Twists, Turns, and a Job Change in a Recession Economy

Yaay! 4th January 2018 marks two year anniversary on my current job. My third job within the space of six years in three different companies within the same sector. Don’t say how on earth you did that! Well! I learn by doing.

I was just sitting down counting figures in my head when I got an invitation for a business chat. It was a short and interesting chat wrapped up with an impressive job offer.

It was crystal clear that Nigeria’s economy was dwindling at that time. It will require more than my willpower or business know how to keep me in a state of peak performance. I asked myself, should I, would I, could I? Remember that song? Celine Dion.

I heard the tiny voice say GO. I accepted the offer to resume 4th January 2016. Certainly, I knew that job security was questionable.

Don’t lose me; let me take you through a roller coaster of emotions;

Nine months on the job, I was practically working from home; it was like a disguised vacation. The office wasn’t ready, the goods in my portfolio were not in stock. So I used that space to widen my horizon, read a lot of books, got closer to God, enrolled in an online course.

It was during that break, that Spirit arranged for me to meet my husband in February 2016. He proposed after three months and we got traditionally engaged in November 2016.

My heart rhythm was somewhat on a melodious scale until 2017 when I fully resumed work, life decided to” nack me akpako”.

Here we go;

First Challenge- During that long break in 2016, I lost touch with my clients. I couldn’t meet their demands for equipment. My competitors were quick to fill up that space. That gap took me off the market, so I had to spend couple of months reigniting relationships to win their trust again.

Second Challenge- Nigeria was in deep recession, sales were not coming forth, clients held unto their money for fear of the unknown, exchange rate was a bother, health budget wasn’t passed, it was like a dead end. Where do I go from here?

Third Challenge- A business partner I trusted collected goods worth $15k and vehemently refused to pay. I was deeply traumatized. My account was always on red alert, it meandered my reputation.

Some people advised that I get the police to arrest him as the case looked fraudulent but the good girl in me believed he would pay. That bad omen affected my business transaction with other customers, it was hard to get approval for installmental payment.

Fourth Challenge- Unfortunately, the products under my portfolio wasn’t exclusive to my company and we brought those products when exchange rate had skyrocketed. I was faced with the challenge of selling the products with same specification at a higher price than my competitors. It wasn’t a case of comparing Apple to Samsung, it was Apple to Apple.

Fifth Challenge- I was supposed to have a team of twelve sales guys across Nigeria. Unfortunately due to the situation of the country, I wasn’t commercially wise to hire more people. I wasn’t in the best frame  of mind to start monitoring field sales force. I also will have to think about keeping up with paying their salaries, whether they bring in sales or not. Well,  I had a choice to hire and fire if need be, but that will be inconsiderate.

Sixth Challenge- My wedding was scheduled for April 8th 2017. Candidly my attention was divided.

It wasn’t easy balancing the pressure of organizing a wedding and keeping up with job performance. The truth is that if I knew I was going to get married, I wouldn’t have moved to a new company.

But Spirit hid that from me.

Seventh Challenge- After my wedding, I drafted a plan to improve sales but could not deploy it. I was demotivated, dissatisfied, mentally dislocated. I had a purpose crisis which I captured here. Some things didn’t align with the core of my life. The job wasn’t physically demanding but circumstances drained me mentally.

Eight Challenge- Health issues showed its ugly face. From headache to blurry eyes to urinary incontinence, malaria, typhoid and the worst that lingered for so long was abdominal discomfort. The doctor said it was Ulcer, even though H. Pylori test came out negative. I remember the night I was given a shot of pain reliever at the hospital, I saw myself floating and speaking incoherently.

My husband and I began identifying and eliminating the foods that hurts my stomach and was left with “blandish” celery juice, unsweetened yoghurt and sweet potatoes.

I felt so daunted; I wished for a place that was quiet and peaceful, free from the hustle and bustle of life. I wanted to leave the busy life behind, go somewhere else, like a small isolated village at the border of the world.

I wanted to  gaze at the beauty of nature, write everyday, just live a different way. Alas, that will also get boring.

My husband will lay his hands on me every day and speak words of life into me. One statement that resonates with me was; “you are a land that drinks from the rain of heaven, the eyes of the Lord are upon you”. He said “you are a land whose builder and maker is God, you will never go lower”.

I would pick a blood pressure monitor, check myself and still see a normal blood pressure reading staring at me in the face. How could that be? I couldn’t explain how my mind was so exhausted yet my heart was holding on so well.

In the midst of all these, family will ask “when are we coming for Omugwo”? Imagine adding pregnancy to those challenges. Ah! Don’t even go there yet.

I was hard on myself because, I know I’m a high flier, very good at my job, success minded. I know where all the pieces of the puzzles are to fit in. But this was a hard nut to crack. It felt like I failed myself. I was caught up in an invisible thick dark smoke, I was gasping for breath, I couldn’t scream.

I asked Spirit for evidence that He is still with me on this journey. I requested that if He is with me, He should send a very old client I have lost touch with to contact me out of the blues. One graceful day, I checked my email and saw a product enquiry from a Commissioner of Health in one of the North Eastern state. My faith spread its feathers like an excited peacock. That was a thin ray of light, a crack in the dark.

I decided to use my tongue to count my teeth; I decided to deploy my personal winning strategy I coined as “The Nucleus Code”. Simply, it’s about selecting few clients to focus on and offer unparalleled service in a way that connects their hearts to mine. I did that to three new clients. And it did work magically. It was lit.

Before 2017 ran out, I recorded about $416k in sales from the private sector only. It wasn’t so huge but remarkable in view of all the challenges.

First quarter of 2018, I have in the pipeline more deals for four theatres and two Laboratories to close. There’s so much more to come. I’m positive.

As I recount the activities of these two years in my current job, I see a phenomenally GROWN woman whose job change brought about spiritual and personal transformation.

I have learnt to;

Stay still, breathe in and exhale.

Navigate through pressure to find a solution.

Forget my worries; close my eyes at night and sleep.

I have touch deeper places in my heart.

I can confidently say that;

I am as strong as Olumo rock, as tall as Iroko tree. I am the digger of spring water in the desert.

Now I can talk boldly about the rudiments of growth, resilience and keeping faith alive.

If you asked me if I want 2017 back, I’d say yes, but this time around I won’t even break a sweat. Courage is a virtue. As a matter of fact, I’m about to give my heart another reason to beat faster. Watch this space.

In case you are wondering what I do, I help doctors save lives by providing them with functional equipment to enable them diagnose patients and treat with confidence.

Here’s to you, as you travel on your journey, I hope you find things you need to burn down, I hope you dig deeper and find what’s true for you. I hope you find the courage to create your own experiences, more importantly I hope you write about them.

Let me know you were here; send me an e- hug in the comment section.