LIFE ADJUSTMENTS AND THE PAIN OF LOSING A JOB
They say losing a loved one through death is the most difficult things 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, 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 evidently struggling to walk in a smaller shoes size.
Our problem is in always wanting to look the part, yet our steady income is no more.
We 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.
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, in the line of duty, together, gotten 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 our first jobs and grown together for all those years – But then sh*t became real over some time… Luckily, I had very important strings to hold on to namely; a proper support system in friends, family, and a not-so-rossy past (my childhood), I still remain thankful for all these.
In the process, I made tough life choices, that included shelving my cherished plans; instead of my children staying out of school, I thought it wise to defer my own university studies, move from the mansion* I occupied to a smaller crib, and cut down greatly on luxuries.
Luckily again, I had already quit alcohol like 2 years before the chop, it was as though I had prepared myself!
Today, I am happy because of the tough 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” 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 the fun.
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.
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 our 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 once from a life full of luxuries to a scavenger for basic needs. Sometimes you may miss the little daily blessings you often took forgranted; you may miss clean running tap water, the smell of frying onions, burning gas, and a reduction in minutes spent under the hot water shower.
You appreciate things you never gave a damn about; random thoughts bombard your head; you might think of petitioning Safaricom to increase the number of “Please Call Me” texts, design appreciation certificates for inventors of “Okoa Jahazi”, “Okoa Stima” or “M-shwari” – 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 now. Adjust where necessary. Open up to those who can help. Do not fear what other people will say, coz nothing is permanent.
Just like mine, your comeback is nigh!
By Ustadh Okello