First published in 2014
In year 2014 alone, several companies have closed shop or fired massive numbers of employees in Kenya.
- Tata Chemicals
- Cooperative Bank
In the Nyayo days, the IMF, World Bank and other international organizations would weigh in on the government to retrench civil servants as pre requisites for funding. The Uhuru administration is in the process of “firing” thousands of ghost workers.
Whether you are a ghost worker or a human worker, whether you are a civil servant or an employee of a blue chip company, no one’s job is secure.
I talked to the CEO of a blue chip company based in Nairobi sometime back and he confirmed that he was also afraid of being sacked. Let’s call him John. John substantiated his fears by saying that his company was merging with another company and he knew that some employees had to be laid off, starting with the senior management.
Hon Adan Duale put it candidly the other day, he said, “ hii si ya mama yako”…. It’s not your mothers business.
When I read in the papers yesterday that Cooperative Bank of Kenya was firing 160 employees, my heart went out to the many families that were dependent on the bank for their livelihoods. The severance package is good and for that I salute Dr.Gideon Muriuki the Managing Director for showing a human face especially pertaining the sacked employees outstanding loans.
That said, the reality is, this Christmas will not be all rosy for the hundreds of families, friends and colleagues whose last day in the bank is 22nd December 2014.
In 2012, I was in a similar state, I lost my job on 21st December after the firm I was working for decided to down size. Unlike Cooperative Bank, my employer was not human enough to pay my severance dues. I have learned to forgive and I have since moved on. I remember how hard it was to explain to my wife who had resigned from her employment the same day. That Christmas was a real time of reflection and soul searching.
Fast forward, today I know that a “real man” is the one who is able to offer security regardless of the season. I have since invested in various income generating projects that has reduced my dependence on a monthly salary.
What is your exit strategy?
For John, the CEO that I introduced to you earlier, his strategy is agri-business. He has since invested hundreds of thousands in his farm in the outskirts of Nairobi. Although the farm is not giving him an equivalent of his salary, he knows if he got fired today, his children will not sleep hungry.
Other exit strategies would include
- Use this year’s end of year bonus to reduce your loans.
- Do those professional exams or that Masters next year.
- Sell some of those plots in the “middle of no where“ and use that money to buy a plot in a better location where you can build your own house or some rental units.
- Use your talent to earn an extra coin.
- Reduce on your drinking and focus that money into investments.
- It is ok to use public transport.
- Take insurance.
Only two things are certain, death and taxes. Think about it.
Valuer Kariùki Wawerù