Author and personal finance coach, Usiere Uko, writes on how to move on after losing a job
I am dedicating this article to those who have lost their jobs and those who are yet to lose their jobs but praying that this ‘cup’ passes them by. Everything that has a beginning has an end. Sometimes, the end comes when we are least prepared. I wrote a series of articles about getting prepared before you quit or lose your job, and the reason why we are achieving financial independence is more important than planning for retirement (though you need both) – as you may lose your job before you are due for retirement, and if you are in the wrong career, you need to get on the right lane rather than wait until you are retired.
After all is said and done, no matter how much you prepared, you still feel fear and apprehension when the day finally comes. After becoming addicted to a monthly salary, you experience anxiety the first time you realise you will be getting no credit alert this month end. If you are on pension, what you get may be a much slimmer version of your regular salary.
If you just lost your job, a lot of things will be going through your mind, ranging from anger, resentment, feeling of betrayal, apprehension, fear etc. This is not the right time to make a decision. This is the time to get away. You need a change of environment. Go somewhere to clear your mind. While travelling abroad will work nicely, you may not be in the best position financially to undertake such a project. You can travel back to the village, visit a friend out of town, go somewhere you can breathe fresh air and forget about the hustle and bustle of the city, take your mind off things for a while.
Free at last!
Your mind may be focused on doom and gloom, it may not dawn on you that you are free at last. Your options are now unlimited. You can take off in any direction you desire, without having to take permission from your boss or take some days off your annual vacation. You can do that thing you always desired to do one of these days, when you have the time. One of these days is finally here. You now have the time. You can go for that training, learn that skill, visit that place, volunteer in that organisation, go on a road trip, stop existing and start living.
You are where many people dream of being, but are not bold enough to make the move. You have a choice to pursue another career, look for another job, start your business, go into ministry or join an NGO, your options are limitless. You are also free to look after your health, eat healthy, embrace an active lifestyle and regain your vitality. You can now see how daylight looks like around your neighbourhood during the week, spend more time with your spouse and children, design your lifestyle rather than wrap your life around your job.
You shall not die
Losing your job will not kill you, especially if you have a dream and a life outside of your job. You cannot achieve anything worthwhile in life unless you take a risk and jump. You can either jump by yourself or get pushed. More often than not, when you take a jump, the parachute does not open immediately. You may fall sharply for a season and experience things that scare the living daylights out of you. The good news is that you will touch down sometime. This jump will not kill you.
Anytime I escort my children to take rides like a roller coaster, I check the safety aspect. I find out how many people have died taking that ride. If I find out nobody has died, then I am in. It gets pretty scary when it comes down sharply. You feel a sinking feeling at the pit of your stomach. I keep reminding myself that it will not kill me hence I focus on the fun rather than the fear.
One way of thinking that helps me through tough times, in addition to my faith, is referred to as back from the future thinking. I think past the present into the future. I see myself overcome the challenge and move on to greater things. I think five, 10 years ahead. I also think back in the past, of similar situations God saw me through. In the Bible, it is encapsulated in the phrase ‘and it came to pass…’ I believe there is an equivalent in the Quran. I become encouraged and fully confident that this too shall pass.
I have come to realise that tough times don’t last forever but tough people keep rising higher. I have been stranded before in practically every sense of the word – physically, financially, socially, you name it and I am still here. I become a better person after each episode. Pain is the crucible or furnace that purifies us as gold. You either come out better or bitter. This too, shall pass.
Don’t put your gratuity in risky investments
If you are yet to achieve financial independence, invest your gratuity in fixed income money market vehicles so as to have a relatively stable cash flow to support you while you dream of becoming a millionaire. Ensure that you have enough fixed income to support your family before you dabble in risky investments. Don’t give your money to other people to manage for you. Deal directly with the investment house yourself. Beware of folks that offer to help you invest your money. While some may mean well, many have lived to regret it.
Beware of investments that promised returns much higher than the money. If someone promises to double your money in one year, look for the exit. Don’t allow greed for gain land you in a pit. This is not the time to trust people, no matter how much you respect them. Don’t try to get high returns from money you cannot afford to lose. Don’t gamble with your ‘last card’.
If your pension is part of your monthly cash flow, develop a backup plan. It may not be there forever. Don’t go to sleep thinking you have pension for life. It is better to be safe than sorry.
You are going to be okay. You may experience bumps and bruises. That is pretty normal. You are not the only one to go through this. Achieving great things after losing your job is a well-worn path. Sometime in the future, you will look back and thank the person that fired you.
For questions, comments or enquiries about the upcoming basic money management seminar, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.financialfreedominspiration.com. Follow me on twitter @usiere, 08106788187 text only, BBM C002B2697