I gulp a warm whiskey in the nearest pub, ignoring the smell of beer-soaked carpet. The sunlight streams in and I think about crying. About going home. About stealing a drag of Brianna's* cigarette. Jason* makes a joke and we all laugh. But already we're furtively checking our phones. We sent desperate messages to our contacts that morning.
The morning we got made redundant.
Someone's phone buzzes and we jump to see if it's ours. Not mine.
"I'm invited to chat to one of the editors this afternoon," Jess* says.
Congratulations, we all say insincerely. You'd be perfect.
Another phone buzzes and this time it's me. I'm also invited to meet this same editor. Brianna's phone stays ominously silent. No invitation. She says she has to move back in with her parents on the Central Coast.
Cameron's* wife is pregnant. Marissa* just bought a house. And the entire Brisbane team has been told there are no jobs in the office. Not one. Either move to Sydney or take your payout and go. There seem to be about three viable jobs in Sydney, and about 30 people going for them.
The whiskey's gone but there's another, so I drink it. By the time my hubby picks up my colleague and me that night, it seems our balance is redundant too.
The word 'dundo' has stuck. We got dundo-ed. We want our dundo payment. We need more bloody dundo drinks.
That was a year ago and today it's clear -- my dundo was the best thing that ever happened to me. I'm happier, a little wiser and am in an organisation that's growing, not declining.
But if you just got dundoed, you don't want to hear that. You don't want to hear it's the opportunity of a lifetime. You want to hear that you're young, you've hopefully got (some) savings, and tomorrow, you can do whatever you want.
When you wake up, don't think about your resume. Instead, do something you have never done before. I bought some industrial caustic soda and made soap from scratch. What a rebel, huh?
Tomorrow, I want you to make the most of a place that's always chockers on the weekend. I went ocean swimming with a group of old timers who go off the rocks at Palm Beach at 9 am every day. It was cold and exhilarating and brilliant.
Day three, you'll have at least one friend who's not working. Maybe they've just had a baby, maybe they got dundo-ed too. Whatever the reason, go out to lunch. Get dessert. Enjoy yourself and your (hopeful) savings.
By now you've probably wound down to a slower pace. You're getting used to waking up when your body rouses, not when the alarm clock pulls you from sleep. You've probably stopped worrying about that work contact you forgot to tie things up with.
Now you're ready to think about what next.
If you got dundo-ed, I'd like to tell you that it'll be the best thing that ever happened to you, too, but it's not a time to fret about the unknown. It's a time to revel in the fact that you are in the glorious work-free period where you can focus on who you are, what you want and what's next.
It's truly the opportunity of a lifetime.
*Names have been changed.