When I look back on my life I am the first to admit that there are many things that I could have done differently and yet at the same time I can honestly say that I have really lived.
When I finished school there was an urgency for me to start working, to get my independence. This translated into me doing short courses and not doing a full degree or diploma. I used the money left to me by my father to put myself through the courses. To me, at that time in my life and to my mother, it was imperative that I got out of the house if not the country, and the only way we knew how was for me to get a paying job and fast.
So I studied those short courses managed to get into specialist company dealing with high tech CCTV systems. That was when I started to learn that diverse skills get you further in the South African job market. After a couple of years I was eventually ready to flee the country and my roots, my father’s wishes were going to be met, I left South Africa. My diverse set of skills learnt during that job got me into Marketing and Public Relations, it took me places but also added to my diverse skills set.
Returning to South Africa I then found that I was the wrong colour, by being a white South African finding a job is not easy. Even if you are perfectly skilled for the job, if you are the wrong colour, you won’t get it. So I taught people how to use computers, I taught those who wanted to learn the basics and then the advanced stuff, I helped with last wishes. Last wishes of those who were dying, I taught them things they wanted to learn before they died – odd? That is not on my CV, not many people know that, but it brought me joy to give them some joy. A sad topic so moving along.
I got a job at an Automotive Engineering company, temp job to start off with. Within the first month they decided that my diverse skills set was perfect for them, I landed in a recruitment position that I literally had no training for. I learnt all I could, self studied and grew. Problem is I never got a formal education in this field either, I specialised in the recruitment and management of technical staff but have no qualification to hang on the wall.
This has been my problem, it doesn’t matter that I have managed over 20 employees or that I have managed projects worth R10 million. It matters nothing at the end of the day because I don’t have that piece of paper to my name.
The South African work force is forced to be ambidextrous with their skills, they have to know how to juggle many different job roles or they lose out, especially if they are the wrong colour. In all the jobs I have held in South Africa I think the last one was more so, I had more than 5 job titles and then some.
The ironic thing though is in all my job searches overseas, the first time I was head hunted by a specialist firm. My accounts were lined up for me for when I stepped into the job and they included McLaren F1, Aston Martin and Ford. Truth is no matter how specialised I am or how big my range of skills are, because I don’t have that paper, no country home office department will want me.
So when faced with a problem we must always re-evaluate and if one way does not work we must step out and look from outside in. See the other roads to our dreams and goals if the one we were using doesn’t work. This is what I am now doing, some say I am mad that I should give up, some say that it is pointless, to me it is not. I will not let my dreams die just because some people think they are impossible, I will just try different tactics.
So the lesson in all of this for others is the simple fact that don’t waste the opportunity to get that piece of paper behind your name. Don’t be so eager to start your life before you have built the building blocks, the foundations for they are more important than you could ever imagine.
Would I live my life over as I have done? Sure there are something I would have done differently, but that is just it, I have learnt important lessons that I now hold close to my heart. They are lessons not failures. I have experienced life fully, have seen and experienced things that not many get the chance to, I have lived.
Would I spend my life savings to do the last 8 months again, yes yes and another yes! In the last 8 months I have lived more than ever before, I have learnt more and loved more, I have been me more and have grow because of it, not only as a person but also in spirit.
I will never stop living or learning, I will never stop dreaming, never!
… so don’t think me odd if I still smile and laugh with all my heart, don’t be surprised if I continue to try my luck at starting a new life overseas, don’t be surprised if I don’t see my life as a failure… for me it is all possibilities, every where I look they are there…
… who knows where this life will lead me, all I know is that I am doing it with a full heart, living with heart is far greater than living without one, I am rich in life and I am living it…
Even when the days seem dark never stop living, experiencing, loving, smiling, laughing or enjoying the smell of freshly cut grass, live…
When life throws us curve balls we get a choice, we can either enjoy the game or we can run and hide, it’s our choice how we play the game of life, our choice…