A must read- Brilliant words of wisdom for everyone in employment.
Taking a Bow
by Martin Umaru
It’s been exactly 30 days since I left my last employer, IHS Towers where I’d spent 6 years, 9 months of my life. There were lots of highs and couple of lows as expected but overall, it was good. I’d made lots of friends who were before then, mere colleagues with mutual respect for each other (very necessary). Others will forever remain colleagues or better still, former.
It was an impromptu decision to part ways between my employer and I although for me, it’s been hanging for about 2 years. I always like to compare employment relationships like marriage whereby both parties could decide to exit at any point. For most times, the writings are usually on the wall if one could look closely.
In all of these, I had learned some vital lessons which I would love to share;
1. You’ve heard this before; always have an exit plan in order to be prepared (like the Boys Scout that I am) for when such relationship would come to an end. Sometimes you would know and sometimes not. Sometimes, it’s your decision to exit and sometimes not. Unfortunately, most people fail to do this.
2. A key component of your exit plan would be for you to save, always have at least the equivalent of your 6 months’ salary (the no of months may vary). You can survive on this without lowering your standard of living or become a liability to your close family and friends so soon after leaving your job. The prayer is that you’ll get a job, start earning an income or find your footing before this savings dries out.
3. You’ll also need to have a plan of what you intend to do (business plan) ahead of the cessation of employment (whenever such happens). You should in fact start rolling and implementing it even while being employed so you’re not starting from scratch. Please ensure it does not a constitute conflict of interest (carrying out same business as your employer). Your business or side hustle should also not affect the time that you’re supposed to give to your employer carrying out your assigned tasks.
4. You should have an alternate source (s) of income even if it is selling toothpick. No employer would frown at this so far it does not constitute a conflict of interest. All the management books and theories have advised us to do this but sadly, not all of us have been able to practice practicalize this probably because we’re so absolved in our comfort zone. Always remember that no employee is indispensable.
5. Plan to have your own home. Don’t wait and keep and planning and planning on having one at the best location. Just do it! Get one anywhere (within the city of your work) and make it as comfortable as possible for home is where your heart. You should buy a land and then start building ‘small, small’ and with this project at hand, you’ll naturally cut off all unnecessary expenses until it is completed. You’ll think twice before buying an ice cream or pizza because you’ll subconsciously equate such to bag of cement etc. Another option would be to key into the National Housing Fund (NHF) loan while making plans to pay the required equity, your part of the bargain.
6. Pay your children’s school fees ahead of time, possibly on a yearly basis. This would give you time to focus on other things. A friend told me he lost his job in Jan but having paid for the year, he has till September to pay for another session so he wasn’t caught off-guard.
7. Savings, again! So how do you save? By keeping money in the bank and looking it and then smiling at yourself? My best way is through thrift; Ajo (Yoruba), Adashe (Hausa), Osusu (Igbo) and usually tie or link such savings to a project e.g. buy a plot of land, pay for mortgage equity and when possible, vacation. Like in all business ventures, you must know who you’re dealing with to avoid stories that touch the heart. To minimize the risk, make it short e.g. 6 months and then renew or start all over again.
Conclusively, while working in an organization, ensure that you carry out your role to the best of your capability and above all, be human which would go a long way in building goodwill for yourself. It would also earn you lots of respect across all cadre of staff. I have received uncountable calls from my former staff offering lots of kind words and prayers that God should bless all my future plans, hustles and endeavours of which I shout ‘A big Amen!’.
What have I done for the past month? I’m still in sabbatical mood so been playing lots of tennis, relaxing as well as dropping and picking the kids up from school while gathering my thoughts.
What do I intend to do in the forthcoming months? I’ll continue to enjoy my sabbatical while taking care of some personal stuff that work had not allowed me.
Do I intend to return back to paid employment? Not so soon. I’ll draw a line at the end of my 3 months sabbatical on whether to or fly my own plane so help me God.
I can afford to do all these (play without fear of no income coming in) because I’d planned my exit (key being to save). Of course, at some point, I’ll need to recoup to maintain my standard of living and put bread on the table but for now, I’m on a cruise.