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Help! I lost my job

by Evalyne Ndanu
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Covid 19 has seen very many people lose their jobs, experience pay cuts and grapple to adjust to working remotely. Unemployment has been there even before Covid19 showed up. Unemployment is a crippling situation to the economy and especially to the directly affected individuals. ‘I lost my job’, is a statement that we have heard all so often. What can be done especially in this fast paced economy and society to help people in this situation?

1. Don’t sit around depressed.
Losing your job can definitely throw you off balance. Whether expected or not, it is definitely a shock. Shocks require time to process. Losing a job is not the end of life. It’s okay to take some time to internalize all what is happening. However don’t stay down for too long. The world is still moving on. In a trice, fresh bills will be presented to you. Mourn and cry if necessary but rise up, dust off and lift your head once more.  Before you become bamboozled by depression and wallow in self-pity, Pick yourself up and cheer up. This too shall come to pass.

2. Reevaluate your budget.
It is definitely time to redraw your financial plan. The comfort that came with having constant revenue flowing in is no longer there. Go back to the drawing board and look at things that you can cut off. If you have the three basic needs, you are way better of than you think. Try to cut back on the entertainment, cosmetics and luxuries. Scrutinize expenses and weigh them against the finances you have.

3. Cancel or lower subscriptions.
There are subscriptions that you can bear to live without. For example if you have subscribed to Netflix. Perhaps it’s time to experience how life is without it for some time. You may discover a new hobby in reading books. If you have subscribed to a Dstv package that allows you access to all the channels, you can consider going for a lower subscription in terms of price. The amount you save by cancelling or going for lower priced subscriptions can be used for other needs, for example food bills. Again you are not obligated to do this. It is a suggestion.

4. Live below your means.
If you were living alone and paying monthly rent while employed, there is need to strategize. Especially if your savings are not going to help you settle your bills say for the next 6 months to 1 year. There are options to explore here. For example moving to a cheaper house that you can afford to pay rent for using your savings for roughly 6 months. You can also move in with a friend and cost share. Alternatively, move back to your parents’ house if that’s an option on the table.  This will help cut your rent money and go a long way in helping you to live below your means.

5. Sell unwanted stuff.
Check around you and identify unwanted stuff. Stuff that you could do without. Consider selling these stuff. You can sell either to friends, family or shops. Don’t be discouraged by the small amounts you may get. It is the one plus one that eventually makes a difference. Selling unwanted stuff will also reduce clutter in your house, you will have more breathable space to be and to move around. Eventually you realize that little is still much.

6. Side hustle.
At the minimum, having a smartphone is an asset. There are businesses and people that could pay you to share their products and advertise their businesses by posting on your social media for example WhatsApp status, Facebook stories, Twitter and Instagram stories. Don’t despise the humble beginnings, it may not bring you a lot for a start but it is definitely better than nothing. If you can cook something, cook it and collaborate with Glovo to sell through their platform. If you can teach something, look into it as well. Of importance is to put your hands on something.

7. Contribute to open source projects.
This is especially for people in the technology field. Employers are normally on the lookout in the open source space. It could be the place where potential employers spot you. Now that you have some more time in your hands, You can explore on how to contribute to open source projects. Identify something that interests you and that aligns with your skills and knowledge and begin adding value. We all are in need of someone that can add value and solve problems. Begin doing that in the open source space and keep your mind and options open.

8. Invest in your personal development.
One thing you may have in abundance currently is time. If there is something that you may have desired to learn when you were very busy, now is the time. In this digital era, most of what we are searching for is only a click of a button away. Learn a new programming language, learn design, create some logos, create a website for yourself and update it with your portfolio. Include projects that you have worked on, GitHub profile, thesis and publications that you have contributed to. Rebrand yourself. You may be amazed when you discover that losing a job was a means to self rediscovery. ‘A Blessing in disguise’

9. Freelance.
Perhaps it time to get into the freelance space. There are several freelance websites. For example, kuhustle, Upwork, fiverr, etc. Identify the skills you have and that you can offer. Be patient as well with yourself. It takes time to grow a profile on freelance sites. It requires patience and consistency. Don’t be disappointed when it is taking time to build a profile, instead be encouraged.

You can have a look at where to search for jobs.

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