The Hand of the Pink Slip

To me it seemed the most traumatizing experience I would ever face. But I guess I was simply being rather dramatic as a woman. Most of my friends who I told I had been retrenched almost didn’t look moved. Yes they were apologetic, but not moved to the extent that I would have liked them to be. The earth was shattering in my world but all I got was “eeeisssh, you’ll get another job, relax” Retrenchment has happened to many Kenyans in the work place, but the worst kind is where you are given no notice and you absolutely do not see it coming your way. That’s the kind I experienced, right at the beginning of December, the festive month! All I could muster in my mind was “Are they for real, ama I’m dreaming?” Oh they were for real alright.

We sometimes identify ourselves with our jobs or professions so much that we lose our selves. You define yourself by what you do or what title you have yet in a different thought line we are the same as any other human being.

It was definitely a hard battle, one which saw me jobless for about 8 months or so. I was lucky though to have gotten that time to simply meditate on other things about my life. There are a couple of things that I would like to share just in case you are going through this or you know someone who is going through this.

I think the most important is to simply allow yourself to grieve, if you must. Ok for men maybe not so much, they pretend to be hard core anyway so by the next day they have moved on. I would have liked that, but it wasn’t so. Grieving meant prayer, crying, chocolate and movies for a while.

What many need to realize is that when you lose a job you have sort of lost a part of who you thought you were. You are not defined by your job, there is surely much more to you than a mere 8 to 5 and if there isn’t you either haven’t realized what it is yet or you need some help. Yes we consume ourselves with work, but have a life aside from work.

The great thing about accepting the pink slip is that you now have a chance to do something you have always wanted to do such as go back to school or find a job in an industry you have always wanted to work in and for some they finally have a reason to start that business they have always known they would be good at. Grab your every opportunity with bells on and go with it because it is a life changing experience that may lead you where you least expect.

At the point where I got my next job I realized that a job is so easy to come and go. Blink of an eye, drop of a hat, that’s how fast it can all happen. I am now not too worried about the whole retrenchment scenario because it made me a tougher person, I think it’s now more of do I want to spend the rest of my life working so hard for someone else. If I can work this hard for someone else, imagine how much I can put into my own business. You should be thinking in the same light as well!

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  • Mwesh

    Naomie….i agree with you totally and thanks for shedding light on the not having a job…..i am sometimes scared….but this has been a consolation

  • Africangel

    I was retrenched while I was on maternity leave and everybody kept telling me, “Now you will have time for the baby”. Of course I wanted time for my baby, but not like that!!!. I was totally stressed out and lost my milk because of it. But later on I managed to see and appreciate that although a job is a good thing to have, one must always always always have a fall back plan. After staying home for a year I got a job that paid me one fifth of my previous salary. I must admit I cried a lot, I lost many friends and I made many new ones. Most of all, I came to understand the power of prayer. Now I have a good job but my heart does not beat fast everytime I hear “we might be retrenching”. I love my job, yes, but its not the centre of my life anymore.

  • Naomie

    @Mwesh, the truth is you don’t even realize how devastated you could be until it happens. Although for many people it never creeps up in their careers.
    @Africangel, you bosses were ruthless! When you lose a job, prayer becomes your new found way of venting, why lie, apart from the tears that is. However, family can only put up with tears for so long before your told “Eeish bana get a grip :)” I love that you said you love your job but it isn’t the center of your life anymore. Most people delude themselves that they are too good at their jobs and nothing can happen, but really, your replacement can appear in the blink of an eye!

  • Africangel

    @Naomie: LOL…. exactly where I was at that time, I had done all my calculations and thought I was too valuable and when the axe fell I was the first to go. Hubby got tired of my constant tears, I literally had to pull myself together all on my own, and that is when I discovered the power of prayer. I talked to God A WHOLE LOT. I cried on His shoulder because there was no-one else who could stand my Post partum depression along with job loss depression. It was definitely an eye-opener. And by the way, I still pray, a lot, still talk to God.. A WHOLE LOT, even now because I discovered then that He is indeed My Bestest Friend. The only one who does not tell me to get a grip. :-)

  • Naomie

    Woii i feel you girl! Anyway that was the past this is the now. Enyewe that is the time you realise its only God who can come through for you and in a big way! At the time, no ones even understands what you could be possibly going through but with time you get to see that even without the job we are all highly blessed and favoured!

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