In today’s Kenya tough economy, there is nothing as emotional as losing a job, especially for a young person like me, it is just devastating. I had finally learnt how to handle money, planned how life would be, and upgraded my personal items like my phone, the way I dress and the places I go to eat. I will tell you one thing, it was just heavenly having known you had a stable job, and at the end of the month, there was money to be spent after four weeks of tirelessly working.
When things are going well, you barely or seldom think of ever hearing the word being fired, or retrenched, or downsizing. Those words are like taboo words in your mind, a bitter pill to swallow. An emotional web will mesh in your head, as certain things like loss of income, uncertainty about life and worrying about what next becomes a reality.
During this period, you might even get depressed and this may happen for many because of the uncertainty. But sometimes you have to get a light bulb moment and you will realise that life continues after you lose a job.
There is just one thing you might avoid once you go to visit the HR office, don’t make a scene at their office, be calm and collected, even though you hold internal grudges, and try to put a smile on. Making a scene is burning bridges with people at your former workplace. It also helps because if there are possible future openings that might suit you if you left with grace then you can always go back.
So, how do you cope with this unfortunate situation?
Going through a layoff is like going through the loss of a loved one and you will experience episodes of denial, anger, grief and acceptance. Here are a few tips on how you can overcome this period.
• Handle your emotions
It is perfectly normal to emotionally respond
Denial: “Why is this happening to me?” Anger: “How could they fire me, after all the effort I put into the success of the company?” Bargaining: “probably they made a mistake? Acceptance: “this is the beginning of something new”
Allow yourself to grieve, even if it is for a few days or a week; don’t sulk for too long though. After a while, pull yourself together and stop dwelling on the problem.
• Mind conference Mode
This involves reflecting a little bit on the life experience, taking this time to look at the mistakes you may have made at the workplace and making sure that if you get another job you don’t repeat them. Look at what you are good at, and see what else you can start doing for the time being.
• Start looking at your priorities
This involves looking into your finances, due to the fact that you will no longer get an income at the end of the month, prioritise what to sort out first, like your monthly rent, your insurance, and any bank debts or loans you may have borrowed to avoid them from repossessing any of your property. This assists you preserve any money you may have and avoid overspending it.
• Talk to people
This involves accepting the situation and talking to people you know who may assist you get a heads-up on any job openings there might be. Get into networking social functions, talk to influential people and tell them that you are job hunting, give out your contacts and be hopeful. Talk to your family and friends and tell them you are back to job hunting.
• Move on
Despite the fact you will have told people you are looking for job, don’t relax expecting people to sort you out fast. Start to look for something to do in the meantime, it can be volunteering, or small jobs to get some income. Think about starting your own small entrepreneurship venture.
• Have the right mindset
Keep all your official clothes ready and have your positive attitude ready for job interviews which you may get called for. Keep reading and be prepared.
It is quite hard to believe that you might lose a job, especially the one you love. If you go through such a hard time, just take it easy, and just realize it is not the end of life, but know that with time, some things happen for a reason, and something better is ahead of you. I know it will because this is my story.