Just like the 280 lot of MTN employees or should I say former employees, life throws us punches and most times it’s where we least expect; in the face.

A job loss is an undeniably excruciating punch in the face. I mean, a slap would have sufficed; maybe a query, a warning email, anything but a sack. It's surreal for some, there's a bit of denial initially but as reality dawns, you realize you've been hit really bad.

As you digest the information that has been handed to you either by mail, word of mouth or public announcement, the news that you’re no longer on the pay roll gets you thinking of how much you could have done your job better. How you shouldn’t have snoozed the alarm every time it went off or how you should have taken that career advice you read on discovery seriously.

Let me break it to you, half of the time, just like in the case of these 280 MTN employees, it’s not your fault. In their case the company gave an excuse of the need to bring in professionals that’ll bring a fresh perspective to things and to avail the scaked employees other career options. Amazing opportunity, right?

“It was designed drawing on feedback from employees and following consultation with elected employees representatives. It provides a financial incentive and opportunity for employees who have worked with MTN for over 5 years to pursue other career interest and personal ambition full-time, while increasing opportunities for professionals with a fresh perspective wishing to join the MTN family.” — MTN Nigeria
But we all know MTN just paid 30 billion naira out of the 330 billion naira they were fined by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). So like I said earlier, there’s usually a cover story, a quote for the public, but more often than not, it’s not your fault.

If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking “even if it wasn’t my fault that I got fired, the point remains that I’m out a job” and that’s what we’re really here to solve. So let’s not waste more time discussing companies who are gradually going out of business.

1.First of all, give yourself some real time to figure out your next step.

And that may mean weeks, not a few hours! Don’t feel compelled to jump right back into the work force. You will feel some shock—the same way you would feel shock after any loss. Take some time to deal with that. When you are ready to jump back in, keep your options open, you don’t have to apply to Globacom or Airtel alone. Actually, this might be a good time to explore a new field that you’ve always wanted to try but never had the time to, start a business, or if you’re still young at heart, go back to school.

2.Let go of the way life should have gone.

Resisting the job loss causes more pain. Sometimes you know why you were fired, sometimes you just don’t. Don’t waste any time figuring it out. Be mature about anything you feel may have contributed to it. See the difference between reality and illusion (reality is you lost your job, illusion is you’ll never find another job.) Take a moment to go inside yourself, get silent and listen to your intuition. Some of your best ideas will come when you slow down enough and tune in.

3. Looking for a job is now your job.

It may take a lot longer to find a new job than you think it will. For some people it took them six months and for some others it took them more to find a new job. You might have to settle for less. We’re in a tough economy and the dream job you want might not be available for the next few years. Some jobs leave the market and never come back, and you may be facing that reality. Don’t get discouraged. Remember, even in a bad economy, there are always jobs for good people.

4.However, get a grip on your online image:

Your reputation and your online persona play much more of a role in getting you a new job than your resume or your cover letter ever could. Your profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn should be spruced up and optimized as much as possible to make you as attractive as you can be to a potential employer. And don’t forget to Google yourself to see what comes up.

5. The next job you take may be a transitional one.

Whether it’s full or part time, embrace it. It’s like learning to walk again after a terrible accident. Every experience is a valuable one and you never know where it may lead. It’s very okay to freelance or find part-time work to get some cash flow until you find the perfect new position. In fact, you may find that you don’t need a full-time job as much as you thought you did to be happy and secure.

On the whole, please don’t blame yourself. For some reason, I keep reiterating this. And it’s not in a bid to encourage you to throw a pity party for yourself but because blame never accomplishes anything.

Don’t get addicted to your story of why you got fired or how unlucky you are, because it will hold you back. There is no shame or embarrassment to be had. Every successful person has lost a job at some stage. Instead of feeling shame, honor this as just a life change that will make you stronger. Work hard, be true to yourself in self-development, stick around optimistic people not victim circles and the best will come.

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