Thursday, May 10, 2007

Business vs. employment

Joy is a Filipina from a very poor family. She was determined to receive higher education and managed to get a scholarship. She qualified as an accountant and worked for one of the Big 5 firms in Jakarta, working hard from 7am to 10pm daily. Because of that, her two young sons were under the care of babysitters at home. When she returned home, her sons ran to the door. She thought it was their excitement to greet her but actually to her painful realisation, it was to hug and say goodbye to the babysitters. Mums, isn't it heart wrenching to know your children are closer to 'strangers' than their own mum?

When she went home to the Phillipines for a holiday, a friend who lived in another city 1 1/2 hours flight away, persistently tried to ask her for some time, simply to share a business opportunity but she refused to meet that friend many times. On New Year's eve, the friend just turned up at her doorstep. Realising her friend's sacrifice (in the Phillipines, it's tradition to spend new year's with family) in leaving her family to see her, she reluctantly granted the friend only 5 minutes to say what she wanted. What can one achieve in 5 minutes? The 5 minutes became 3 hours and Joy joined her friend in the business.

When she went back to Jakarta, she tried to ask her boss to participate in her business. He was agreeable to support it on condition that the Vice President of the company joined. She approached the VP who appeared supportive but the very next day he told her that if she went ahead she would be sacked. (Joy's business was in fact not in conflict with her company's.)

Joy persisted with her business and is now reaping the benefits of her hard work.

This is a true story. It made me think and I discovered the following:

1. A job takes up all your time even though it pays you money. Your time is not yours. No time for yourself or your family.
2. There is no job security nowadays. The friendliest colleague or boss who appears to care for you actually cares only for himself and the company's welfare as that is their job.
3. There is no harm in listening to what others have to share with you, especially from concerned friends. You never know what you can find and learn until you keep an open mind and heart.
4.Persistence and determination to get what you want will bring you success, no matter how long it takes.

"Study hard, get a degree and a good job in a good company and climb the corporate ladder. Then, you are set for life." That's what we've been taught. Is that the only way or is going into business better?

I'm digging my brains for names of people who climbed the corporate ladder and became billionaires. There are but they were more difficult to remember compared to those of business people/entrepreneurs - Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Ananda Krishnan, Robert Kuok, Quek Leng Chan....care to help me add to the list?

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