Short Story - 3rd Runner up: Voluntary Redundancy by Fionn Murray
Fionn Murray, an editor from Dublin, made an impact with a sharply satirical take on the life of a transient worker.
To begin with, I must emphasise that there are no fixed hours for this position. We will contact you when you are needed, which may be infrequently and irregularly. Please do not contact us requesting additional hours, as this is likely to antagonise the management.
It may be weeks or months before you hear from us regarding your hours. Failure to hear from us after a certain period should not be interpreted as de facto evidence of termination. If you do not hear from us for a long period of time and are then unavailable to perform your duties when you are called, you will be officially reprimanded for violating the terms of your contract. Depending on the severity of the incident, your contract may be terminated altogether.
However, I must also note that, on our end, the terms of your contract do not require us to provide any notice of termination whatsoever. You may be let go at a moment’s notice, and no internal imperative exists for us to inform you of our decision. Under these circumstances, the decision of the management is, as always, final: you will have no recourse to appeal the decision or seek outside counsel. Please do not contact us inquiring as to the status of your position (even if you believe your position may have been terminated), as doing so is likely to antagonise the management.
Resigning from this position is expressly forbidden. If you resign from this position, regardless of how much notice is provided, we will not provide an employer reference. Indeed, we will not provide an employer reference under any circumstances whatever, but if you resign from this position (regardless of how much notice is provided), we will notify all other employers in the area that you are an unreliable and under-qualified employee, lacking in punctuality and relevant skills.
Likewise, if you carry out any action which antagonises the management (such as contacting us unduly, complaining about the terms of your contract, requesting additional hours or not being there for us when we need a shoulder to cry on), we will notify all employers in the area of your poor conduct and lack of attention to detail.
This is an unpaid position. It is only our policy to pay our employees if they display evidence of exceptional qualifications for the position and unwavering dedication to the organisation, at which point we may invite them to join us as a partner. Under the terms of your contract, you are not entitled to any salary, insurance, benefits, bonuses or perks whatever. When eventually your position is terminated, you will not receive a severance package.
You are not the ideal candidate for this position. You are under-qualified, deficient in appropriate skills or training, lacking in relevant experience, and kind of a drag to be around. Consider yourself enormously fortunate to have been offered this position at all, whatever fault you may find with the various associated demerits.
This is an entry-level position; even though previous experience, skills and qualifications are preferred, we acknowledge that any number of candidates could effectively perform the duties required of them in this position. The sole reason we offered this position in the first place is that we had previously advertised a more permanent role as a partner in the organisation, but were unable to find any suitable candidates. Rather than taking on an under-qualified candidate for a position of such importance and authority, the management decided to instead offer a less senior interim position until a suitable candidate for the partner position has been found.
This is an unpaid position. It is only our policy to pay our employees if they display evidence of exceptional qualifications for the position and unwavering dedication
to the organisation
I cannot overstress that as soon as such a candidate has been found, your position will be terminated with extreme prejudice immediately. As I mentioned earlier, there is no imperative for us to provide you with notice of your termination. You have only been offered this position as a stopgap solution until we have found a suitable candidate. I would caution you against applying for a position as partner in the organisation, as I can already tell you that you are severely under-qualified.
The successful candidate for the partner position will have excellent references, several years’ experience, relevant skills and training, good rapport with colleagues and customers, display evidence of single-minded dedication and commitment to the organisation, have a good sense of humour and generally not be a total drag to be around. Having spoken with the management, I can assure you that you meet none of these stipulations.
Please do not come under the mistaken impression that the terms of your contract are mutable or subject to employee review at a later date. There is no potential for advancement within the organisation from this position. No matter how long you are with the organisation, the terms of your contract will never be altered, nor will you ever be offered a more senior position.
It is possible that from time to time, the management may verbally commend you for your performance (provided you are exceeding expectations) or tell you to keep up the good work. Do not interpret this as evidence that the terms of your contract may be changed at a later date, or that you are being considered for a more senior position. Neither will ever be the case.
We urge you not to form any close emotional bonds with the organisation itself or any of your future colleagues, as when eventually you are terminated this may make the separation process more difficult and taxing for all concerned.
The position you are being offered is an entry-level position. Just about anyone, within reason, could perform it perfectly.
You are replaceable.
The only reason you are being offered this position at all is due to a paucity of candidates for the partner position.
When the partner position has been filled you will be terminated with extreme prejudice and with no official notice. The partner will replace you and you will be gone. You will have been made redundant. ■