Opinion

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Everybody deals with opportunity differently

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Firstly there are of course those that can but won’t, which in many ways is often more disappointing than those that want to but can’t.

Then there are those whom you invest considerable time and effort nurturing and supporting, like you would a gentle spring bloom, and who then somehow or other seem to not only take such care for granted, but also seem determined to throw such support back in your face.

Not that anyone truly interested in staff development is looking for hearts and flowers but even the most stoic of us like to see some little signs of appreciation.

I have been most fortunate as I have, over the years, “home grown” some super stars and I share in their successes as in some small way I know I have helped them on their way. But no basket is without its bad eggs and it’s a sad fact that there will always be someone that somehow always finds a way to disappoint.

Common sense says you should rejoice in those that rise to the challenge and recognise the opportunity. Those that have picked up the baton and run towards the finish line whilst you cheer them on. And I do, I really do.  

But the ones that linger in my soul eating away nibble by septic nibble are the people that have been given not just one chance not even a dozen chances but often scores of opportunities. And despite everyone’s best endeavours they tip every given chance on the cold black Tarmac and then blame everyone but themselves for any resulting fall out.

I am not in the habit of looking after the fallen and the desperate. I neither have the skills, desire or personality but what I don’t do, is give in easily, and like to think at least till proven wrong that not everything works first or even third time, be that people or projects.

I was a very slow starter.

A difficult childhood meant I didn’t start to show shoots of ambition or ability until I was in my late teens and that was in no small way due to a very special teacher at the technical college. I had ended up as a school failure and my teacher saw in me something no one else had ever bothered to identify and what’s more took the effort to tell me.

But even then for all my so called success I don’t believe I ever felt I had started to make my mark till I was late into my fourth decade.

No career comes without the odd hurdle and worse, but what I have never lost sight of is the support I have had from those friends, family and colleagues who supported me through every bump and hole along the way, even when I haven’t asked for such support and sadly on occasion not even recognised it as such, even when given gladly.

This self-reflection has enabled me to realise that everyone deals with opportunities in different ways and such realisations of those who have helped you along your way can sometimes take a little longer to be realised, and therefore I would like to now take the opportunity to make a special delayed thank you to my teacher for setting me on the right path 35 years ago.

Jo Haigh is head of FDS corporate finance services and the author of ‘The Keys to the Boardroom – How to Get There and How to Stay There’.

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