Life adjustments and the pain of losing a job

It took me time to accept the fact that a lot of what I enjoyed before were luxuries I could still do well without

With companies firing employees every waking day in the name of restructuring, you need a thick skin not to feel anxious. Many employees are not assured of their jobs. Over 10 companies listed at the Nairobi Stock Exchange have issued profit warnings and are expected to record either losses or significantly reduced earnings.

A Kenyan who was fired recently has shared how it felt to be sacked and the painful decisions he made which, to his delight, turned into happiness when he finally rejoined “the free world.” Here below is his thought-provoking piece the anonymous writer shared on Facebook:

They say losing a loved one through death is the most difficult thing to deal with in life, but I’m of the opinion losing a job ranks somewhere just behind it. I have been in both situations, and I know how it feels.

Many of us young employees suffer after the sack, because of denial; we’ve been born and brought up in a society that embraces less of honesty, and more of putting up a brave face, even in instances where we are struggling to walk in a smaller shoe.

Our problem is in always wanting to look the part, yet what was at one-time a steady income is no more.

You are not alone, as this happens to older members of our society too; those whose savings can sustain them through months and years of joblessness are also victims.

One thing we forget during this time though, must be the fact that luxuries remain a useless part of our lives – even when you can afford them – for one simple reason; you have nothing to replenish your coffers at that time.

Now, last year at a time like this, I had already lost my job. All I was waiting for between now and when my position was completely rendered redundant, were formalities like clearing with the various departmental heads, and processing of my final payout.

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Then boom! That day came, and I was let go. Between the formalities and when I was finally released to the ‘freelance world’, the gravity of my loss hadn’t sunk in yet. I hadn’t realised it was an election year full of uncertainties. It took me time to accept the fact that a lot of what I enjoyed before were luxuries I could still do well without. You see, I haven’t died!

The organisation I had sold my time to was tossing out almost a hundred of us (mostly below the age of 35). Many of us had known each other as colleagues, traversed the continent together enjoying its cuisines (in the line of duty), got married and or become parents while working for the same entity (since March 2009).

As a consequence of the above circumstances, there was this illusion all over my mind, and I believe many of my young colleagues’ too, that we would create this big, vibrant club for the jobless to continue checking on each other everyday. You know the camaraderie that comes with having met on your first jobs and grown together for all those years – But then sh*t became real over some time….

Making the painful cuts in life

Luckily, I had very important strings to hold on to. I had a proper support system in friends, family, and a not-so-rosy past (my childhood) that had given me a proper taste of what anyone would face, this is what saw me through all these turbulence. I still remain thankful to date.

Early enough in the process, I chose to make really tough life choices that included shelving my own cherished plans; Instead of liquidating my assets, I thought of other ways of mitigating against the effects of my loss. I decided to defer my own university studies, instead of my children staying out of school, move from the “mansion” I occupied to a smaller crib, and cut down greatly on luxuries.

Luckily again, I had voluntarily quit alcohol, like two years before the chop. It was as though I had prepared myself for that future!

You only triumph by making meaningful adjustments to your daily life now, such as forgoing certain habits and comforts.

Today, I am happy because of the tasteless decisions I made then, in making adjustments to my daily life. In fact, it is from that transition that I have come to realise how wasteful I was before.

I’m writing this because I personally know many who are either serving notices, already out of a job and have written enough applications to no avail or staring at a sack now.

It is also not like the “Biashara Guys” (businesspeople) have had a ‘Cinderella run’ since the last 3-4 years. No! They are struggling too. Things are tough on many young Kenyans today, even those with whom you dance and drink copious amounts of whisky everyday. Some are, in fact, hiding in that what you keep calling fun.

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Imagine only the tough ones like you and I can wade through such storms. However, you only triumph by deliberately committing to reducing the load, and by this I mean making meaningful adjustments to your daily life now; forgo certain habits and comforts immediately after you finish reading me.

Perhaps most importantly, you should open up to others on your problem. Lack of a job should be public almost like pregnancies are, so that those who can help you will know what applications or opportunities to throw your way.

Whether you have an extra mouth to feed or your only babies live inside you, it is still far from being the easiest of experiences to bear.

Therefore, don’t wait for it to humble you, because it often does so after stripping you of your dignity.

Ever wondered why some people have found life worthless? It’s not easy to tolerate falling at once, and with a thud, from a life full of luxuries to become a scavenger for basic needs.

Sometimes you may miss the little daily blessings you often took for granted; you may miss the comfort of a running water dispenser, the smell of frying onions, burning gas, the minutes spent under the hot water shower, taxi rides, and your favourite restaurant or beer brand. It’s not easy but imagine you have to do it.

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Losing a job might make you start appreciating the little things you never gave a damn about; this when random thoughts bombard your head; you might start thinking of petitioning Safaricom to increase the number of “Please Call Me” texts or resolve to design appreciation certificates for inventors of “Okoa Jahazi”, “Okoa Stima” or “M-shwari” services when you get stable. And when things get really tough, you may end up hating everything, including swallowing your own saliva.

Therefore chin up. Plan the little you have today. Adjust where necessary. Open up to those who can help. Do not fear what other people will say, because nothing under the sun is permanent.

Just like mine, your comeback is nigh!

NEXT: 10 things about money you should know while in your 20’s

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