I was with my husband on March 31st, it was 3 or 4 o'clock in the afternoon and I took a phone call from the owner of my company, the president and COO. He informed me that my position was being eliminated.
Significant changes had to be made to the small, family-owned business I worked for due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Coming from leadership, I understand. I worked for Skymack communications, a publishing company here in Lagos, for over 13 years. I was senior vice president of operations, client service and account management. The majority of the clients I worked with were in the airline space, so Covid-19 had huge impact on the area of the business I managed.
Even though being let go is not a personal issue for me, when you get that call from your boss, it's quite a shock to the system.
I love the people that I worked with. And I have never been unemployed.
This was a first for me, and I had to tell my kids.
The first person I told was my husband. We went for a walk because I just wanted to takeout bad thought and feel free. It's so overwhelming that you don't want to think about the "What if".
I cried when I told my husband, but it wasn't sadness that I felt. I didn't feel a connection to my job title such that it was a loss of my sense of self. It was more, "Well, what am I going to do now?" Or maybe it was because you have to say those words: "I've been laid off." I never said those words before.
But I didn't actually tell my two girls, who are 12 and 16, for almost a full 48hours. I just sat with it first. I was thinking, "How am I going to tell them that I have been laid off"?.
My girls have seen me get up and go to work their whole lives. I don't believe they tied me as a person to my job, but they do understand that my job provides money for the family to live.
I was really trying to figure out, how do I tell them without scaring them? And how will I keep a level of composure?.
The third day I told them. Schools in Lagos were closed, so my daughters were homeschooling. I called them into the living room, sat down and told them that I had been let go from my position at work. I was crying while telling them.
They both sort of looked at me and they said, "Well, what does that mean for us?"
How you handle yourself is everything when it comes to how they're going to respond, so I immediately composed myself.
"Well, we're probably going to have to make some changes initially, but as a parent let I and your dad focus on that. I don't want you to worry about that" I said.
My eldest daughter got angry and frustrated at my employer. "Aren't you important? Don't they think you're valuable?" she asked with a sad face.
"I am valuable" I said. But my value has nothing to do with my job. I'm valuable for a lot of other reasons."
"I will find a job that makes me happier, a place to work that values me, a place where I want to be" I said. The girls asked questions about money too. I have a loan to pay and other bills. "Yeah, we're going to have to make some changes, for me to be able to pay back" I said.
"I'm going to have to really work to get another job or figure out what my next move is" I said.
For now we're good. My girls and I are stable and we're happy. We have made some changes towards managing most things around us. For instance with food shopping, we are not particularly frivolous, but now we are much more careful.
Also there is no "I need does cloths just because they're beautiful or I want to do online shopping for me and my girls". They know they need to be conscientious about what they ask for. And they have been fantastic without reminder.
And I have not stopped my job search, but I am not obsessing. Right now everything is fine, but that won't last forever. So I am trying to determine what my new normal is going to be.
Thank you Bogger for sharing my story
Have you ever lost any job that makes you think twice? Please share your story.