Bruce Lee said “To hell with circumstances, I create opportunities!”
This statement really carries a punch for me! To be quite honest, I am really fed up with a number of people at the moment. I am seriously sick and tired of people with begging bowls who seem think that it is my ‘job’ to provide for them. To hold their hands, or put money into their pockets or even to supply them with solutions to their problems because – well because they were previously disadvantaged – or their circumstances were not the same as mine (not that they have a cooking clue about my circumstances you understand). It’s just expected.
I have just had a meeting with a young chap, let’s call him George – who read an article in a magazine, where I was interviewed. Apparently, as I am given to understand it as I have not seen the article in question, I help people to start businesses – I suppose that’s a pretty fair (although very broad) statement of what I do.
So his opening request is “I want you to write a business proposal for me”. Now, no-where on anything that I have ever written, have I offered writing business proposals for anyone, irrespective of whether I am being paid for the service or not.
To cut a very long, painful and frustrating conversation short – the story is as follows:
George used to work in a fish and chip shop – peeling potatoes for the chips, so he thinks that it might be a good idea to open up a fish and chip shop. Nothing wrong with that dream, I hear you saying. Here’s the problem, he has done no research, never managed anything, never employed any staff, never done any other kind of work in a ‘fast food’ type environment and he has no money to put down. So clearly that turned out to not be such a good idea.
So his next plan was that he had worked as a volunteer in a clinic – he says, doing counseling, (but he has no education to speak of), around HIV and STD’s. I suspect (and I say suspect, because getting any information was like pulling hen’s teeth or dancing between the raindrops), that he spoke about the use of condoms rather than actually counseling someone with HIV or aids or any of the STD’s. George apparently worked there for 6 months, so now – how about he opens a clinic! I mean for goodness sake! The only research that he has done is to ascertain that the ‘government says that they will fund it’!
George registered an NGO 14 months ago and now he wants me to write a proposal to government because ‘they must fund it’!
Currently he is ‘working with fibre optics’ and when I asked the probing questions I discovered that what he is actually doing is laying cables in the trenches – well not today he wasn’t, today he was wasting my time and irritating me because that seems to be his right because his “circumstances” growing up were less than mine! It’s his right because he was previously disadvantaged – although the fact that I am currently disadvantaged is not something that he wanted to talk about!
George’s parting comment as he prepared to leave was that “he can see that he needs to do some research, but eish, it’s hard and when I have done the research I will contact you so that you can tell me what to do next!” My response “Sure okay, but my hourly rate is ……. And the next meeting you will have to pay for in advance.”
My circumstances – well they made me work harder, something that I still do to this day. I started working after school and on the weekends at 13 and by the time I was 15, I went to court to have myself legally declared an emancipated minor. I had my own flat that I paid for and that I worked for. Sure I’ve had help along the way, but it has always been help that I reciprocated. I have made my own way, watched out for opportunities or made my own. I’ve come really far but I can say with all honesty, I have paid to get here.
Perhaps I have done it the hard way around, perhaps I should have sat on my arse with my begging bowl extended and bemoaned my particular set of circumstances and demanded that my expectations be met off the backs and hard work of others.
The problem with that though is the fact that I would then never have been . . . . well me!