Each day presents itself with unique opportunities and challenges. But I would rather prefer to accept both the good and the bad and move on with life, than leave with regrets. Failure is an absolute part of and path in success. But there is more to life than we can see except for our experiences. Hmm! Today I read a vivacious text written some days ago by Ginikanwa Mgba-Okolo (1 of 135 staff laid off by the software engineering talent company, Andela) on how she was made redundant by her employee. Although emotional she began her conversations appreciating her previous employer rather than lashing out. Although this break came to her with mixed feelings, she was positive about the situation and remained grateful for the opportunity. Why? She believes she is now an asset of global “worth”. Few persons may have this spirit of optimism. A chunk of the text left her pitching herself to prospective employers. It is really a difficult time to receive such news but life happens.
Prof. Ndubuisi Ekekwe in his brief submission has confirmed the constant downsizing by Andela. to be a “positive bold step” as “Africa cannot rise on the strength of pure outsourcing as the US. and Western Europe will use AI, robotics, and improved software systems to bring disintermediation.” Why? “Because our developers are not within that domain at the moment.” These are valid reasons given by Prof. Ndubuisi Ekekwe. From prime observations, very few engineers seem to be affected by the recent layoffs but other departments. At least Ginikanwa’s submission validates this point. Notwithstanding this was an unexpected mass exodus that was ominous especially in the face of the coronavirus dilemma. A major issue calling for such a hasty exodus seems like a contraction in the organization’s client base. I believe several organizations are still battling and causing a similar challenge.
While Andela’s response could be interpreted in several tones, the company is not alone in this game. Just last week Access bank planned to sack over 75-percent as a result of the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The implications were that the bank might not need the services of some of its essential workers. Fortunately, the Central Bank of Nigeria had halted the proposed lay-offs by banks and it seems the government may guarantee job security due to the pandemic. How did I wish? But I wish indeed!
However, these concerns are not exclusive to banks but to other organizations across the sectors. Some organizations have not planned to layoff but will certainly cut salaries or even implement furloughs due to the disruptions emanating from the global economic difficulties. I do not blame the organizations, because businesses everywhere are facing challenges – including a sharp decline in customer demand, high exchange rates, limited international trade, substantial regulatory adjustments, supply chain disruptions, unemployment, economic downturn, vague projections, and amplified uncertainties.
Whatever be the case, the realities are apparent, the pandemic has left negative impressions on world economies and organizations precisely. And massive unemployment is inevitable just as new opportunities are too. How will employers and employees survive during and after the pandemic? This is the big question. Take a pause and think about it. What will the workplace look like afterward? There will certainly be an unforeseen shift and declining demand for jobs and career pursuits. With the gradual and continuous loss of jobs globally, it is only wise to figure out what career will thrive and be prepared to be the best “fit”. We cannot overemphasize the imminent massive unemployment but we can focus on how employees should prepare to even out?
A good strategy would be reengineering or doctoring careers – setting goals and finding solutions to global problems. If there is one thing that has come out of this lockdown period is the fact that digital is the way to go. Since the lockdown, employers and employees have readapted their operations to be flexible. We see employees working remotely and several people catching up with assignments and meetings via Zoom. People now have more control over their schedule, with more time dedicated to other areas of life. Flexibility has become the new normal, so it is time to learn new things and connect with people and callings that you have been spellbound by but had no time for. Try getting new skills especially digital skills, apprise or/and upgrade your resume, LinkedIn profile, and other professional links. That way you are jump-starting your career.
The pandemic is intended to leave people with new skills (assuming you acquired one) and will create millions of opportunities too, so prepare yourself for it. If you have just lost your job, this is an opportunity to change your way of thinking. Your objective may not be to work for a Fortune 500 company but to start your own business which may have been your life dream. Whatever is your gift, skill, or strength can be an opportunity that would change your life if you take action this time.
Consequently, economic predictions reveal that essential services or jobs predominantly in the outsourcing sector will not necessarily be business as usual. This means that organizations that cannot afford to pay salaries will have no option than to retrench workers. But here is a possibility, before it happens, it is not too early or too late to hit the reset button and reinvent your career. Doubtlessly, the workspace is changing and only “the most experienced and talented” will “win”. Position yourself to be relevant in the new normal for future jobs. Or be an employer yourself (not as easy as it sounds) – that way the rest will be history.