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Why a sack should not dampen your prospects

By Winsley Masese | February 27th 2015

Kenya: The words, reorganisation, restructuring, job reviews and evaluation sound scary and intimidating in the work place. The company’s top management will justify them by citing the need to improve efficiency, profitability, growth among other bottom-line benefits.

During harsh economic times, restructuring becomes inevitable. The reality is that some employees have to go. Finding yourself jobless and broke can be trying for your career life and family. Some people get traumatised.

Elisabeth Muthoni, a Nairobi-based human resource practitioner says most employees create a comfort zone once they land that coveted job. “However, they are rattled of an impending reorganisation which in most cases result in some employees going home,” she argues.

However, this should not dampen your career growth prospects. Encourage yourself to get into a self-reflecting and rediscovery mode. “During one’s short working life, you rediscover what your true passion and worth is. It is time to start working and building on the same,” she advises. Muthoni argues that it never helps getting depressed. You ought to take concise steps to build on a new career path, assisted by experience and relationships.

To get you where you want to be takes careful planning. This is by honing your skills and experience. “Take some time and see where your current skills and experience can fit. Enhance your career prospects and this way, you will overcome the challenges along the way,” she advises.

Shoulder injury

Late last year, BBC Sport’s Ben Dirs wrote of Richard Parks trying moments after he left his rugby playing career, at 31, due to a shoulder injury. “Pull down the duvet and what do you see? A floor? A ceiling? Four white walls closing in like a snowstorm? No horizons when you’re stuck down a crevasse,” Dirs writes.

Look a little harder and you might be able to decipher the outline of a new direction; towards a new relationship, a better job, a worthier challenge, the top of Everest - a metaphorical advise. Parks who went on to climb Everest, Kilimanjaro, and reached the North and South Poles tells Dirs, “In isolation, reflecting and self-analysis can be a very difficult thing - but very enlightening as well.”

Charles Otieno, a Nairobi based human resource consultant who once faced the sack says one needs to accept what has happened and train in new fields, just the way Parks discovered. Otieno argues that when jobless, you become irrelevant if you do not get competitive in the new field. He, however, observes that the skills you have been using but were declared redundant can find some meaningful place in other companies. They will help you achieve different outcomes. “You must have self-realisation that is based on an assessment of competencies rather than career buzz words,” Otieno advises.


And if you have read Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese, you try hard not to fit into the allegorical description of either Hem or Haw, the little people. Perhaps, you were ambitious and went from company to company in search of employment. But the minute you landed at one, you rested on your laurels. You have never bothered to go beyond Station C in search of a variety of cheese.

Unlike Hem and Haw Sniff and Scurry went beyond and discovered Station N, where there is abundance of cheese and a variety they had never tasted before. Perhaps, you never realised that the cheese was dwindling and are surprised at the turn of events.

As Johnson points out, what keeps workers from advancing their careers beyond station C is fear and worries of the unknown, as is better portrayed by Hem.

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