Former Citizen TV news anchor Terryanne Chebet on Sunday, July 5, opened up on her experience with job loss as she sought to advice Kenyan journalists currently grappling with mass lay-offs.
Chebet, who announced her exit from her position as General Manager of Metropol TV on Wednesday, July 1, was addressing re-structuring in mainstream media organisations that saw several journalists lose their jobs.
She revealed that when she was fired as a news anchor at Royal Media Services (RMS)-owned Citizen TV in 2016, she felt worried, angry and betrayed.
Chebet disclosed that she was informed of her axing by her then-boss just hours before she was to go live on air for her show The Business Centre.Media personality Terryanne Chebet (right) at her send-off party at Metropol TV on Tuesday, June 30, 2020
"It was a difficult time and I cried every night, wallowing in self-pity and anxiety.
"I realised that even though I was emotionally broken I needed to face the truth and needed to quickly deal with the feelings of betrayal, rejection, denial, and anger that I felt. I had no choice but to focus on what the future held for me and my family," she wrote.
The veteran journalist explained that as she was the sole breadwinner for her family, she had to shift her mindset and undertake various changes in her life.
She advised journalists laid off from organisations including Mediamax, Nation Media Group (NMG) and Royal Media Services (RMS) to use the lessons from her experience to get back on their feet.
1. Take Control of Your Budget
Terryanne noted the importance of a budget in taking control of one's finances and understanding their financial situation.
She advised those laid off to write down exactly how much they spend on everything including transport, rent and food so as to guide their plans.
She further advised journalists to cut down on unnecessary expenditures such as drinks at the bar and eating out. This, she noted, would allow them to prioritise more important needs.
"We had a traditional family lunch out on Sundays and I cut it out, after of course explaining to my family why it was necessary to manage our costs until we are back on track," Chebet wrote, offering an example.
3. Restructure Your Debt
With many journalists who were laid off having bank loans, Terryanne advised them to engage the relevant financial institutions to seek temporary reprieve as they find their footing.
She revealed that her loan contract allowed her to get respite on payments on a bank loan for 9 months after being fired.
"Ensure you are in touch with everyone you owe and let them know your financial situation. Do not switch off your phone and do not stop picking up their calls. Communication changes everything," Chebet asserted.
4. Health Insurance and Savings
Terryanne also urged journalists to prioritise having a health insurance cover for themselves and their families.
She urged them to consistently make payments to the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) as it came in handy once the employer's medical cover ran out.
In addition, she urged them to build financial discipline by committing to saving a specific amount either weekly or monthly.
"Once you get some sort of income coming in, begin to slowly put some money aside for savings or pension. Mobile payments now allow us so much more flexibility. Make a choice to save any amount of money per week or month," she advised.
5. Re-Write Your Strategic Plan
Terryanne noted that after being laid off, it helped to come up with a personal strategic plan identifying one's strengths, where they want to be in 5-10 years and how they can get there.
She advised journalists to consider establishing another source of income while actively looking for a new job.
"Once you do that, evaluate opportunities that you can engage in immediately in order to generate an income. I have seen people who started to bake in the evenings and sell cakes and cookies while still looking for a job.
"I’ve also heard amazing stories about people who saw a gap in providing affordable food to office people, and sometimes these can turn out into a full-time business as it has for very many people out there," she observed.
6. Update and Clean Up your CV
Chebet noted that updating your CV on LinkedIn and following potential leads was one way to get back on track after being fired.
She advised those laid off to remain visible by creating captivating content about the industries they work in and sharing it with peers.
7. Network with Industry Peers
Chebet also advised those laid off to network with their peers in the industry, particularly through attending various events.
Acknowledging that these meetings had been affected by Covid-19, she advised laid-off journalists to participate in webinars and virtual meetings in their fields of expertise.
"The point is to ensure you are heard and that you stand out as intelligent and engaged," she explained.
8. Build Your Personal Brand
She noted that being laid off offered one more time to work on building their personal brand, not only to boost visibility but to ensure they are perceived in the way they want.
In addition to researching industry trends and sharing articles on various topics, she advised journalists to take professional photos and use social media to elevate their brands.
9. Get Physically Active
Terryanne urged laid-off journalists to commit to at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, observing the benefits of exercise for both the body and the mind.
She noted that regular workouts helped to keep chronic diseases away in addition to improving one's general mental health.
"Start slowly, perhaps with a 30-minute walk every evening, a jog, join your local gym or use YouTube workout videos in the comfort of your home," she advised.
10. Tell Your Story
She revealed that after being fired from Citizen, she did not know how to introduce herself as she had always referred to herself as a news anchor.
She noted that it was important to come to terms with the situation after losing a job to be able to tell the story comfortably.
"Your future employers will almost always ask as well, so ensure that you have thought through your job loss story and you can tell it well and comfortably," Chebet wrote.Former Citizen TV news anchor Terryanne Chebet in an Instagram post on April 12, 2020
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