George Mulala Kenyan Photographer www.businesstoday.co.ke
George Mulala a photojournalist, says when your employer decides to axe you, nothing, not even the sacrifices that made you neglect your family, will mitigate. [ Photo / Facebook ]

Mediamax Networks Ltd media company has just sent home a huge number of employees. Poleni sana. But I want to take this opportunity to ask you not to take this redundancy personal. I’ts not a rejection.

Mediamax hasn’t weighed you and found you wanting. It’s not a statement of your performance. Look at it from the point of view that it cannot afford your services anymore.

In 2002, I was made redundant by Reuters. My detractors ran around Nairobi gossiping about I being a non-performer. The company itself mumbled incoherently about why it was sending me home. Shortly, those who were laughing at me followed me out. Cashflow issues.

I left a legacy not many will beat and my belief in myself as a good photojournalist was not shaken. I moved to Nation Media Group (NMG) and later The Standard where I served and left at my own pleasure in 2015. I am still a good photojournalist and next year, I will return, perhaps as an employer…inshallah.

In my tribulations, I learned that companies have no soul. I learned not to fall in love with my employer. I learned to fall in love with my career. Today, you can be working for Microsoft and tomorrow be employed at Marigiti.

I learned that companies are not people. I learned never to sacrifice the joy of my family to please the employer. Employers come and go, you have but one family. When your employer must fire you, nothing, not even those sacrifices that made you neglect your family, will mitigate.

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I learned that everyone, even the CEO of any firm is dispensable. I worked with great editors-in-chief and witnessed many get kicked out unceremoniously. Some, shamefully frogmarched out by security men like common toilet paper thieves.

In my tribulations, I learned that companies have no soul. I learned not to fall in love with my employer.

George Mulala

I learned that sometimes to get rid of you, the employer can kick you out so hard it breaks your spirit. And they don’t care. Reuters almost broke mine.

Always, and always remember this is a job. It’s not a relationship. Always look at the possibility of changing your job before the company gets rid of you.

I learned not to be comfortable: Be involved in your industry. Notice trends. Notice when your company doesn’t pay dividends three years in a row. Or when it’s opening new branches all over or launching new products left right and centre.

For my MM colleagues, the need for media is still there. Companies need journalists to write good stories about them. Or take good photographs. But media positions as we know them today are becoming extinct. Things change. Be part of that change.

Cry a little, if you must. Dust yourself and get back up on that horse as soon as possible. Spend as little time as possible mourning. For time and tide wait for no man.

It’s nothing personal.

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About the Author

George Mulala is a Kenyan photographer based in Washington, USA.

1 comment

  1. Mr. Mulala, with all due respect get your facts right before purporting to advice media practitioners in Kenya. It’s not about taking this redundancy personal, but holding accountable employers to adhere to Labour laws. I believe that when Reuters declared you redundant, they quickly dispensed your dues. Did they say they will pay you in installments of 3 years? Did they maliciously try to hold your pension because you fought for your right in court to receive 3 months salaries duly earned? I think not, Your experience is yours, it is not what former Mediamax staff are going through right now. We are fighting so that never ever again will a journalist or any other employee be victimized about their salaries and dues. We are okay with the redundancy, We know great things are ahead, because that’s life. It changes.

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