Over the last couple of years, the people who have been turned away from their jobs as the Kenyan economy suffers has risen exponentially.
From banks, to hospitals, to media companies and manufacturers, job losses have become the norm as companies resort to the only way to remain profitable, cutting costs and moving digital.
This has proven such a big disruption on the otherwise comfortable lives of the blue collar workers who are used to a salary each month.
Dismissal throws workers into the deep end and they struggle to cope with family and status since currently most household are being supported by a sole breadwinner. It can usually mean breaking up of family , frustration and finally depression and alcoholism or even suicides.
It is no wonder that companies are now offering to give free counselling to the workers it has laid off in a bid to help them absorb the shock.
However, you can survive this trauma with the right mind and as they say, victory loves preparation.
In fact, true to the Njaanuary tales, Kenyans usually burn through their incomes before the end to each month. The Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation, found out that only 3.2 per cent of Kenyans have more than Sh100,000 in their accounts.
“As at November 2017, the KDIC coverage level was at Sh268.1 Billion with 46.6 million accounts fully covered. This translates to 96.8 per cent of total number of accounts covered,” CS treasury Henry Rotich said in the recent budget proposals.
So when the news comes that you no longer have access to the glass skyscraper that has been your second home for years, with no savings you will need to think fast.
Don’t Burn Bridges
A flurry of emotions may be the first thing that flows into your head as the decision comes with surprise after much suspense and rumours as to who will face the axe. It’s not uncommon to feel anger toward the company and certain employees.
Try not to talk when angry and never bad-mouth a former employee or employer especially online which never forgets. That small sense of satisfaction from dissing a former company will ultimately be outweighed if it costs you a future job.
It may also help to maintain bonds with your former colleagues who could easily be your referees and may even help drop some openings. The employees who are nowadays clustered in WhatsApp groups will come in handy in giving support, financial advise and giving you hope although it can sometimes sound awkward.
After being fired, aim for next, not best as you try to figure out which direction to go to. A lot of the people get stuck trying to go off on some vision quest when they lose their job. Forget that. Get your next job.
Being stuck up to a career that pays as good as your last one or trying to stay in the same career can be associated with ego, you need to strip that and assume this is your first day out of college going into internship. Anything will do.
However while you are between jobs, you have time to clear your mind and plan your rebound. While you may feel that your future is uncertain, it’s important to realize that getting fired is not the end of your career.
Your lifestyle will also have to change, you must adjust it to your new realities or the bills will come up fast and drown you.
You can start mentally preparing for such a situation as Stoics suggested we take time off to practice worst-case scenarios. We should, for example, mark out a week, a year where we eat only stale bread and sleep on the kitchen floor with only one blanket, so we stop being so squeamish about being sacked or imprisoned.
But most importantly save up at least a month extra salary so that you can always have some sort of flexibility. Ideally you should save up three months of your salary at any given point, take up employment insurance and if this sums up with your exit package, then you can last over a year on an adjusted budget while you get back on your feet.
The most important thing to remember is that everyone is dispensable. Never get too comfortable on your job and always have a contingency plan.
Plus invest in your early years of employment so that you may have a fall back business which you can take full throttle or at least an idea of how to run a business, lest you risk burning all your savings and exit package on quick fix quail businesses.