There seems to be a particular theme to my blog this last couple of weeks. As the spirit leads so I write!
Before I start… I was actually seriously contemplating joining a creative writing club or even doing a degree in creative writing. Not because I think I am great at writing but because I know I need serious help writing! I am someone who is very good with numbers and love working with numbers, however, I got deceived at the beginning of my career that tax was all about numbers. Lies! Lol six years into my career and t is more about writing and translating the tax legislation into “English” than numbers! So for someone who struggles to write concisely, it is not an ideal job! One of my development areas from feedback at work is to improve on my writing style, learn to write more concisely and so on and so forth. I guess it’s better than saying I am not technical enough. To cut the long story short, I am looking for ways to improve my writing. I started researching into creative writing classes and so far I have seen mixed reviews. Anyway, until then, I will practice on your guys, watch this space.
Rewind to Tuesday last week when one of my directors at work told me I am very enthusiastic, but I still need a lot of help! Thanks! Talk about giving a compliment and taking it back with both hands. Once again, his comment was based on my writing. He asked for two paragraphs and I gave him a page! I know it’s easy to point fingers and say you this Angel sef.. Why? But tax is complicated! There was so much to say and two paragraphs was not enough. You now see why I say I need help with my writing!
So back to the subject matter. My aim today is to once again encourage someone out there. I blogged previously about how working hard would usually lead to success. What I would like to cover in this blog is the fact that, no matter how successful you are, someone somewhere (or should I assume people) will still not understand you, appreciate you or even compliment you for what you have achieved. Howeve, don’t take it personal, you have options. You could either brush it off and ignore it, consider the comment momentarily and decide if it is constructive or not and finally, dwell on it and ruin your mood!
I recently had to travel to Munich for an international tax training with work. At the training, I met colleagues from overseas offices of my firm. Colleagues from Frabce, Germany, Poland, Netherlands, Japan, Luxembourg, Russia, Ukraine and the United States were present. Everyone was very lovely and equally tax geeks so I felt right at home. We had dinner together every night and then lectures and case studies during the day. During one of the case studies, one of the facilitators sprung it on us that she will pick on one person from four countries o do a presentation on the controlled foreign company (CFC) rules in their country. The UK CFC rules are complicated to say the least and I did the maths, as the only person from the UK I knew it would have to me.
So she called the only guy from the US, as we weren’t given a chance to prepare, it wasn’t as smooth as it could be. I knew I was next so I flipped through the slides to give me an idea of what was coming. Then she called me to give my presentation. I tried to break it down as much as possible and to make it interactive especially as i knew that English was not the majority of them’s first language. I eventually finished and after lecture, we all met for dinner as usual. So many of my colleagues came to me to tell me how amazing my presentation was and how I must be a CFC expert. I just laughed and said thank you. Then the facilitator came to me to tell me she was very impressed with my presentation, especially as it was no planned. I told her thank you as well. Of course, as my head had been swelling, someone was bound to put a pin in it.
After dinner, we all went out for drinks at the Hofbrauhaus. The Hofbrauhaus is like a big German Pub with the waiters and waitresses wearing traditional German outfit and the beers are served in huge 1 litre beer mugs. I am not a beer person so I went for the half beer half lemonade which wasn’t too bad. Anyway, after several huge mugs of beer, people were getting tipsy and then drunk. I decided it was time for me to go back to the hotel as I was tired and we were due to all go back to our respective countries the next day. One of the facilitators convinced me to wait for another half an hour and then we will all go together. That was how I ended sitting next to one of the Polish guys. He started a conversation talking about how he likes talking to English people because he can practice his English. At this point I could tell he was utterly drunk. He then went on to say, I am very sorry, I don’t mean to be rude but I did not understand a word you said during your presentation. I think it was your accent. You have a very strong African accent. I had to rewind my brain to the moment of the presentation and started wondering how people knew to laugh at the right time if they truly couldn’t understand me. At this point I didn’t even know what to say to him. I had to be professional so I apologised to him for his difficulty in understanding my strong African accent! When I mentioned it to the facilatator on the walk home, he was so shocked that the Polish guy said that and then he burst out laughing and told me not to listen to him.
Of course, as a human with red blood running through my veins, I pondered on his words for longer than I should have, and wondered what I could have done differently to help him understand my presentation. I eventually concluded that I truly cannot make everybody happy. More people said they found it useful, animated and enjoyable than the one person that said he didn’t understand me. I decided to count my losses and let it go.
Is there any negative comment you are dwelling on? Don’t dwell on it for much longer. Free yourself, mind and time to focus on more productive things. Of course, constructive comments should always be taken on board!