How Carolyne Bii found positivity from her traumatic job loss


Carolyne Bii, former BBC Journalist pictured during an interview on September 5, 2023 at Nation Centre Building, Nairobi. PHOTO | BILLY OGADA | NMG

On the vast James Finley tea estates in Kericho where her father worked, Carolyne Bii remembers she always wanted to be a journalist. She can’t recall the moment the journalistic seed was planted but she always knew.

While in high school, her father revealed to her that he’d had an opportunity to work for the then Voice of Kenya but couldn’t afford the bus fare to Nairobi.

“I took over his dream, what he was supposed to be,” Ms Bii reveals when she sits down with BDLife.

At the time, journalism for her was the colourful newscasters she watched on prime-time news but at Daystar University, the profession was broken down leading Ms Bii down the path of producing human interest stories. She worked in Nairobi for a while before leaving to pursue her Masters in Journalism at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom.

Dream job

In England, Ms Bii met and interacted with lecturers who’d worked at her dream organisation, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

A previous opportunity to work for the media giant had come and gone due to contractual obligations at a Kenyan media house.

She was lucky to have a second bite at the cherry and after a rigorous application process, the job was hers.

“I took some time, a day or two to respond to the email,” Ms Bii says of her excitement on landing the job. She would work from the Nairobi Bureau for the BBC producing the Kenya Connects programme, telling stories as she’d always wanted to.

Had the pay been lesser, Ms Bii says she still wouldn’t have thought twice about taking the job.

The end

In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and less than a year into her gig, information of cutbacks started filtering into the Kenya Connects newsroom – the credits would roll on some of the programmes.

The British government was reducing funding and the faucet to the BBC would need to take some of the brunt.

Inevitably, the curtain came down on Ms Bii’s short stay there. Walking out of the office on her last day in April 2023, “That was the hardest period. I got into shock!” she says.

Emmanuel Mwangah, the Human Resource and Administration Lead at Brooke East Africa, says that redundancy may feel like a death in the family.

“It can indeed feel like a significant loss, akin to a ‘death in the family’ because it often represents the end of a significant part of their life, routine, and identity tied to their job.”


Carolyne Bii, former BBC Journalist pictured during an interview on September 5, 2023 at Nation Centre Building, Nairobi. PHOTO | BILLY OGADA | NMG

Ms Bii recalls being especially upset when people would tell her, “It’s okay, it happens, God will provide.”

Mr Mwangah explains that during the painful process of being let go, Human Resource departments are a crucial resource to help their former employees with the transition.

“HR departments aim to cushion the blow during the transition by being as transparent and supportive as possible. While the process of revealing the information may not always be gradual, HR professionals try to handle it with sensitivity.”

He also can’t stress enough the importance of reaching out to support systems – friends, family or other professionals that may be able to help.

Ms Bii remembers her first call after starting to accept her jobless status was to her father. He also uttered the words his daughter detested ‘It happens,’ but was very supportive, even offering her her old bedroom back home if she needed it.

Out of work, what to do?

“I slowly started developing an interest in the beauty industry,” Ms Bii says. She enrolled in a nail technology course which took her four months and crucially gave her something to fill her days and ease her mind. She also learned how to drive, a lifelong phobia of hers.

Mr Mwangah advises financial planning and restraint during this transition period. “Also consider using this time to update your skills or learn new ones that can make you more marketable in your job search,” he offers.

He further advises familiarisation with legal rights, including entitlements to severance pay and unemployment benefits, which can vary by location.


Carolyne Bii, former BBC Journalist pictured during an interview on September 5, 2023 at Nation Centre Building, Nairobi. PHOTO | BILLY OGADA | NMG

The aftermath

Anger is a natural emotion during a time period that feels like betrayal. Ms Bii cautions, “At this time, it’s easy to start throwing rotten tomatoes at your boss and leaving nasty comments about the organisation. Take time to process what you’re going through.”

Mr Mwangah is also in agreement with Ms Bii that there is nothing to be embarrassed about losing your job. Ms Bii states that this period could be used to ‘influence positivity.’ “Speak about it,” she says.

The Ambassador

“I told myself I wouldn’t hold back my feelings. There are lessons to draw and you may relate to my experience,” the self-styled poster child for redundancy says of helping those going through these hard times. “It would be of great help if we had more people speaking out publicly. I want to be that shoulder to lean on.”

Today, Ms Bii is back to work. She joined China Global Television Network (CGTN Africa) a few months later. She wants to stay in the media space citing that there is still a lot she needs to explore.

If she ever leaves the newsroom, Ms Bii reveals she’ll go back to school for International Relations studies and hopefully work with the refugee population and marginalised communities in Kenya.

In the meantime, she’s putting her coins together to open a brick-and-mortar space for her nail technology business.

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