Pausing for a moment to smell the roses, my mentor spoke with a resound baritone, “If you become part of the financial conversation, then you’re subject to the dynamics of exchange and reciprocation.”
Compelled by my mentor’s ideas, I felt it was urgent for him to shed light on my future, so I asked him again, “What sort of job should I look for?”
He looked up into the sky and laughed. “None, I tell you. The last thing you want is a job.”
I felt my face redden and boil with irritation, “We both know that I’m not rich like you!”
Placing a gentle hand on my tense shoulder, my mentor assured me, “Please set aside the fear that’s feeding your anger, and listen,” he whispered kindly as I tried to compose myself. “You’re feelings indicate that you’re headed in the right direction. People who never experience these feelings spend their lives following someone else’s directions, rather than launching out on their own.”
“But am I not following your directions?” I asked gruffly.
“Not at all,” he said, waiving his hand in the air as if to erase the question from the sky. “I’m not giving you directions. I’m telling you the truth. You must direct yourself.”
“But why do you tell me not to have a job?” I persisted.
“Think about your acquaintances. Who has the most secure job?” he inquired.
“Why, Joe, I suppose. He’s been working at the local mill for years, and he’s such a dutiful worker that no one could imagine his dismissal.”
“Does Joe know the various aspects of the operation?”
After thinking a moment, I replied, “Joe does his work. He says other workers activities are none of his business.”
“Does Joe dream of managing the operation or aspire to a position beyond his present job?”
“I don’t think so. Recently, he said to me, ‘As long as I do my job and know my place, there will be food on the table for my wife and children.’”
My mentor sighed heavily for the first time since I’ve known him, “Chris, this is the result of having a job. People live with fear of losing their job and the thought of venturing beyond its confines seem impossible. Is Joe a happy man?”
“No more or less happy than anyone else.” I said, thinking ‘that’s not much.’ “He returns home weary after working at the tasks of his job all day. He’s told me on more than one occasion that he spends his workdays watching the clock and waiting for his time off.”
“This is what it means to have a job, Chris. Do you want to have a job and live like that?”
“No!” I exclaimed with a decisive answer that shocked myself. “But what else can I do?”
Chris Bryant is an American financial advisor.