The New F-Word

To Furlough or not to Furlough, that is the question.

By Fiona Mendel

Well it’s been the question I have been asked continuously over the last few weeks. Should we Furlough our staff? If so, which ones? How do I go about it? How do I get them back afterwards? We are all screaming the F-word from the top of our lungs but regardless of such, that is not actually the subject of this blog. I mainly wanted to reach out to you to say the F-word in my own terms. FAREWELL.

After an amazing seven years working at DOHR as an Employment Solicitor and HR Operations Manager, I’m now extremely sad as the realisation hits me that I’m soon to be saying farewell to all my lovely clients and colleagues alike.

I’ve come a long way and learnt a huge amount. My first week, some seven years ago involved making someone I’d never met (a lovely 75 year old man) redundant, something I’ll never forget. Fortunately, compassion is something in-built in me so I’m hoping if our paths ever cross again, that by now, he would have forgiven me.  Week two involved attending a business networking meeting at 6.30am (my three young children who at the time were all under 3 years of age, are to this day oblivious to the fact I attended this meeting every week for two years). Was I mad? Possibly.

After several years of progressing within DOHR and leading a team of advisors, DOHR certainly began to feel like home. I’d become adept to hiring and firing staff. Keeping our clients out of the Tribunal is something we pride ourselves on, albeit there will inevitably be times where settling outside the courtroom is neither an option or viable.

Amongst my high points was an unusually challenging Tribunal case. After weeks of preparation to defend our client’s position, my plan was to get the case thrown out; to say it was a relief when the other side didn’t show up is something of an understatement! Regardless of such, the case had been brought frivolously, it was against the wrong party and was wholly unjustified. In any event, that was what I told the judge, who agreed to my sentiments and ruled in my client’s favour.  I was the unsung hero and will stand by the fact that I managed to persuade the judge that it was a no brainier!

That leaves me with the present time and despite dealing with all things Furlough related, I am now ready to take on a new challenge within a traditional law firm. Doing so during this period of turbulence (who could have anticipated covid-19 taking over our lives like this) I am philosophical about the timing of my departure and take the view that the only time you should ever look back, is to see how far you’ve come.

As apprehensive as I may be in ensuring I rise to my next challenge (I’m sure every single one of us possesses a little imposter syndrome), I’m reminding myself that after 16 years working as a solicitor, I’m perfectly placed to take on this role just as well as any other solicitor or barrister out there.

I will always be grateful and humble to my roots; to DOHR for practising what it preaches: “making the workplace a better place to be”. I’m excited to see how well DOHR grows over the coming years and will always reap satisfaction that, for a large part of my career, I was once part of it.

Donna’s Edit:

Fiona leaves DOHR on 17th April. I know I talk for team and clients alike when I say she will be missed.

I want to publically thank Fiona for everything she has done for our clients while here at DOHR and to wish her every success in the future.

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