A few months ago, I found myself staring at an unexpected turn of events in my career journey.
My role at the BBC was declared redundant. I was roughly 8 months old at the organisation when the announcement was made. Sudden and unexpected. 5 months later I was shed off. It’s now two months since I left.
I’ve made a conscious decision: a hard one to talk about my redundancy journey. I’m now branding myself as a redundancy ambassador, its new poster child. Call me for those media interviews, forums and conferences, where you need someone to talk about redundancy. I’m a case study who’s found hope in the ashes…
The BBC said it was a financial decision, nothing to do with how I did my work. It felt like a door had been slammed on my face… but I’m forever grateful, privileged to have worked with amazing people and grow my skills and knowledge.
In the coming weeks, I will reflect on the shock, the frustrations, worry, the wounds; I live with a redundancy scar now, the never-ending job searches, the fatigue that follows. Acceptance, the feeling of possibility. This confidence to speak about it. Now, the sea has split for me to pass through it but what if it joins when I’m halfway there.
I will tell you what I have learned along the way. People will say: now focus on farming, start a business, you’re too young, at least you don’t have a family… phrases masquerading as encouragement. I think. Friends will tell you; God will provide, another door will open. They try, but it still leaves you scratching your head. Do you apply for roles or do you start a business?
I share my story because (in our country) when we’re made redundant, we feel shamefaced and humiliated. The ‘value’ it takes away from you. Truth be told, losing your job may profoundly affect your professional identity, status and importance. Bitange Ndemo wrote, “The day I left office, my phone ceased to ring. My friends had moved on… It is at this point that one must take control of the situation…”
A sobering article. It’s on the internet.
What do you do? They ask. I am a journalist, I say. Where do you work? … crickets… I’m freelancing. What gigs are you working on, where do you get published? Do you tell them? …
For me, YES, I openly speak about it secretly, to friends and a few people. And for the first time, on social media to people known and unknown.
If you can, please share this post. On your feeds, WhatsApp, wherever.
Again, it was a business decision, nothing to do with how I did my work. I never took it personally, never will, but there are specific thoughts that cross my mind regularly. I’ll talk about it.
GRASS WILL GROW.