Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What would you do?

There are many things that I generally don't post about here for fear of repercussions. I don't post about work and I don't usually write about family because out of context things can be misinterpreted which leads to misunderstandings which leads to fights... But something happened over the last few days and I can't quite decide whether I am overreacting or reasonably pissed off.

See, I have siblings, younger ones who all live back home and who all live with my parents. They're not children, they are all in their twenties, capable, smart individuals with it seems zero ambition. I want more than anything to be confident that they are looking forward and aspiring towards something because above all else, I despise complacency.

As a South African living in another country it is difficult for me to express this opinion without those living back home becoming upset because they feel that I can't possibly know how hard it is for them and I imagine that they think that it was so much easier for me when I was starting out. The thing is that whether it is harder or not is entirely irrelevant because the situation back home is what it is and only hard work and perseverance will change the circumstances. I have tried to help in any way that I can. I am adept at finding solutions, it is what I do so when a problem presents its self I make it my mission to find as many potential answers as I can but it seems that either they're inappropriate answers or they're just not welcome and this is where my dilemma comes in.

I have some very successful and capable friends back home, many of whom have built careers in a difficult economy and I recently heard about a vacancy working with one of these friends. To say it was a fantastic opportunity would be to put it mildly. A small, fun, successful organisation with strong community ties and an excellent track record for employee satisfaction. Perhaps naively I thought of the my oldest, younger sister. She has the skills, the ability and the reliability to make the most of the position and to turn it into something great. I immediately informed her of the position and suggested that she e-mail her CV across because I know that all 3 of them are 'looking' for jobs and that she especially would like to get back into work.

That was Monday and when I hadn't heard anything from her this morning I sent her a text asking what was happening. Her response was that she had decided not to send it and that she was going to try another company instead. It was around this time that I got really, really angry. I was angry not only at the fact that she hadn't let me or my friend know that she wasn't sending her CV but also that she was throwing something away with such amazing potential. In a scarce job market it is a real miracle to find a position opening up which has all the makings of a career and I just cannot get my head around why someone would turn that opportunity down especially when they have no firm prospects to speak of.

Up until that point I think I had every right to be angry and to express that anger but unfortunately I did what I do, I took it too far. I was so frustrated, annoyed and embarrassed that I involved my parents and went so far as to say that I am done helping any of them (the kids). With hindsight perhaps this was unfair, they are after all adults now, fully capable of making their own decisions but I just don't see any evidence that they are and it really scares me because life is passing them by and they'll be 30 before they realise it has happened.

It is possible that they may read this, and they may get angry in return (if they aren't already, I think my parents were planning on 'talking' to them this evening) and I don't want there to be anger between us but I also don't want them to think that it is ok to continue as they are. Is it wrong to want to be proud of them? To be able to look at them and think that they have fought and cried and deserved everything that they have? The sad truth is that right now I am not proud of them and that really breaks my heart.

I am sure that there are those who will think that I am being to harsh and they may be right but the point is not that I want them to be rich or successful but rather that they are exposing themselves to risk, to life, to lessons rather than cruising along the path of least resistance.



Anonymous said...

I get 100% where you're coming from, it hurts to think that your siblings could be doing so much better if only they'd stick their neck out and try!

I'm like that with my sisters and travel, I don't get why they don't want to see the world, why they don't want to experience things, surely that's what life is about?

Anonymous said...

I would be plenty angry too. My sister is unmotivated and has a whole host of problems. I have given up thinking she will ever do anything with her life. It is a lot less stressful to just know she's not going to do anything than to try to come up with unwanted solutions. Aren't families fun?