REDUNDANT or REBORN?

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SARAH HARRIS is a richly talented Australian journalist facing the seemingly inevitable fate of her peers. Hugely popular and admired, her short and unself-pitying Facebook account of redundancy has earned plaudits from friend and stranger alike. This is her farewell to the work she loved. . .

I’M NOT ONE for ‘bleeding out loud’, so think of what follows  more as the final peeling away of a toenail, yellowed and curled, long after the pain of the anvil that was dropped on it has receded.

Last week I joined the long, worldwide line of journalists made redundant, having clung limpet-like to the arse-end of my career for the past six years.

Some of those truly excellent journos and photographers ‘let go’ earlier had accused me, not without a little admiration, of flying under the radar. And it was true.

Over the past half-dozen years I have balled myself up into the smallest target to become, quite literally, a ghost writer: worked from home and came into the office only when absolutely necessary; never brought in cake for birthdays; more often than not didn’t show up for farewells; and stayed at the work Christmas party for an hour at most, if I went at all.

My salary was easy to overlook in company balance sheets – the equivalent of the cost of  lunch with a bottle or two of nice – but not great – wine at Wategos. But I needed it.

Back then, with my parents dying incrementally, my husband almost dying several times of sepsis and reactions caused by his leukaemia and a complete lack of white blood cells, I simply couldn’t afford – either financially or mentally – for my job to go toes up as well.

Now? Now that it is over I actually feel relief. I feel  I can be someone else and not be held captive by the memory of a career.

So farewell to purple prose and the skull cave, I shall be the ex-journalist who walks.

So is there life after redundancy?

Is journalism doomed to being replaced by social media?

Send your thoughts to Sarah Harris

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