Garden leave: The perfect career?
It is a well-known fact that working in accountancy is stressful as we constantly strive to satisfy the unreasonable demands of clients and colleagues.
A new breed of professionals has discovered an alternative route to make a fortune without killing yourself. This is what could be viewed as “the football manager solution”.
I come from an old tradition that believes in the Protestant work ethic. The way to make money is to deliver good service over a long period of time.
In this way, you will be recognised and thanked by employers and clients, get a decent salary and eventually find yourself as a part owner of a business that might, we all hope, be stupendously successful.
By and large, this has worked, although the perils of equity partnership during a recession can mean that the super profit dream scenario, which will pay for big houses, cars and other luxuries remains a dream.
In return, those who follow this tried and tested route will suffer sleepless nights, work long hours and sometimes wonder whether it might have been easier to become a clerk or shop assistant.
The most rest that you can usually hope for, prior to retirement in the mid-70s, is a sabbatical after 20 or 30 years of labour at the coalface. Even then there is every chance that this will be unpaid since most firms cannot afford to pay a reasonably good salary or profit share to someone who is making no contribution to the business for several months.
Increasingly, it has become apparent that others have a much better solution to work/life balance. This consists of a stuttering career with changes of job on a regular basis.
In return, those who are most talented in this area get paid significant sums frequently in return for relatively short periods of employment, prior to receiving a virtual bonus worth anything up to 12 months’ additional pay.
As far as I can see, this happy breed broadly falls into two very distinct categories.
These are the garden leavers and the undesirables who happily take money to leave a job that they could not do.
At one end of the scale come the highest of high achievers who could easily take significant amounts of business away from their erstwhile employers. Therefore when they hand in their notice to join a competitor, the original employer is happy to pay a ridiculous amount of money while they sit on the side-lines gardening, sunning themselves or enjoying their favourite leisure activity.
Their polar opposites are the hopeless cases who talk themselves into jobs that they are not capable of managing or, more cynically, that they cannot be bothered to do.
The dream scenario for these people is that they join a firm, just about make it through a probation period because everybody is too embarrassed to admit their recruitment disaster and then get fired or hand in their notice.
At that point, nobody is willing to be reminded of their mistakes so they receive a big, tax-free whack rather than working through their notice.
I must be doing something wrong because I have not received a single penny as pay in lieu of notice, nor has any employer put me on garden leave. If anybody has any tips as to how I can jump on to this lucrative bandwagon, they will be gratefully received.