The Weakest (City) Link

This is a personally motivated post and will without a doubt be biased for which I make no apologies but then what politically motivated speeches aren’t?

Earlier this year my eldest son started looking for jobs in marketing as that would allow him to make use of his talent for writing. He quickly got three interviews set up, one of which was with City Link and he was quickly offered a job as a Marketing Assistant. Prior to him starting I did a quick Google search and found that the company had been sold last year by Initial to a VC for the princely sum of one pound – not something that was a great sign of a health business but the VC were turnaround specialists.

Starting at the bottom he had to learn tasks such as “making coffee and tea”, something he had astutely kept clear of until that point. Those there were supportive of him and it was a team of people he enjoyed working with. He seemed to have found the job holy grail in something that he loved doing with a good set of colleagues.

Keen to move out of the family home and find some independence he looked at flats closer to the office and after viewing a few that weren’t great he found a nice place just 20 minutes walk from the office. A couple of days before he was due to move in the agency called to say that there was a problem with the bathroom where they had found a leak and it would take a couple of weeks to dry out and repair. Helen and I put on hold plans we had to redecorate his room!

A few weeks later the agency said that repairs had been completed and when could he move in? At roughly the same time a senior director in the business called him into an office and suggested that he might hold off on signing for a while as there was a restructure being reviewed. Eventually with no information from the office he backed out of the flat.

Then on Christmas Day, he received this as an extra present:


And then a week later as the new year began he was out of a job.

The timing was awful and that the staff had to find out via the media was indefensible. I don’t know if the VC thought that by announcing on Christmas Day they might be able to bury bad news but they misjudged that completely if they did. It’s bad enough finding out that you have lost your job though the press but to do so on Christmas Day was just cowardly as has the way that John Moulton has acted since then, although I am not sure we should be unduly surprised by the attitude of a large Tory donor.

I have to say that unlike the unions I never expected the government to step in and nationalise the company but some expression of sympathy would have been appropriate and Vince Cable’s refusal to meet until the New Year was also pretty disgraceful. It is some wonder that people choose not to vote when this is what you get.

Alex is young, bright, talented and motivated and so will quickly get a another job. I just hope that he can find a set of people to work with that have been as good for him as those at City Link. You spend so much of your time working that it is important to find something you love with people you respect.

Image above used without permission of City Link but I don’t think that they are going to come after me.