FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT: There is life after retrenchment


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Being retrenched is one of the best things that can happen to you. All it takes is a look at it from a different perspective. It may seem like a disaster, but on the flip side, this might be your golden chance to finally pursue your dreams.

Many organisations have downsized recently, leaving many unemployed in their wake. If you have recently found yourself in this situation, here’s what you need to know. I talked to several people in my entrepreneurship class who have been retrenched, and many of them say that when it first happens, you do not know what to do – especially if you did not expect or did not already have a side hustle. These are the common factors that helped them move from the place of retrenchment to entrepreneurship.

It is OK to take a moment to feel bad. It is loss, after all. Spend time talking to those who have gone through similar experiences and then you will see that you are not alone with what you will feel. All sorts of fears will be going through your head. Loss of identity, money, what other people think and even just not having a place to and go every day. Acknowledging these feeling is helpful. You don’t have to make a decision and/or know the next step today. Do not go shopping when you are feeling like this. You will be trying to get a temporary ‘feel good’ in the midst of the depression. You also don’t want to put pressure on your new business to make you feel good, hence the importance of grieving. Also put a time limit to the grief; give yourself a week or two then work on this next season of your life.

Loss of identity is one of those things that you will go through, but you must remember that you are not your job title. If you want to venture into a business, leave your job title behind. Entrepreneurship needs your skills and experience, not your qualifications and your title.

Look at this as an opportunity to discover your passion. I know in the midst of wondering where the next shilling is coming from it is hard to think about passion, but do it. Working and succeeding is hard anyway, and you might as well do it in an area that you are passionate about. However, don’t over analyse it. If it’s something you reasonably like doing, you can start there. Some people know their passion outright while others like me stumbled into it while doing something else.

Adopt the attitude of a student. You are a pupil in the kindergarten of entrepreneurship and it will be drastically different from when you were employed. The way you deal with money, people, challenges, opportunities and time will be different. Do your research. Have a coffee with people who have been there and done that. This will be far better use of your time than trying to draft a guesswork business plan. Take a course to upgrade your business skills.

We underestimate the power of just starting. Get onto the bus and the journey will unfold. You don’t have to have everything right; just do something. See that potential client. Do the research. Write that proposal. Just start. Starting is a confidence booster. When you do one thing you get motivated to do the next.

Preparation always meets opportunity. Even though things may look bleak, it really is an opportunity for you to prepare for the next phase. Don’t waste it by not taking the opportunity or learning the lesson you need to learn to move forward.

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