Retrenchment can be the start of a new career
THERE is life after retrenchment, but don't expect opportunities just to fall into your lap.
When Durban mother and son, Pearl and Greg de Beyer, were simultaneously retrenched from a radiator manufacturing company two years ago, they looked at the bright side of unemployment and leapt into the world of small business.
Greg de Beyer, 40, had worked for the company for 18 years, while Pearl, 68, was one of the founder members when the original business was established in 1976.
Within days of his retrenchment Greg invested his retrenchment payout - the equivalent of three months' salary - in a digital printer and established the printing company Cyber Arts in his kitchen.
Going against conventional wisdom, he also cashed in his pension fund so that he could pay for the printer in cash.
"I wanted to be completely debt-free so I used my retrenchment package and pension fund to pay cash for the printer," says Greg, who hastens to add that he is now in the process of setting up a new retirement policy.
"Walking onto the street knowing that you're not going to receive a salary at the end of the month was the most terrifying day of my life.
"I couldn't afford to waste time," he says.
The mother-and-son team started building their client base by providing printing solutions for the design and advertising industry.
Now, less than two years later, the printing business has taken over Greg's lounge, hallway and a bedroom.
"I think this will turn out to be the best decision we've ever made," says Greg.
Mother and son have no regrets about going into business together. While Greg designs and prints, Pearl does the administrative work and deliveries.
"We've always been an excellent team. I think it's because we think alike," says Pearl.
While he admits it was a struggle at first, Greg says there are numerous advantages in running a business from home.
Aside from being available 24 hours a day seven days a week, he can now spend more time with his family.
Think carefully before you cash in your pension fund to invest in a new business venture. Statistics show that many of these businesses fail because the owner overpaid for the business or bought a business in an industry he knew little about.
Dina Seeger Top of page