Shell, Chevron, Dealdey, iROKOTV…what do they all have in common? They are sacking people like pure water these days.
Tuesday, yesterday, Noel woke up to his normal morning routine, of kissing his wife ‘good morning,’ hurriedly taking his bath, kissing his lovely wife ‘good bye’ and rushing out of his house in order to beat the morning rush hour traffic. By noon, he was already back home from work. That was unusual considering that when he leaves the house, Noel usually doesn’t return until 6 or after 6:30PM.
When we met for a chill out at the Cubana lounge and events centre in G.R.A that evening, my buddy wasn’t looking his normal cheerful ‘jolly-good-fellow’ self.
“Boy, what is the matter?”
“I just lost my job.” He told me.
I asked “Why? What happened?”
“Bad economy. That’s what they told me and the other colleagues that got fired too,” he said.
Sigh! “Drink a beer. Cheer up. You too good for them anyways. You will get something better,” I said to Noel in an attempt to lighten his mood a little bit. But how do cheer someone up in such situation? Nothing works. Maybe sex, maybe he will cheer again when his wife makes love to him tonight. That’s just a guess.
So you can understand when I had to resort to Google (Google is your friend fam) for some situation analysis on getting home. The headlines in the search result were everything but exciting.
Here: Shell, Chevron to sack 8000 workers; Chevron to sell 40% of its oil interests in Nigeria (seriously, what’s that supposed to mean? More layoffs?); Fear grips oil workers over secret plans by Shell, Chevron to sack 8000 workers.
As if in a bid to cheer himself up Noel reminded me that the ‘corporate firing squad’ is not only a Nigerian problem. “This is global,” he said. I was a little relieved he could lighten up a bit. Couldn’t have my boy looking like somebody died. He then took a sip of his beer.
“My cousin just returned home from the U.S. He got laid off from his executive position job.”
“Hmmm.” “He came back with his family,” Noel interjected.
“Oil prices are down. Affecting everything. More people will lose their jobs before the Christmas, Stanley.”
“I have a feeling it’s time to start practicing some of those entrepreneurship things you have been telling us, Stanley. I swear, there are hard times ahead and some people will be hit real bad.”
“You are right,” I answered him.
“Imagine, even DealDey, that online shop had to lay off staff. Civil servants are being owed salaries. Those who escaped layoff have their salaries cut in half. No new employment. Wahala. How bad is the economy?”
“See, the economy is never ever your problem. The problem is what is your strategy? I don’t mean what you are thinking, I mean, what are you now going to do?” I said to him.
“I told you it’s time to start implementing some of those entrepreneurial things that you have been saying,” he said.
“Then stop thinking and start doing,” I said.
As I write this, African China’s old hit “Food no dey” is playing in my head. I am trying to shake it off. Obviously some families have been thrown into distress with the news everywhere of downsizings going on. Some families have been holding night vigils casting and biding every spirit of sack. My feelings go out right now to those fresh out of service ‘ex-otondo’ that passed out a few weeks ago who were looking forward to a fantastic job hunting. Pele. You got to be creative now.
Now, when you look at it ordinarily, you can only come to one conclusion, that these are really troubled times in Nigeria; leaving you with two options. One, blame the last administration of the Federal government for creating and leaving behind a mess (whether they were responsible for it or not). Option two, choose yourself, step out there and do something (knowing that blaming anyone for any situation will not change it). Like Noel said to me, this seems to be a great time to do something about all those ideas that you have been dreaming and talking about like, forever. Don’t let anything hold you back anymore.
Meanwhile, for those who still have a job and are fasting and binding the spirit of sack, nothing wrong with what you are doing, but how about reserving or channeling all that spirituality and energy into building your own company and become your own boss? I am just saying, you don’t have to consider my advice.
The days when people felt comfortable and secured in a job are over. Today, the angel of unemployment is roaring and moving to and fro the industries of Nigeria looking for whose job to ravage. Your best bet is to own your own business. Or not?
Have you been laid off in Port Harcourt? Are you wondering what to do? You could make plans to attend #StartupSouth
Share your thoughts and let’s reason together.
Stanley, G. Jack is a IT analyst, motivation speaker and entrepreneur. He is the Author of the book, WHO TOOK MY JOB? and GOOD TO GO: The Story of Employment & Success, which is billed to launch early 2016. Follow him on Twitter for updates: @WealthyJACK
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