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Walking the Unemployment mine field!

By Bunm1 sofola

Quite an increasing number of Nigerians have experienced it at one time or the other. It is like the magicians ‘now – you-see-it- now-you-don’t’ Abrakadabra: One minute you have a job, the next, the executioner’s axe has fallen and you reel from the impact. Here, some ‘Victims’ share their experiences:

I met Felix, a thirty-eight-year old top salesman in one of the leading manufacturing companies literally Slumming’ it at a nearby ‘bukateria’. After the usual pleasantries, I sneaked a glance at his plate. He caught me at it and gave a resigned laugh: “it is amazing how, if you were hungry enough, you’d find sheep’s eyes and goat’s entrails deliciously palatable!” he joked.

For six years after he left the university, Felix was a top salesman. He moved from one managerial post to the other. He was contemplating another giant leap into a bigger company when he got his legs caught in the net. His company, which knew about his new move was hostile but didn’t care. Getting the letter of his new appointment was just a matter of time.
“When the letter finally arrived,” Felix said, “it was a huge shock. Instead of the offer of a job and all the fine salary and fringe benefits that went with it, I was crisply ask to please ‘bear with us’ as the company was seriously affected by the current financial crunch. As soon as thing got back to normal, the letter said, I would be considered.

The news of my ‘failure’ leaked of course. My company was a manufacturing one and singe there weren’t that many goods to sell, the sales department was the first to be re-shuffled. Guess what disloyal manager got the first shove out of the door! I can’t still believe it. Even now I wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night. There are no jobs, you can’t really pretend you are doing any private business because those are really thin on the ground and I take out my frustration on m y family …”

What Kuburat said she couldn’t really forgive was the fact that her close friend (they worked with the same company) who ended up giving her the ‘golden hand-shake’ never told her of ‘management decisions’ until the day she (her friend) called her into the office.

Explained Kuburat: “Even though we were classmates, she went on to the university while I went to work after we finished our secondary school. After her Masted degree, she eventually became the personnel Manager. She used me all the way. I always sneaked in news of union meetings and what grouse junior workers had against the company to her. We were close for a while until she started getting hoity-toity and unapproachable, then I kept my distance.

“In my company, if you are officially queried thrice, you get the boot, When I got my third query, I rushed to my friend whose colleague had issued the query and she said she would talk to her colleague. I needn’t worry about getting the sack.

((The next day she sent for me, I walked in with the usual smile but she waved me into one of the uncomfortable state-your-business- and leave chairs opposite her. Looking anywhere But my face, she gave me the sack letter. She didn’t even hide under the pretext that she did all she could to save me but failed. 1 don’t know why some women will get drunk just sipping out of the fountain of success!”

Segun wondered the same thing when he said bitterly that: “It is very difficult, almost impossible to maintain a balance of power in your (Matrimonial home when the woman has the success, the power and the money!”

Segun now 48; was for almost a decade, a foreign manufacturer’s representative in the country. Another fancy way of saying that he relied solely on the sales of imported goods. And for years, sales were good. He had an impressive office at Ikoyi, a fancy secretary and people who ‘cleared and forwarded’ for him. Then the bottom virtually dropped from his business world. His expatriate partners first retrenched workers and changed premises to a cheaper one. In the end, financial ends couldn’t meet as import licenses were permanently on ice. The partners looked for greener pastures and Segun went home to his Deputy Managing Director’s wife to lick his wounds.

Going into details of the humiliation he was going through, is another story. Suffice it to say that he is still trying to get back on his feet but with two kids in fancy schools in England and wife who makes it plain she finds the present state her husband is in disgusting, life is full of bitterness.

Paul brought a touch of humor to the ‘sacking’ syndromes. He knew he was being  sacked the next day because he had series of cloak and dagger fights with the managing Directors girlfriend. Someone saw his sack letter and leaked it to him and since he’d made some irrational decisions that has caused his company some embarrassment, all in an effort to make the Managing director look like a fool, he (the MD) had the perfect ground for sacking him.

Before he went away for good, He made his own plans to revenge  it was a plan that showed little respect for the office it was about to abuse.
“But then,” retorted Paul, “it was an office that lately had deserved no respect as it had freely showcased  abuse and insult on me! Made me feel small.” All because of a match-stick of a gold-digger!

“Anyway, I went to the MD’s office after everybody had left. I had a private key to the building just like any four of the top management staff, by the time I left that office, it looked as if a bomb had hit it. As a parting short, I used the middle of the office as a toilet and went home. The bedlam the next day is better seen than imagined!”

Gboyega is twenty-seven and is unemployed, hjle finished his one year doing his youth service four years ago and said “what could any working person say about  unemployment?  They  can’t  understand  our feelings  of  resentment, depression and anger. I think that it is unfair that you should go through all that “burning the  midnight oil’ stint, do an optimistic year at the youth service, then be made to trudge the streets hopelessly looking for non-existing jobs. There were times I’d even considered taking jobs I wouldn’t recommend to my must hated colleague! I think this country does owe us jobs – a chance to make a start in life. If after  that you fail, you know it is your own doing and nobody else’s.”

What is assertiveness?

According to a psychologist, being assertive is not about getting your own way. It is about respecting your right to disagree with
while trying to find out what they want and stating what you want. He also offers these pointers towards your being a more assured person:
Assert yourself: Don’t be afraid of self-disclosure. If you feel uncomfortable talking about something, admit it from the start and explain how the other person could make you feel more comfortable.

When you are talking to someone about their behavior, always begin by stating the positive. Instead of saying, “I don’t like what you do,” say “ I would like it if you …” if you’re unhappy, ask the person involved to listen to you, uninterrupted, for five minute, and then do the same to them.

Don’t be afraid to agree with someone. Admitting someone else is right rather than arguing your corner all the time can lead to a positive outcome. Create a good rapport by taking note of how other people like to communicate and emulating their style when dealing with them. Beware of the victim syndrome. People who constantly talk on the role of the victims are actually wielding power by making others feel sorry for them.
Be honest in your relationships and let everyone know it. That way, they will know that even if your discussions with them are occasionally uncomfortable, you’re working towards a goal that is good for both of you.

Should you be taking your problems home with you?

Being Stressed all day at work is bad enough, but when work worries start affecting your private life, it is time to take control, says experts.
If you are irritable, unsociable or impatient after a hanaday, it is time to switch off and consciously move into ‘home-time’. Try exercise, deep breathing, reading or gardening to take your mind off work.

If you’re awake all night, then exhausted all day, even weekends are no fun. If you can’t sleep, get up and read or watch TV. At lease you’ll be relaxed. Exercise will give you more energy and make it easier to sleep.
If your friends groan any time you mention the boss, you’re obsessing about work. If you’ve got to let off steam, allow yourself five minutes, then change the subject.

Do you seem to come down with every bug going? Instead of resorting to junk food after a hard day, try to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables instead. The vitamin will boost your  immune system, giving you more energy.

Volunteer work is incredibly satisfying and takes more attention away from your own problems. As you make friends and help others, your work worries will seem less important.

If you’re neglecting your diet, health and relationship, change your habits. Remember we work to live, not live to work. Your evenings and weekends are just as important as your work days. Treat your self to fun, relaxation and time with friends and lovers, soon stress will stay in the work place, where it belongs.


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