This week Michael asks us to consider the notion of collapse.
It had been a difficult year. Times were hard, and there had been layoffs, but so far he’d managed to keep his job.
Luckily, they had some money put aside for emergencies, but even that wouldn’t last forever. They were used to living frugally and there were still a couple of ways to cut their outgoings if they had to.
The Boss had called a meeting of his remaining ten staff.
It was not good news.
Almost in tears, he explained how things were financially and was now asking for any offers of advice or suggestions to keep going.
The Floor Manager suggested everyone took a 10% cut in wages and see if that helped.
The Accounts supervisor put forward last year’s profit sharing dividends be cancelled.
She also suggested cancelling acceptance of certain credit cards as the Bank’s commission on them was unrealistically high for a firm as small as they were.
Utilities said there was a margin for reducing thermostats in the offices and still keep well within the recommended working conditions.
It was a positive meeting and the Boss took it all on board, thanking his loyal staff and promising to keep them in the loop.
A ten percent dip in his salary was not the end of the world, but fast approaching the edge.
At least there would still be money regularly coming in to meet the bills and mortgage.
They’d paid off the car and home improvement loan when they first started to feel the squeeze. It took a chunk out of their savings, but at least it meant they didn’t have to find an extra two hundred and thirty pounds a month for the next three years, and if they had to, they could sell the car and he’d get a bike.
Three months down the line, the staff were gathered for a meeting.
The tide was turning for the business, and whilst they weren’t out of the woods yet, they could see daylight at the end of the tunnel.
He’d had a spring in his step at the bank that day. He’d stumbled and collapsed, dead before he hit the ground.
Massive heart attack they said.
It was ironic. If only he’d had it after he’d seen the Bank Manager with his new business plan and forecasts.
The following day, an urgent meeting was called, chaired by the Boss’s wife.
She looked ill, her eyes red and swollen from crying.
‘I am so sorry……………’ she began, then paused to compose herself.
‘I have no choice but to close the business and sell up……..’