When you lose a job during trying times

Friday June 5 2020

Utilise the time available to networ

Utilise the time available to network with peers, search for scolarships or jobs online. 

By ESTHER OLUKA

Imagine losing a job right now, in these very difficult trying times? Difficult times because of a number of reasons. First, the country and the rest of the world is dealing with the coronavirus, a pandemic that is causing great havoc and instability. Secondly, life today for many people is not what it was like before the outbreak of the pandemic.

And thirdly, a number of organisations have also temporarily freezed their recruitment process. So, imagine losing a job with all these factors combined into perspective. What do you do?
Reach out to others
Here is what James Omoding, 28, did. After being laid off in March as a waiter, Omoding went back home and thought of what to do next after his services were terminated by one of the hotels in Kampala.

“I decided to reach out to a few friends and told them what had happened. At the same time, I told them that in case they heard of any opportunities, they notify me,” Omoding says.

Omoding has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. However, after many years of applying for job (affiliated to the course) and failing to get one, he opted to do other jobs outside his qualifications. This is as he continues with the application process. He previously worked as a driver.

Recently, one of Omoding’s friends who runs a wholesale business (dealing in different household items) called him up availing the opportunity to help run the business.

“He was one of the people I called after I lost my job. About two weeks later, he reached out to me with this offer of working at his shop,” he says, adding: “Of course I said yes. It is better than sitting home and at least, I am earning something.”

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Omoding advises anyone who has lost a job during such times to reach out to other people rather than keeping quiet. You never know? There’s no shame in telling others you are searching for something to do, Omoding says.
Keep applying for other jobs
It is a matter of fact that a number of companies have temporarily halted hiring. Regardless, some organisations are looking for new employees.

“For those who have lost jobs during these Covid-19 times. Don’t lose hope. Keep your eyes open. Continue looking for new opportunities in newspapers and online job searching websites,” Josephine Asiimwe, a teacher and career coach, says, adding, “Who knows, you may come across a job opportunity worth applying for.”

And as you embark on the application process, Asiimwe advises one to remain positive and optimistic, no matter what happens. If you apply and are not called or considered for the role, don’t give up. Keep looking out for opportunities and applying for them. Opportunities come even after several failed tempts.

Develop a set of new skills
Let the job loss become a blessing in disguise for you. Rather than blaming yourself with so much guilt, you could utilise the time to either improve or nurture a set of new skills.

These could become very helpful in the near future. For instance, you could learn how to bake, cook a certain dish, swim, among other things. Joseph Okot, who lost his job recently as a supervisor at one of the hotels, says he is utlising this period to improve his photography skills. “I have always had a passion for photography and I opted to utilise the lockdown to walk around not only to take pictures but also do some videos,” he says.

Okot hopes to venture into self-employment by opening up his own photo studio in the near future.
Reflect and re-strategise
If you have lost a job during this time, you could reflect on a number of things including the different aspects about your previous job, says Asiimwe.

“Look at things like, did you really love your previous job? Was it a job you really wanted to do? Was it worth the effort and time? Were there opportunities for promotion?” Asiimwe says.

In case you did a self-assessment and realised that after all, this was a job that you never really enjoyed doing (but was doing anyway to pay bills), Asiimwe says then there is no need to feel bad.

“Utilise this season then to restrategise and look for an occupation you love doing instead,” she says.
You could start by revamping your Curriculum Vitae so that when a job opportunity you like surfaces, you are better prepared.

Other ways
Useful ideas after job loss
- Read knowledge enriching books. These could be self-help books or ones on career.
-Network with others online. There are a number of ongoing webinar (events held on the internet) sessions on different trending topics.
- In case you are planning on returning back to school, look out for scholarships and fellowships opportunities on different websites and apply.

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