12 Nov The Empire of Blood, Sweat and Tears
I get that people need to have some level of aggression in business. But there’s a trend that I’m seeing more and more especially being here in the big city. Whereby ‘entrepreneurs’ use and abuse people at will just to get ahead. Feels like modern day black-on-black slavery. There’s a breed of people that are so privileged and they feel that everybody else was put on this earth to serve them. I’m into the arts and for me that can’t work because as an artist I’d like to eat the fruits of my labour.
‘Intern’ is now an equally dirty word as ‘volunteer.’ Where you do your full-time work for a token of allowance at the end of the month. The underlying assumption being that interns have nothing, no property, no car so what would you possibly do with a full pay check? Umunt’ omnyama kafuni ukubona umunt’omnyama esiyaphambili. This one guy (name withheld) had this to say about attachés, “Why should we pay attachés? They are learning from us so they should be the one paying the organisation.” This is the kind of thinking that sinks ships.
My piece of advice to all the ‘interns’ that are interns way after attachment, (I stopped to laugh) how is one an intern after they receive their degree? Only in Zimbabwe. Anyway, always have something written down. Verbal agreements are your biggest undoing. Spoken words are like smoke, they vanish the moment they are spoken. I get that once in a while you’d wanna have fun and volunteer somewhere that won’t give you monetary benefits but there’s other benefits but not every opportunity is worthy of your time. I digress. Unemployment is rife, true, and this further aggravates the ‘volunteerism’ syndrome in hopes of being employed. Most Zimbabwean artists are being crippled financially by the same syndrome under the guise of getting ‘exposure.’ I suck at math, but the promoters can’t charge at the door and not have money to pay you. Isn’t that what the people paid for? To see you on stage?
Karma is also an entrepreneur and she always comes back to settle old debts. You can’t build an empire on other people’s blood, sweat and tears. When you mistreat the people that work for you, it’s only a matter of time before they rebel against you and your vision. The sabotage will be an inside job. Kindness to your employees breeds loyalty. This team will stick with you through thick and thin because of how well you treat them. Your employees are your biggest PR and what do you think they are saying about you in their circles? People’s perception of you in business is important, don’t be that boss that’s synonymous with debts, ill-treatment and not paying wages. The arts industry is tiny and no one will work with you. I guess it’s lonely both at the top and the bottom.