In the path of life, many milestones come our way. From graduation, to that time you get the first job, the time you get married, get a family but there is a milestone that shakes your wit and it’s an abrupt job loss.
Employment in Uganda is hard to come by. Every year universities churn out graduates. Online courses are becoming the order of the day and this isn’t matched by new companies coming up. In the government, employees work till they are 60 so one has to wait for decades to get that job they really want. The unemployment rate for young people ages 15–24 is 83%. This rate is even higher for those who have formal degrees and live in the urban area. This is due to the disconnect between the degree achieved and the vocational skills needed for the jobs that are in demand for workers. Informal sector work accounts for the majority of young workers in Uganda. 3.2% of youth work for waged employment, 90.9% work for informal employment, and 5.8% of the Ugandan youth are self-employed.
Many people find themselves in despair if laid off from their jobs as it’s not always easy to get another job. Joanna Akankwasa lost her job in an abrupt lay off of over 30 of the employees of a government parastatal in June 2014. “I was called from the office of Human resources that afternoon. We had been told by email that some of us would be laid off. I knew I had been affected. I felt like my world was crumbling when I was told the news. I wanted the ground to swallow me. I couldn’t believe that right that minute I was unemployed. I had worked at the same job for 6 years from university and I knew no other work place. The only thing that kept me alive was the few savings I had and the family support I got after. There are days I went hungry. I resorted to applying for online jobs because the cost of photocopying documents, the transport to the offices and the dresses to appear responsible enough. Only the thought of knowing I would probably be depressed forever and lose more than gain is what kept me together”.
Here are tips on how to cope such a catastrophe.
- Have a net work of friends and family.
Through this trying time, some people may not pick your phones because they aren’t true friends and they know you aren’t going to give them much but most probably take from them. Surround yourself with true friends and relatives that believe in you and remind you of your true worth.
2. Try to make your hobby into an income generating activity.
The education sector in Africa and Uganda in particular focuses so much on theoretical presentation of knowledge. They also focus on careers that will make you an employee and not an employer like medicine, Engineering leaving alone the arts like music, dance, writing and visual arts. Look for a way to make your hobby give you money. This will keep you busy and will also bring back the confidence that could have been eroded away by the whole experience you are going through.
3. Volunteer in an organization near your locality.
Most companies always could do with volunteers and this too will keep you occupied and active in the job world. Volunteering also exposes you to so many people and you can use it as a platform to meet new people which can lead you to your next job.
4. Join job connecting platforms.
Thanks to social media there are very many Facebook pages, websites and blogs and Google groups to get job openings. Buying news papers may be so costly but following online job platforms can be less costly. Don’t be afraid to tell people that you need a job so that they can link you up.
5.Look for the silver lining, dust yourself up.
So many times in life, when catastrophes happen, we often don’t look at the positive side of things. What lessons have you taken from the whole experience? What trait and virtue has this catastrophe sharpened? Has it made you more patient? Have you become more humble? Look at the good side and make it work for you in the next job that you get.
6. Rest, Sleep, Exercise and bond with family.
Life as an employee is so fast and predictable. Wake up, be at your desk at 8 am, go for lunch at 1pm, and leave office at 5 pm, year in and out. Using this time as a time to recuperate and be spontaneous can also be a good thing. Exercising helps the body to keep fit and when working, one never gets time to do a lot of it. One of the scarcest things when you are working is time, since you will be having time, spend it with family. Go visit that lost uncle, see the nephews and nieces, take the kids to school for a change, and I am sure you will learn a lot.
Losing a job sweeps away so much from someone in an instant. It’s also very wise to get closer to God. Joining church groups can be a good thing because they will continue to support you and keep you hopeful as you wait for your next break.