Friends & Friction | Hone your skills - Be yourself, be fair, be kind


I saw a YouTube video of two boys dancing at a party. One of them is on the floor, looking up; his dancing partner stands right above him, shaking like jelly.

As you wonder what the hell is going on, a granny comes into the frame running faster than Caster Semenya, her walking stick flying high in the air. She tries to hit them, but Gogo is too slow for the youngsters and they escape her walking stick.

“Some moves belong to the bedroom and not on stage,” I once heard a choreographer complain about the ubiquitous and reckless twerking.

You know you are old when you start to tell people at a party to lower the music, justifying it by saying: “People want to have a conversation.”

Old people don’t go out much; they depend on such gatherings to catch up on the many intervening years.

The onus is on you to learn as much as you can.

You know you are getting old also when you get into a boardroom and you wonder why all the juniors sit down while their bosses get up to make their own tea.

Little Intern, learn to make tea for your bosses. How can you learn to satisfy a customer you hardly know, when you cannot even make tea or coffee for your boss whom you see every day. Your boss is your first customer and your guinea pig for good customer service.

Unfortunately, many people confuse worker rights with the right to laziness and the licence to be rude. What they do not understand is that they do not have the right to be developed by others, particularly at work.

The onus is on you to learn as much as you can.

Choosing a boss is like choosing a career. You have to do it carefully. Find someone who is willing to share generously.

A friend of mine once told me a story of how, one September morning, his boss called him and two others to tell them that he, the boss, wanted them to register for an MBA part-time the following year. The company needed that skill and they had no option in the matter.

Study or make room for people who have these qualifications. They opted to study and it benefited both the individuals and the company.

When you see your boss’ boss on the premises, stop everything, greet them by their name or title and ask them if you can be of any assistance.

As you grow, Little Intern, you will be well known at certain restaurants and hotels and they will greet you by your name as you walk through the door.

You will think this is good customer service. So, do unto others as you would have done unto you.

Always remember, Little Intern, that in business you can serve more than two kings. Your equally important boss is your customer. Whether you deal with the customer directly or not, remember that the customer pays for everything, especially your salary.

You will not be friends with your bosses. Chances are that they are older and they probably do not want to hang out with kids.

If you do try to hang out with them, you will soon be in that awkward moment when you will have nothing to talk about.

The most important people in your career are your peers. They will grow to occupy important positions in the future and you will need those relationships.

If your peers think you are a bad person with whom to do business, your whole career before you is doomed.

Be yourself. Be fair. Be kind. You are human, so you will make mistakes, and when you’ve done so, be honest.

Even if it hurts you in the short term, it is good for your character, and that, Little Intern, is what you need to make it in the future.

Kuzwayo is the founder of Ignitive, an advertising agency

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