He was neither stupid – not incompetent. An unemployed and educated manager – who had worked at Trade Centre and Mr. Price – he sat looking at his son, in deep depression.
He had to support and educate his child – but he could not find a job. Companies which he had applied to, did not respond – in any way. Too old, he said – at 40.
I spoke to him. Asked him to list his skills. As a salesman and manager he had many. I then asked him who he knew and what they did. He knew many people.
I then asked him to think like an entrepreneur. What opportunities could he find amongst his contacts and people that he will still meet. He found numerous possibilities. We evaluated his resources – limited but he had a phone and could get connected for free at the local library.
He looked up, and smiled and said. “I need to stop looking for a job. I can sell anything. I am great at customer care. If I focus on linking customers to sellers – I can make a lot of money.”
This is only a starting point in helping him to change his way of thinking, And to build his ability to see and take opportunities. It was awesome to watch as the depression lifted, and light came into his face.
The main reason for his depression – is that he was stuck in a box built by his education and upbringing.
School children are in educational sausage factories – primed to produce workers! Yes, our children are being programmed to be part of the labour force – in a job market that may not even exist when they leave the premises.
When I asked the interviewer at DHS (Durban High School) what they did to develop an entrepreneurial mindset amongst their learners. He looked confused for a while – and then almost triumphantly said, “We have a two week business programme in Grade 11!”
Two weeks – in 5 years? At one of the most prestigious public schools, in Durban? And it is only part-time! That is less than 1% of the 200 weeks they will be under the influence of that school.
And then – parents play their role. “Find a job my child. You are ok, when you have a job, we say!”
And there many of us sit – living from month-to-month.
With available technology and a few skills – there are so many possibilities!
We must get our children into an entrepreneurial way of thinking, from a very early age. And help them to start their own businesses whilst they are still in school!