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Bek
 
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Being average

23 July 2013, 12:54

Being average

It is my impression from reading the articles on News24 that most of the writers have above average writing skills. Now, I am not in that category.

I have done an aptitude test in school and it showed that I am 60% in everything, namely your Average Joe. This was terrible news to me, as I would need to work much harder than Clever Joe to get or achieve anything in life. My dad was a public servant too, so there was no family business for me. Now, I told myself that if I work really hard I might be able to push myself up to 80% in whatever I put my hands on. This worked in a certain sense and I was able to become a graduate after long nights and many bottles of tonic. I was also able to do very well in road running, even winning a road race once. However, I knew that I did not really made an impact, when after many years, I walked passed the Director-General, stopping me and asked me whether I worked there. This was despite the fact that I have written many memorandums to him and the Minister in my line of work.

I worked for 14 years for the Government, and this was really a good time in my life, feeling secured and protected in my job every day. Resigning from Government was one of a few major mistakes I have made during my life. This decision was even more idiotic in the light of the information I have received that many of my ex-colleagues did not make it outside, went through divorces because of failed businesses, others struggled under the stress and others fell into bad habits.

I have now entered a “dog eat dog society”, a ruthless environment where only the strong and cunning survive, definitely not for your Average Joe, not for Mr. Nice Guy and certainly not for the faint hearted. Now, I am an introvert and a shy person and prim and proper I was told. I soon discovered that they eat an Average Joe for breakfast in this harsh environment unless he becomes Clever Joe very quickly, ruthless just like them. Clever Joe in my opinion is usually your “do or die” and “fake it until you make” and “bullshitting” type of person, and clever, otherwise he will not be able to fake it.

Now, the Private Sector is a dangerous place with dangerously clever individuals. Figuratively speaking, they will “cut your through” without you knowing it or you will hear that “heads will roll”, and then realize too late that one is yours.  They don’t inform and warn you against the evil, ruthless nature of humanity when studying at a public school. It is my submission that they need to equip a learner with relevant skills to stand up against Mr. and Mrs. Opportunist and their ruthlessness in the private sector. The latter enjoy, inter alia, playing games, and one of the many games they play is the numbers game. They get you in with others, try you out, and kick those out which they see as non-players. The bottom line is that Average Joe, to survive in the harsh business world, needs to become Clever Joe. He (or she) needs to learn how and when to play certain games, what to say and not say, what to do and not to do and needs to compromise. Forget about your principles, be war ready, otherwise you will only be another casualty.

My initial perception of private sector was that, if you really work hard, a person, usually your line manager, would be nice to you, give you a compliment and encourage you to work harder, just like my experience in Government many years ago. This, and I have experienced it first hand, is not how it works in the private sector. You can work very hard, but if you do not play the game; they will see you as being arrogant and a threat, and to try to be Clever Dick will also not help. As an introvert and a very hardworking person, not willing to play games, I was often one of the casualties in private sector.

Employers are allowed, in certain countries, to kick you out for almost any reason within the first 12 months of employment. A particular European country wants to increase the “kick out” law to 24 months. I just wonder whether learners in public school would benefit from being informed and trained how to “play the game” in the private sector. I was not ready for private sector, and getting too old now to start playing the “game”. Must I blame my situation on my parents, teachers or myself? I think I need to blame it on myself, because I should have learned quicker, adopted a new personality type or developed one for the private sector (maybe a Jekyll and Hyde personality type would suffice). I could not, but in my defense, I am only Average Joe with principles… 

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