Be inspired by the story of these Kenyans: How they found their footing after job loss - Evewoman
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Be inspired by the story of these Kenyans: How they found their footing after job loss

(From Left) Ann Ngugi, Paul Mutie and Elizabeth Mkamachi               Photo: Courtesy

In the past few months, companies have been forced to downsize in order to remain afloat amid hard economic times.

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There’s a likelihood the trend will continue next year if the economic forecast figures are anything to go by.

Families are feeling the heat as the cost of living continues to rise. Losing a job is one of the most stressful things you can experience and can easily push one into a depression.

Families have broken, people have lost hope and in extreme circumstances, there are those who have committed suicide when times become lean.

How does it feel to lose a job that you wholly depend on? What challenges do people in such difficult situations face and how do they cope?

What do they do and how do they recover? Eve Woman sat down with five Kenyans who have been there, done that but chose to keep hope alive.

PAUL MUTIE

I was in love once. That relationship ended up costing me my peace of mind as well as my job.

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How? You may ask. I was set to officially hold a wedding with the lady in March 2014. But as customs required I needed to pay dowry – through a series of meetings between our families.

But I didn't have the amount that was being asked of me. That seemed to rub the girl's family the wrong way and as a result they yanked her away from me. In fact, from what ensued, it was made clear to me that the girl was not going to be mine.

I went into psychological trauma [depression] and even had to be hospitalized. I couldn't show up at work as a result and ended up being fired. I know it sounds weird – losing a job because of a girl! It did happen to me though.

I got a new job in November 2015. But before then there was hardship upon hardship. I couldn't pay rent and fend for myself. I moved in with an uncle and depended on friends to bail me out with the little things that turn the wheel of life.

But I didn't despair. When I recuperated and came to terms with my situation I began hunting for a job. That long and tedious process led to the job I hold now. Well, there is a friend who assisted where it mattered – submitting my CV for an opening he had seen.

Such experiences change how we view life. As for me, I am a better person today. What does not kill you makes you stronger.

Paul Mutie                                                                                    Photo: Courtesy

JOSAYA MAVEKE (GIANT)

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There is a Swahili saying that goes, 'He who wants to chase you does not tell you 'leave''.

That is exactly how I felt at my previous employer. I was experiencing hardships performing. There were misunderstandings. I couldn't stay much longer and decided to throw in the towel.

For nearly three months I had no job and no earning to my name. Of course that is an unsettling prospect living in Nairobi.

Before leaving I had always thought of starting my own company. But I didn't have the money or the clout. What I had was an impetus to have my business up and running.

I crafted the idea and lay the ground for my own events company. I carried my office in my briefcase – literally. I knocked on doors and called the people I knew.

That was in 2013. It has been an epic three years. I believe I am still growing: the worst has passed.

Looking back I realize that had I continued to work at my former employer right now I wouldn't have taken the milestones. I have become better and more mature in the business as I make inroads.

Thanks to many referrals and clients who were willing to take 'the gamble' with me I have managed to turn a sad situation into a turning point in my life. It looked like a loss back then but it doesn't right now.

Josaya Maveke                                                                                Photo: Courtesy

ANN NGUGI

Early in 2013 I got offered a new job. This new job came with new perks and a way better salary. I had been covertly approached by agents of the TV station that wanted my services who convinced me that I had a future with them.

It was a huge decision for me to make. I dithered on it and contemplated do much. A day before the deadline to pick the offer I lurched on it and trusted my instincts. That is how I left behind 13 years of work at my former employer.

At my new work place things fell into place as soon as I arrived. All was well but that didn't last for long. Six months into the job, a month before, it was announced that my new employer was restructuring and that some roles would be declared redundant.

Since I was a new employee, 'poached' from a competitor – like we say in the media – I thought of my job safe. Why would they fire me after plucking me from where I was?

As far as I was concerned I wouldn't be in the list. Only that I was actually in the list.

It was not a nice thing to go through. Not in the least because I was 5 months pregnant with my twins. I remember my doctor asking, between losing the job and losing my twins, which was better.

With the job loss we couldn't afford to pay rent at Hurlingham – where we had moved. So, we moved back to a house that cost modestly, in South C.

My husband had bought me a Mercedes Benz as a gift and we had to sell it: not because we couldn't buy food but because it was expensive to maintain it and we could do with the money.

We even used public transport at times instead of driving to minimize the costs. I lost friends. During such times you really get to know who is a true friend and who is just faking it.

On the upside though, the three years I have been out in the cold, I discovered that I can sing and so can my daughter. I also learnt that I am pretty good at motivational speaking. And I also got close to God.

I have just begun a new job at an upcoming TV station as the head of news. It has been tough; and I have had a push and shove with God. We have a better relationship now and I am at a better place.

Anne Ngugi                                                                               Photo: Courtesy

ELIZABETH MKAMACHI

I lost my job in November 2014 due to restructuring. My role was declared redundant after more than 4 years of dedicated output.

I stayed out of employment for eight months. I was very active and keen in looking for a job. I was invited for a number of job interviews which resulted to some offers but I declined since most of the jobs couldn't match my offer.

I wasn't in a rush to accept something just because I didn't have employment. I accepted the sack and was at peace with it. But it was difficult at first living without a salary.

My first action was to cut down on expenses. I moved to a cheaper and house and chose to use public transport as opposed to using my car. I drastically reduced the number of times I went out and some friends walked away.

I started a poultry farming project back home – to keep me going.

I got closer to my family and God. I learnt the importance of family.

To add salt on injury my house got raided by thugs who took away all my hard-earned electronics. I cried but with time healed from the trauma.

I got over the challenges by staying positive in faith. The experience has given me skills and discipline on financial management.

I got a new job and went back to work. Looking back, I don't regret it. I found a better job with better terms. I'm happier now.

Elizabeth Mkamachi                                                                   Photo: Courtesy

ANNE GICHUKI

After graduating from the university I got a job with a bank. I was happy for it; it would be a stepping stone to get me where I wanted to be.

But then at some point I noticed that I was never going to make headway. The truth is I needed better and I was being treated like I didn't deserve it. The long and short of it is that I was forced out.

Being jobless does not really hit you until end month comes and there is no pay. In my case it was even more challenging because I had a baby.

We relied on my husband's earnings through that time but having two salaries was a much better situation. We still needed that job, and for my sake, I needed something to put my skills to. I needed to be productive and not depend on my husband's salary alone.

So, I set out on a fierce job hunting mission. It was so frustrating because nothing was forthcoming. One time I spent a whole day roaming all over industrial area – looking for openings.

But I stayed positive amid the turmoil. I attended and learnt from career meetings. Here is what I learnt during that time: that the most successful people are the ones running their own businesses.

I went back to the drawing board. I decided that my husband and I could actually run a business of our own. Since he is employed I became the managing director of Lean Ventures Air-conditioning.

Sometimes life forces you to think outside the box. It is never a beautiful experience but at the end of it, when you find your space, you will be contented.

Anne Gichuki                                                                             Photo: Courtesy

 

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