I write because it helps me express myself and how I’m feeling. Sometimes it’s easier than other times. I feel the challenge of being a Type A person – which I’ve never particularly thought of myself as being. Yes I’m fiercely ambitious and can (occasionally) be an over-achiever, and yes success (of the financial kind) is top of my list, and some people may call me a workaholic, or work obsessed, but I guess because nothing I do do I ever think is good enough, I’ve never considered myself Type A. Though coming to think of it, isn’t that the very reason why I probably am Type A? Constantly pushing myself to be better?
Anyway, my point was the last couple of weeks have been particularly challenging for me. Working in Zambia is probably not the best place to work if you have a Type A personality. The work ethics aren’t on the same point, there is not much of a go-getter attitude and really hard work isn’t actually valued or rewarded. In fact looking around – and I’d say thanks to the media (well they are the eyes and ears of the people) – there aren’t many examples of how hard work, drive, ambition and dreams can turn into success, wealth and personal growth/satisfaction. Instead we have examples of how doing the least amount of work and a poor attitude can get you by, and in some cases also succeed (though those examples are marred with potential corruption and scandal and other unworthy characteristics).
So it’s easy to understand why a company, despite how long you have worked with them, despite how much business you have thrown their way, to still treat you with disrespect and try to con you in some way or another. The attitude of ‘I don’t care if I lose your future business because I’m going to exploit you today to make a killing’. The saying a bird in hand is worth two in the bushes is totally lost on business in Zambia – from my experience that applies to both small and large businesses.
Also the limiting ourselves nature of people. When did we stop dreaming? Where is the can do mentality? Initially I found it amusing when one of our employees couldn’t say where they wanted to be in five years, then I thought that maybe it was because they didn’t want to tell us if their plan was to move on. But the more I talk to people, the more I observe people, the more I realise that loads of people don’t have a plan past today – and that’s probably to get home to some food and TV.
I have big dreams that I can’t limit just because of my gender, or my age, or the country I’m in, that’s ridiculous. From the age of 10 I started dreaming that I wanted to win an Oscar (best film and best director), I may not have that dream anymore, but I never thought because I was a girl born and living in Zambia that it wasn’t possible. My dreams may have changed, but they’re still big. And therein lies my problem.
My loyalties mean that I don’t want to leave anyone behind as I continue to move forward in my life (read career), but what happens when you feel those very people are holding you back? You feel as I do, a condition prone to Type A personalities (so I read), and that’s stress and depression. And if you dig further (ok do more google searches) you realise that depression is simply latent anger, which could be a result of frustration (that part I’m guessing).
And then it makes me think. Is it that there are no dreamers, or ambitious people in Zambia? Or did the frustration and challenges around them kill them? To be honest I can see why getting home to food and TV can be a hell of a lot easier and comforting than constantly working against the tide.
We’ll see how this chapter plays out.