You are fired!
  • Lack of foresight is the biggest mistake people make during employment
  • Maximise on savings, with a target every month
  • Have some inside and financial knowledge and set up a parallel income stream

David Kariuki, a financial consultant and the director of Assured Management Solutions Ltd has counselled hundreds of laid off staff. He explains what every employed person needs to be doing.

Build networks

Maintain a good professional rapport with everyone you come across, and actively seek to expand your network, to increase your visibility in your field and build a reputation.

Build credibility by following through on promises and commitments in time.

Also, build actual friendships by staying in touch rather than just cold networking and be diverse, looking even outside your field.

These people can come in very handy when you get retrenched.

Keep learning

Build on what you know by reading and taking courses in your profession and also diversify your abilities. Learn new skills, take new courses and keep learning.

No one is indispensable, but you can make yourself as close to that by being valuable to your organisation and if retrenched, being highly attractive and employable to others.  

Set up a parallel income stream

This is what people call hustling. Always have a side hustle as an extra source of income. This will cushion you in case you lose your job.

Do your research and have some kind of business that you can run on the side based on your interests, in a way that does not interfere with your main job.

The earlier you start, the better. If you start early, you don’t have to rush, and it gives you room to make mistakes and recover.

David Kariuki

However, when you start it with your retrenchment package, you can put up a business and it is gone within a year, leaving you in dire straits.

People with professional knowledge can also consider consultancy, whose overheads are not as high as starting a business.

Minimise overhead costs

If you can see retrenchment looming, change your lifestyle. If you are living in a heavily mortgaged house, your children are in expensive schools, you can move to an apartment building and rent your house to start making money and then take your children to more affordable schools.

 If you are not maximising your income, then you must minimise your cost of living. Your living standards need to change.

You cannot do things the same way you were doing them before.

Save and invest

Maximise on savings, with a target every month. Using these savings, you can invest especially in real estate, a market which hardly ever goes down. Think of buying land and buildings.

You can only invest if you are saving. Join a sacco, such as your work sacco where you save a certain percentage of your salary.

Tip: Always try to save at least a third of your salary.

 Watch for the signs

If you are keen and have some inside and financial knowledge of your company, you can foresee retrenchments.  

There are always signs before companies start retrenching. Commons ones are struggling to pay rent, delay of salaries, dwindling sales etc.  

The biggest overhead for any company is usually payroll, so that is the one they cut most.

Be realistic

Retrenchment means that a salary that was previously guaranteed is no longer there, so your lifestyle will be affected.

People usually don’t realise how bad it can be until they find themselves in that situation, and it leads to people giving up and sometimes committing suicide.

 Getting another job is very difficult nowadays, especially with young people coming from university who are willing to settle for peanuts that can’t sustain someone with dependents. Age is also usually a factor in determining who to employ.

 Insurance retrenchment cover

In other countries, having a retrenchment cover is a well-established practice but in Kenya, it is only offered by Barclays Bank.

The policy covers employees who have their payrolls processed through the bank. It would be something worth considering in these precarious times as it sets you up to feel less effect in case of a lay-off.

Have foresight

Lack of foresight is the biggest mistake people make. Retrenchment can happen to anyone who is in employment.

No job is permanent. Have a financial management mindset in order to prepare for any eventuality.

Get a financial consultant in order to up your financial management skills. Consider self-employment as much as possible so that you are the person controlling your financials.

Resist peer pressure

People want to live above their means in order to show off and match their peers’ standards.

This could be as simple as going to restaurants that, gauging by your salary and how much you need to save, should be out of your reach, to buying bad assets like expensive cars.

Resist this and instead, develop an investment and financial mind-set.