A lot of formal and informal businesses are hit by the COVID pandemic. With employers battling to stay afloat, many have been forced to cut down on their workforce. Some businesses have declared certain positions superfluous and redundant, while others are grasping on the straws. By May this year, at least 342,300 Kenyans had lost their jobs, with President Uhuru Kenyatta predicting that over 500,000 jobs could be lost by November this year in his Labour Day speech.
Perminus Wainaina, the managing partner at Corporate Staffing Limited, a human resource firm based in Nairobi, says that the corona losses in both business and jobs are a career wakeup call. “It is now possible to end the day with a job, and to wake up the following morning jobless. But even as you hope for your job, it is time to ask yourself who you’d be if you lost your job today? What would you do if you are declared redundant? What would be your plan B?” he says.
To avoid spiraling into depression and financial ruin, you may start a side hustle as your fall back plan. But it is not just formal side hustles that could be your saving grace. Having a secondary career is a better option. Paulette Achieng’, a founding partner in the law firm Lumallas Achieng & Kavere Advocates, says that two careers will not only come in handy in the event that you lose your job, but also in adding value to your current career. Ms. Achieng’ has recently taken a course in counseling psychology. “Being a pro bono lawyer for child criminals, we’ll sometimes get a child acquitted, only for them to go back to their criminal ways. I felt that taking a counseling course could help them and their families start a new chapter beyond acquittal or sentencing,” she says. Ms. Achieng’ says that her extra career has served as a remedy for herself also. “Legal family matters can be very emotionally draining, which calls for legal practitioners to embrace therapy. Being in the practice, my secondary career has perfectly aligned with what I offer and what I go through.”
What works and what doesn’t
Ken Munyua, who runs two careers as a human resource practitioner at People Centric and a licensed psychologist, says that when choosing a second career, it is always critical that you go for one that blends with what you do. “I started practicing psychology professionally in 2007 and human resource management and recruitment in 2014. I chose human resource as my second career because it aligned with my expertise in corporate hiring psychology,” he says. You must not take just any course that is on offer. Don’t be desperate. Evaluate how a new career aligns with your skills and interests. “Perform a skills audit and identify skills that are easily transferable,” says Wainaina.
Updating your resume
Once you identify your transferable skills or gain such competencies, Wainaina says that you must edit your resume to ensure that they are highlighted and captured by your employer. “Have the employer identify the skills you possess, even if they are outside your scope of work,” he says.
Ten jobs for the future
Despite a slump in the job market, certain jobs will be in demand over the coming years. This means that when going for a second career, you will do well to align your qualifications with these jobs. Here are ten jobs for the future according to Corporate Staffing’s Perminus Wainaina:
1. Software Development and Engineering
2. Healthcare / Medicine
4. Artificial Intelligence
5. Labour Law Specialist
6. Tax Accountant
7. Data and Business Analyst
8. Social Media Managers
9. Digital Marketing
10. Digital Trainers / Tele-Trainers/Counselors
Five job skills you may need post-coronavirus
There are certain extra job skills that may come in handy as the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. Top among these skills are:
1. Data literacy
2. Coding and digital skills
3. Creativity, evolution and innovation
4. Communication and emotional intelligence
5. Flexibility, multitasking and adaptability
Technology has made it possible to run two careers concurrently. When running two jobs simultaneously, your first job should not be in competition with your second job. In the same breath, your first job should make you better at your second job and vice versa.