting to find out if I've got the money or not. Other teams have found out, however our manager has been absent in meetings all day, which sort of sucks.

babychaos's picture

A (for now) final update on this.

I was advised last night that I was un-successful with my application for redundancy (sad face). I've been given an arbitary letter saying I'm no longer at risk, but have successfully secured a role in the new structure (see above for how vague this is). I was "suitably argumentative" about the matter, and today I've had a couple of meetings with some managers about the situation.

End result is that things are going to happen while I'm swanning off to Iceland, or at least hopefully they will. I've suggested where I am of most use in the business, and what I'd like my job parameters to be. I've also asked for a resolution to the ongoing regrade malarky, which came back as suprisingly positive. I've been through this sort of "maybe next year" stuff several times before, so I'm not holding my breathe, and if nothing has moved by the end of the month then I'll resume the job hunt.

babychaos's picture

Sorry to hear that mate; sounds like the worst possible outcome. Nothing worse than being shown what the settlement would be and then denied it. :(

Here's hoping you manage a decent outcome on the regrade/promotion thing...

AggroBoy's picture

Hope the move is beneficial. If not, jump.

brainwipe's picture

Hmm, not good. Hope the regrade sorts it but sure you could find somewhere else if they continue to be shit...

byrn's picture

Well, back from Iceland, and whats happened?

Well, it looks like, against all odds, I've pulled out "3) Promotion". I had pointed out that if they consider me business critical, it may not be a good idea for me to have more holiday allowance than I have notice period (specifically, if I had handed in my notice before I went to Iceland, then I didn't have to come back). That sort of scared a few people, especially given I had asked to leave under redundancy.

For Yell'ites, from tomorrow I shall be a PTG grade (Professional Technical Grade), with all the trappings that come with it, as well as a payrise (though I've been warned that this will not be massive...however the extra benefits have additional financial value...for example Company Car allowance). I also get some added burden (3 month notice period typically, and more liability for out of hours working).

I have been assured that I will see the paperwork by Thursday, and that it is effective from 1st February. The job description I had some input into, and my job title will include the pseudo-word "Configuer". I have already asked for this to be changed to "Configurator", possibly pre-fixed with "The".

It's been a fairly shitty couple of months at Yell, however it does provisionally seem as though I have come out of it reasonably well. I've been given an idea of projects I will be working on mid-term, and it's been made very clear that they understand without me they are fairly screwed in some areas. From my end, I'm ging to push for a training plan which will involve getting some externally identifiable qualifications (for anyone who has dealt with SAP, I'll want SAP certification in SD and FI ideally), and I've also joined the union. I'm a great believer in fighting your own corner, however more and more there is less chance for that to happen. I'm under no apprehensions that we will be undergoing more waves of redundancy, and it is in my own best interests to ensure that I either have a job, or get the best possible payout if they dump me (and as you've seen, the payouts from here are currently really quite nice).

As is also the tradition, I have to pay for pie on Friday, so if you are about in town feel free to come along and abuse the situation...I would do the same in a second!

babychaos's picture

Excellent news, nice one mate. 3 months notice for people on your grade is standard.

brainwipe's picture

Nice one mate!

byrn's picture

Great news mate glad you got a good outcome.

Evilmatt's picture

Saw the numbers last night...long story short, I'm motorbike shopping!
(just a bit gutted it's going to snow this weekend really)

babychaos's picture