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GUEST COMMENT: Tried and tested methods for the avoidance of redundancy in an investment bank

Credit Suisse and Barclays have already set the ball rolling with a few layoffs, and further trauma seems likely unless something changes drastically in the next few weeks. Personally, I avoided being laid off throughout my long and illustrious career in the City. This was partly due to consistent over performance, and partly to innate cunning. If it looks like there may be trouble ahead one of the following strategies might just save your neck.

1) Nervous breakdown

This classic trick requires claiming you’ve been subject to some form of breakdown and hence devolving yourself of responsibility for any errant behaviour or underperformance. It can be hard to pull off unless you have displayed a few prior symptoms, but will get the HR department on your side and make dismissal unlikely.

2) Whistleblowing

Lodging a separate complaint regarding some unconnected and not necessarily significant misdeed you witnessed at the bank should ensure that your employer cannot fire you until your allegation has been thoroughly investigated. This can take an extremely long time.

3) Emerging from the closet

A P45 for someone who has just come out of the closet has lawsuit written all over it. I remember thinking that Morgan Grenfell’s rogue fund manager Peter Young had tried this trick when he went to court dressed in women’s clothing in 1999 (though the fact he had taken it upon himself to attempt a gender realignment operation suggests he was genuinely mentally disturbed).

4) The racist/sexist card

A simple suggestion that you have been the recipient of racial or sexual abuse in the workplace will make you inviolable in any coming round of redundancies. However, it may not do you any favours longer term.

5) Pregnancy

Only open to women, this is probably the most infallible strategy of the lot. Yes, banks do make pregnant women redundant, but they think long and hard about it first. A feigned pregnancy need not endure beyond December; not all pregnancies are successful.

6) The AA play

If you’re in trouble for a drink or drugs related issue then make sure the HR department know before your meeting with them that you’re seeking treatment. This should ensure that you are miraculously transformed from being a disruptive pisshead or junkie into a victim of a ‘disease’.

7) Bereavement

If you make it known that you are going through a bereavement, divorce, death of a pet, or life trauma, you will get the sympathy vote. Banks are not known for being sympathetic, but they are staffed by humans, who are.

None of these tricks are for the faint hearted; all should be undertaken after careful consideration. Some of them might save your job.

Geraint Anderson is author of ‘Cityboy – Beer and Loathing in the Square Mile.’

Comments (15)

  1. All of these tactics, whether genuine or fake, are unlikely to get you promoted long term as well.

  2. I like what you write and i’m a real fan but if I may … I think the only reason you avoided beeing made redundant is that you worked during the Boom years of the city. Would you have survived 2008-2009 ? That is the real question. Over performance is an element but its far from being enough…. Good luck to you

  3. I would pay not to have to hear this guy’s rubbish.

  4. You missed the obvious one – resign before they can get rid of you – – and tell everyone about the wonderful new, stress-free life you have planned…

    timewastersplease Reply
  5. I know a whole load of women who get pregnant to avoid redundancy – I tend to view their children as illegitimate – I also tend to view Mr Geraint Anderson as economical with the truth – his so called high flying career was a bit of a joke really for people in the know.

  6. Sian Williams on BBC Breakfast news is a good example.

  7. SOunds like bollocks to me if your going to be made redundant wouldn’t the best policy be to negoatiate the best payoff that you can achieve.

  8. Geraint, is barking, and one thing is for sure- I would never employ him. Furthermore staff that resort to such desperate tactics are useless and need to find a new career….

  9. Tongue in cheek isn’t apreciated much on this board is it? Seems to have been one or two humour by-passes amonst the audience….

  10. )…Is Geraint Anderson what one would consider a high flyer? Isn’t he a back-office chap, who would just about know how to spell algorithm or financial mathematics?

  11. Getting pregnant accidentally or falling sick before the end of a long probation can result in job risk. In the first case, my friend was made to wait 1.5 years before PR would upgrade her from consultant to fulltime. In the second case, I ended up being eased out of my job by HR after ending up in hospital for an unplanned interlude of 3 months. In my case, dear HR even tried to claim incompetency until one of my bosses stood up for me and checked with the entire team – there had been no complaints from anyone whatsoever.

    So those tricks may not always work.

  12. I had that Geraint Anderson in the back of my cab once when I picked him at the station in my small provincial town.

  13. Anderson why don’t you write about how to waste time? You are a genius.

    What a rubbish Reply
  14. I worked with Geraint at Dresdner and, I hate to admit it, but he was a ‘high flyer’ – headed up the 4th highest ranked team in the whole City and earned bonuses about three times what I did (e.g. over half a mill). He was also a really nice guy though perhaps not as funny as he thought he was! Basically, he managed to do what we all dream of – leave with a few mill while he’s still young – I’m still stuck here … Lucky bastard! Huggy

  15. Really good article, I have recently seen a couple of people pulling some of these tips. It would be interesting though to write in more detail about these topics as well as how to get more money in your redundancy package, how to negociate..

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