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Lessons learnt the hard way

Aug 16 2012 13:38

MyFin24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Fin24 user Lorraine Wagner writes:

I AM the communications officer for the Southern African Bitumen Association and never dreamt that my career would take me down a "roadway  paved with bituminous products".

I grew up in Bonteheuwel during the 1970s and was part of the riotous youth who threw stones at passing cars in the name of anything.
However, I also had big dreams and big plans to make those dreams happen. You see, I wanted to be an air hostess.

More than anything in the world, I wanted to see the world as I knew in my heart that Bonteheuwel was not going to remain "my world".

It does remain that for so many people and I was determined not to be one of "them" (whatever that meant). 

When the situation at our local school became too fearful for my single parent dad, we decided it was time for me to leave school, find a job and add some cash to the weekly food budget.

In a roundabout way, I often wonder what made me so determined to pursue my dreams.

I was laughed at, mocked and ridiculed for wanting to be an air hostess. I knew that coloured people were not acceptable to SAA at the time but it did not occur to me that it was applicable to me.

Needless to say, I did land a job at SAA but as a ground hostess as my colour was still not right. I was even told that I would be earning less than my colleagues because of my colour.

Not even that bit of news deterred me in any way! What is money in relation to a dream come true anyway?

I loved working at SAA and remained there for two years until a pregnancy with twins forced me to make some life-changing adjustments.

Once firmly established as a mom, now with three children, I entered the corporate world again but this time I was clueless about a "career path".

I ended up working at a direct selling company for several years and attained most of my communications and administration skills during those years. I joined my current employer as a desktop publisher to produce a bi-monthly newsletter to subscribers.

This was something completely new and overwhelming for me as I had no formal qualification to do this. Scary stuff is what comes to mind now.

Here I am now, 16 years later in a position and an industry that I simply love. I cannot believe that one person can enjoy their daily grind so much and I count myself one of the luckiest woman around. 

Some of the lessons I have learnt over these years:
  • Your life will not have one path; it will have many. On each one you will learn something new. Learn that one thing.
  • All your dreams don’t come true. Some do, some were never meant to be dreamt in the first place. So get over it.
  • Read. Read. And read some more. It fills your mind with a world that is waiting to be enjoyed. Read and enjoy
  • Be grateful. Be thankful for every opportunity you are given. Life owes you nothing. Period.
  • Don’t job hop for a few rand. The old adage “a rolling stone gathers no moss” is still true despite what the experts say.
  • People are people. They have bad days and good ones just like you. You are not the centre of the universe. Know that.
  • Respect your co-workers. You need each one of them - including the tea girl and office cleaner.
So, that is my story for the day. I was simply in the mood to do this. Should you not be satisfied with my two cents worth of writing, I fully understand.

* Lorraine is the communications officer for the Southern African Bitumen Association.

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