My jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe what she was saying to me on the other end of the call.
“Hello!” I yelled into the receiver. “I can barely hear you!” I said even louder.
“You have just been assigned a role in our London office”, she repeated over the crackling network.
I clutched my phone hard, my heart racing faster than I ever thought possible.
“But I don’t have the right to work in the UK!” I yelled back at the phone.
“That’s no problem, we’ll sort you out”, she said.
I stared into the nothingness, made my way down the kitchen to the musty corridor, and leaned on the balcony of the Burkina Faso office where I was working on an office rebranding project.
“Are you there?” She asked.
“Yes!” I said as I watched my heart fall madly in love with this organisation that had managed to chase me down on LinkedIn and offer me a dream role. A global role that would see me move from Nigeria to London, all expenses paid for my family. I knew no one, lobbied no one and yet there I was, in another dream role.
I caught myself as excitement and trepidation filled my heart. I felt my lips mutter the words – “I will work so hard”. She laughed. My life was about to change.
Tip 1: Whatever your hand finds to do, do it well. When you are offered a role, do it well. It doesn’t matter how little you have been asked to do, everything counts. Opportunities will come for you. And when they do, take the leap.
I stood there staring at a letter informing me of a potential redundancy. My heart broke into many sad pieces. The sudden realisation that I had nothing, but this job filled me with dread. So, I asked the hard question: Why?
“More assertiveness, be politically savvy, grow your network – this will help you grow here”, she said. “But this letter is not about you”, she added. Well, it’s got my name on it…I thought. I started to morph into someone new so I could remain in this relationship with a company I had fallen madly in love with. I found PR industry bodies, joined them, honed my skills, started volunteering for some, speaking at others. I worked on finding fulfilment, coaching young comms professionals to take the leap as I did and showing them how to grow like I was. It helped. In April 2021, I was confirmed on the job and out of the scope of redundancy.
Tip 2: Embrace change as an opportunity to grow. When you face uncertainties, feel all your feelings, then snap out of it and quickly too. Look within the change. There are always opportunities to grow into the leader you want to be. Find them. Stay ready.
It happened again! Another letter confirming that I was in the scope of redundancy. “Why have I received this a second time?” I asked, the familiar sting crippling me. “It was not personal”, she said but I wasn’t having it. ‘It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me’ – I thought.
Not one to wallow in a ‘woe is me’ internal monologue for too long, I picked myself up and continued my commitment to change my mindset, evaluate my choices, to think more about what I could do with the opportunities I currently had… to think less about career growth but more about having a wholesome full life that would help me become the leader I wanted to be for now and for the moment I come out of my 9 – 5.
I leaned on books and pulled up some self-help quotes which continue to help me today:
- “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude”- Maya Angelou
- “In your own life it’s important to know how spectacular you are.”- Steve Maraboli
- “What we know matters but who we are matters more.” – Brené Brown
Tip 3: Lean into your strengths. It doesn’t matter if you were courted to a job, fought hard for it, worked hard for it… So many things are out of your control. A redundancy letter is most definitely not about you. Identify what you do well, define your why and make a choice. Real growth is measured not by your lateral moves in an organisation but by what you were able to do with what life threw at you. And you, not anyone else, YOU are responsible for your choices. If you choose to stay, be mindful of how you choose to spend your time, with whom, the user experience of you and the words you choose to say. You are ALWAYS in control.
Fully committed to not morphing into anything new. I chose to remain… me.
I would go on to receive an out of scope of redundancy letter, to remain grounded in purpose and energised by impact.
Until the next chapter, this time, I’ll be ready. I am in control.
Connect with Eduvie Martin on LinkedIn.
Eduvie was awarded a place on The Xec. Leadership Scheme for UK-based Black, Asian, Mixed Race and Ethnic Minority PR and comms pros. She is being mentored by Doyel Maitra, Former Group Communications Director at Hachette UK.