Title: The first 90 days after losing your job
Author: James Kapesa
Year published: 2017
JAMES Kapesa wakes up on August 30, 2010 and writes a resignation letter to his employer, Investrust Bank Plc, with a proposal to stop working after 90 days so he could have a smooth handover.
Alas, his employer responds on August 31, 2010, as having accepted his request: “You can hand over all your working files, Mr Kapesa. We do not need your notice period. We will pay you in lieu of notice and we don’t need you anymore.” And that was how James left the organisation and his post as head of corporate and retail banking; no orderly handover; no form of farewell or show of gratitude from the organisation he committed his duties to for his youthful years.
What should one do now without a job? Regrets of having quit the job begin to linger: Was it ambition or personal purpose? Was it the employer’s direction towards his resignation? Well, reading The first 90 days after losing your job will give you an insight on how to survive through and prosper in such moments.
On his road to survival after leaving formal employment, James decided to venture into quarrying, in partnership with two other colleagues, with an investment of US$1 million to crush over 500 tonnes of limestone daily. However, after only nine months of doing business, political party cadres invaded the quarry, rendering the business inoperable. He lost all his life’s savings and went out of business.
With only US$100 to see him between survival and starvation, James could have fallen back on his qualifications and experience to get back into employment. Instead, he opted to forge on. He stumbled upon an idea of selling (hire purchase) laptops on instalments to public service professionals in the education sector as a last ditch measure to survive.
Almost eight years down the line, his ‘Payeasy’ laptop flagship product has spread across Zambia, especially in rural and peri-urban areas and he has also set on exploring more growth opportunities.
If you are purposed to work a job, then quit your business; if you are called to entrepreneurship, then quit your job. You cannot do both successfully. Bitter medicine to swallow? But maybe a wakeup call for many of our people who have stagnated with the same capital outlay selling fish, tomatoes and second-hand shoes in our markets for decades.
Hence, James’s zeal to educate and encourage many on the 90 days test after one leaves a formal job. Using his story and others’ close to him, the author encourages those who lose their jobs not to give up but to pick the pieces and mend them into something valuable, because there is full life after formal employment.
According to James, ‘The First 90 Days’ is a structured way of solving problems that occur in our first portion of time in a new, strange and stressful environment. The environment can be a new job, office, relationship, and political position, or loss of a big contract, among others. What one thinks of says and does in the first 90 days will make or break their future job or business. The seeds of success and failure are sown in these first days.
Looking back at his experience, the author identifies nine canons one must master when facing the first 90 days by segmenting them into three phases, with phase one focusing on the mental task: having a vision and purpose; knowing one’s mission and career trap; protecting one’s ideas; and having a friendship cord with mentors.
The second phase is implementation, whose canons are on getting started and preparedness; hard work; having friendship cord with peers; and minding one’s own and one business.
The last part, the doing phase, gives insight on how to habitualise the above eight canons in the first 90 days. Here, he flaunts the power of habits to entrench success.
In his first canon ‘your vivid vision; your planned purpose’, James states that the 90 days after being jobless offer the best time to engage in self retrospection, discovery and soul searching. The author assures that during these days, one loses face and receives all manner of scorn and shame, but it is also a way of testing one’s character and knowing what big picture one wants to create.
The common thread weaving through all the pages of the book is that to raise a generation of successful entrepreneurs, we must disarm the fearful mystery associated with joblessness. The book also calls out three popular but cancerous philosophies espoused by majority SMEs in Zambia – serving two masters; a job and a business; jumping on any business proudly calling themselves general dealers; and the impatience of quick growth epitomised by tenderpreneurship (a business run based on tenders).
The First 90 Days after Losing your Job is an insightful book as it will definitely give hope to someone who feels like giving up after losing a job. The author also brings out the aspect of exploring one’s strengths and talents in order to get to that particular one which will help one significantly succeed in the informal employment world of entrepreneurship – be your own boss. – MM
Title: The first 90 days after losing your job