Monday, 11 May 2009

It's Just Business...

I am a born leader. I was born to do business, climbing that ladder in my black pint-stripped Versace suit and patent leather Prada pumps, ruling with an iron-fist. That much I know for sure.
It all began when I was an itty-bitty baby. Unlike regular babies, I didn’t like my rattle and preferred to play with my Dad’s and the business’ safe keys. It’s like I knew from then on what I was meant to do. At a later stage, as a toddler, Mother used to dress me in Corduroy pants and with my short hair, I looked like a boy going to work. My pierced ears were the only indication that I was in fact female. Fast forward a couple of years, before I began schooling, and my only toys were books, Lego and magnetic marbles while every other female was playing with Barbie, Ken and her Malibu Beach house.

Mother used to recite tales of Peter Rabbit and his friends and their escapades in the English country-side. I used to love those stories. And no matter how they ended, the moral was always the same: make and save lots of money. If Peter Rabbit stole a carrot and he shouldn’t have, Mother would say that the moral was to make and save lots of money so that I’d never have to steal. If Peter Rabbit’s mother was ill, the moral of the story was to make and save lots of money so that I can pay cash for Mother’s hospital bills. If Peter Rabbit was baking a pie, the moral was to check the price of pastry before buying because it could be cheaper to just make it…allowing me to save more money. If Peter Rabbit was taking a walk in the woods, the moral of the story was not to waste time on trivial and idle pursuits and do something constructive that makes lots of money, to be saved.

In primary school, Mother encouraged us to hone our entrepreneurial skills by selling home-made sweets to other 10 year old kids. With a generation gap between us, we managed to secure a competitive advantage over the emerging competitive sweet selling market and secured the majority of a loyal consumer base, which eventually protected us from bankruptcy and subsequent liquidation.

In our house, contracts and affadavits were common. In high school, my entrepreneurial skills were once again required when it became obligatory for every Grade 11 student to make a total of R100-00 over an entire year to pay for the Matric Farewell of the preceding generation of Grade 12’s. I remember everyone in class selling something. Some sold sweets, other’s sold little chocolates for 50 cents to other Grade 11’s. Being one of only two females from a somewhat Oriental background, I decided to capitalize and learnt to make Samoosa’s. I sold them for R5-00 per half dozen every morning at the school gate and they were usually sold out in 10 minutes. Eventually, I got a little lazy and recruited students in every grade to do my bidding for me. My deal with each of them was that they could sell at any price they wished, as long as I made R5-00 off every half dozen sold. My impromptu plan worked and the orders poured in. I worked tirelessly, making hundred of dozens of Samoosa’s every day after school to dispatch to my little agents in the morning. A few companies in the area heard of my little business venture and also placed their orders daily. I made a fortune, thousands…much more than all the kids in the entire 11th Grade put together. My agents managed to reap similar benefits too.

It was in my second year at University that I snagged a full-time job with the Private Investigating Firm in Johannesburg, thanks to Mother and all her Chinese Mafia connections. Actually this particular connection was a personal friend and my Mother, who worked in the Special Investigations Team at a huge corporation as a Forensic Analyst at the time, managed to ask for a personal favour and he happened to be the CEO. So nepotism aside, I managed to work my ass off juggling a full-time job and my full-time studies and a few hours here and there day dreaming with SAA’s fleet and every other airline on the rooftop of C-Les. I must have been one of the only students working and studying full time. And every single penny went towards my Varsity fees and books since debt and student loans were not an option, not if Mother had it her way.

I’ve since had over 23 jobs, in the span of 5 years…in almost every major corporation you can think of. I’ve worked at all levels, learning, observing, taking in as much as I can. I’ve learnt things in the past 5 years that would have ordinarily taken 25 years to learn. I’ve become immune to things like being nervous in job interviews and my confidence sometimes intimidates the one interviewing me. I can walk into any corporation and within a matter of days point out everything that’s wrong in their operations as well as everything can be improved upon.

This is undeniably what I was meant to do. I perform at my peak in authority. I rule with an iron-clad fist. I am a born leader, respected by all including that bald guy and that really old one that sits in the boardroom with me. I will make my money and save it too. After all, I’ve been working my entire life.

I’d still trade everything for Island life though.

12 comments:

  1. I know I'm lazy but this just put it into a whole new perspective.

    I have a blog topic for you > What drives you?

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  3. I know you not in HR but I need a new job in finance....PLEASE HELP

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  4. Hmm! Yeah! This is what I love about you Azra.. ur unflinching belief in self and your energy! May you always carry this momentum in your life. Hat off to you for sure :)

    And btw, I just took on kays tag and did a Peter Rabbit :P

    Twas the firstest book I ever read/took out of the library.

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  5. So how much did you make and save?!

    (I haven't held a single full-time job as yet. In the middle of my second internship, which is the closest I've been to actually working..)

    Nice samosa story :)

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  6. i love your energy woman!

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  7. Darn, wish i'd known you before I scattered the ashes of my cardmaking/loveletter-writing/sticker-selling empire over playground puddles:)

    I hope I can somehow channel an ounce of your spirit in my ventures going forward.

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  8. You sound VERY formidable!

    I like that.

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  9. azy baby, this entry sounds like the personal statement of a potential Apprentice (here) candidate..:p

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  10. wow! i need to learn from you!
    Looking forward to seeing you become a CEO of a blue-chip company

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  11. Mash - Work Smarter, Not Harder is my moto :)
    I'll do the whole "what drives me" soon.

    Mini - Where are you situated? And do you have any qualifications/work experience of note? I can always try to help...

    KS - Peter Rabbit was the best. I think I'll go out and buy them for me. I dont think it will be intellectually stimulating but at least I'll remember some good times :D
    PS. I will do your tag shortly :)

    Arslan - I dont know exact amounts because my Accounting skills sucked back then too :P I'm guessing it was around 6000 SA Rands, which was alot back then and considering the short time span...maybe more.
    My current job is the second full time permanent job I have. I contracted for years. It's the best way to learn.

    AD - Thanks :)

    Saaleha - I'm sure you'll do great, you're halfway there already. I always ask myself, "Whats the worse that could happen?" And the answers are always that I'll fail or will run at a loss...but thinking about it that way minimises it because I reckon as long as I'm not losing limbs its fine. And even when I do fail, something else always crops up...I've realised a wonderful thing recently: Life Goes On. No matter what happens. And it always works out in the end. Good Luck on the future endeavours and InshaAllah, it will all just fall into place.

    LL - lol, even when I was a teeny little girl with my wild curls I used to envision myself in a sleek black suit, driving an Audi!

    Sofi - I'm enduring my own personal apprentice at NWU :) The only snag is that there is no prize money...These group projects become very trying though.

    Beebs - I don't know if I want to be a CEO...honestly I dont know if I want all that responsibility. But who knows :)

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