Job Loss: How to Get Back on Your Feet

In 2018, one of my friends fell into months of depression after he was laid off. He was the sole breadwinner of his family. There are no two ways about this, losing your job can be tough and traumatizing.

In 2016 alone, more than 10,000 employees in Kenya may have lost their jobs. Many companies jumped into the retrenchment bandwagon in a last-minute effort to turn around their performance.

The Kenyan Employment Act 2007, defines redundancy as the loss of a job or occupation through no fault of an employee, happening mostly where the services of the said employee are no longer needed. According to the Kenyan Labor Law on redundancy, the employer’s right to terminate employment on grounds of redundancy is provided for in the Employment Act, 2007.

Companies listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) shed more than 4,250 jobs in 2017 as a prolonged election stand-off saw most companies shrink their payrolls to protect their bottom lines. Retrieved, August 13, 2018, from

Let's take a little peek at why companies retrench their staff.


A company may decide to reorganize itself and change its management structure. This may mean running the business with fewer or no employees.


Where the role(s) of the employee in an organization cease or are no longer needed.


Where an employer ceases carrying on the business or moves it to another location.


This may be due to financial decline because of economic reasons and as a means to retain funds to continue operations.


Due to technological advancement, a company may need to reduce its workforce. More recently we have witnessed disruptive technology causing major job losses not only in Kenya but worldwide.

Truth be told, redundancy can be a horrible experience for anyone. You will find yourself in unknown territory. Uncertainty, without a doubt, looms over your future. Questions such as, how will I pay my rent, pay my children's school fees, cater for my medical needs, support my siblings...will be stuck in your mind and cause you sleepless nights.

However, there is life after redundancy. Below are a few tricks to make you get up, dust off, and move on.

1. Network

Work on your CV and hit the job market. Promote yourself relentlessly. Start networking and get recommendations from your previous employers. Apply for roles that you may be interested in and sharpen your interview skills.

2. Positive Attitude

Do not feel sorry for yourself, there is always something that you can do. As I mentioned earlier, redundancy is the loss of a job or occupation through no fault of an employee, which means that it was not your fault that you lost that job.

"Do not limit yourself to achieve more because of the boundaries you have set for yourself - you will miss the bigger picture of accomplishing the dreams you desire."

3. Sharpen your skills

This would be a blessing in disguise to allow you to sharpen your skills. Use this time to go for retraining or enroll in a course and read widely. If you feel that it is time to do something different, go for it. This may be the time to embrace self-employment that you have been postponing or a career change.

4. Emotional Closure

Recognize and accept your true feelings. Forgive if you must. Wallowing in self-pity, getting caught up in what-was and what-ifs, or engaging in other self-destructive behaviors is harmful to your health. Accept change and be ready to move on. Be honest with yourself about what you are feeling and, if needed, employ a healing process to reach closure before you begin setting up interviews. Learn how to manage your stress. Ask for help and support - and allow yourself to feel sad, then dust yourself and move on.

5. Budget

Once you have received your severance payment or incentive payment or payment in lieu of notice or any other payment, you will need to make a budget. Redundancy can give you a certain amount of freedom, but you may still need to adjust your spending habits. You will need to restrict your outgoings until you find a new job – and that means budgeting. A good starting point would be to divide outgoings into essential and non-essential items.

6. Re-evaluate your goals

This is the time to think about what you would like to do next. You can reconnect with your passions and interests. Look at your career goals and see if you will need to make any changes.

7. Take a Break

Take a break from all the pressures of life. Exercise more, start a blog, join a club, join a church choir, start painting, try some yoga and meditation...the list is endless. A good break will boost your creativity and productivity. This also reduces the chances of getting stress-related diseases. Chilling out is very important – but don’t relax for too long.

Redundancy is undeniably a challenging time - particularly if you didn't anticipate it - but try not to despair. It is possible to follow your dreams even after job loss. When shit hits the fan it is in your best interest to pick up the pieces and get going. It’s important to have a positive focus in the years ahead and not be put off by setbacks. Who knows what the future holds!

Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston in their song "When You Believe" say,

"There can be miracles When you believe Though hope is frail Its hard to kill

Who knows what miracles You can achieve When you believe somehow you will You will when you believe"

Be encouraged!

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