I don’t know whether this following sharing is LogBlog worthy, but I have been struggling with an uneasiness for some time which primarily arose from my endeavor in doing a business with a certain few people. And here is a brief tale of it.
“Hey, I’m quitting. I don’t want to do this anymore. Just let me leave in peace. Thank you.”
That was the text message I sent to my HR personnel to tell her that I was done with the company. The next morning when I woke up, there were 64 missed calls on my phone. Some peace that was.
Well, they didn’t exactly let me leave so easily. I had to clear things up first, but that was expected. So I’ll be taking some time this week to clear things up and do some handing over. Why the decision to leave then, you may ask.
As some of you may have already known, I took this holiday to start a company with an acquaintance I met during the term. You may have known or experienced my optimism with the company. How I could finally do something big, something more than myself, and of course how I could make money. Potentially a lot of money.
As with all startups, we first have to raise funds to do all our noble work. Thus, the plan was for us to individually trade our way to financial success, with our ‘mentor’ guiding us. Within days, I noticed that our ‘mentor’ was not guiding us, but rather just leaving us to deal with the trades ourselves. He essentially was always speaking in retrospect, i.e. I told you so, even though he never did. He never once guided us through a trade, and the only topic of conversation when he was around was himself. Of course I was irked, but everyone else seemed to think otherwise.
There were other tell tale signs about his character, but I will not disclose them here online. But essentially, I chose to ignore them and carried on with the company.
How the company was making money was that the company took a share of the winning trades, and the losses were marred with the people who did them. So if everyone was doing well, which was supposed to be the case, we’d get more from the company. All losses were individual liabilities, while all profit was shared.
The truth of the matter is that some people have been suffering losses in the thousands. The ‘mentor’ always pressured us to take on unnecessary risk. Obviously I sometimes caved in to the pressure, and of course lost money. But I knew not to lose my head, because I have had prior trading experience. However, soon, some people were beginning to lose in the thousands under his ‘leadership’ – his extremely bigoted, narcissistic and obviously misguiding leadership.
As CFO, I knew the situation in its entirety. The company was obviously in a sound financial position. But I also knew that people were losing a lot of money, blindly believing that this absurd losing was integral in the path of financial success. These people were losing money and I was feeding off whatever little gains they had. Isn’t that business?
Obviously the situation pricked my conscience. I wished for the situation to improve on their part. I tried to talk to them to tell them to try to stand for themselves. But I knew that was very hard, because our dear CEO aka ‘mentor’ was extremely domineering as well. He was the ‘smartest, bravest, and bestest’ of us all right? Bulls**t.
I distanced myself from trading with them, doing my own trading. I skipped company meetings, and trading sessions. But I did their accounts for them. To cut a long story short, the final straw came when despite knowing the extent of our personal losses, our dear leader still had the audacity to court new investors promising exceptional returns from learning to trade under him.
I’m leaving this company relatively unscathed. And I thank God for that. Had I not stood my ground nor my guts, I might have been in a very bad and compromising position. There were warning signs that I had chose to ignore, but the weight on my conscience was really too much. I thought about my partners’ financial position. One of them who came into this project with the same dreams and aspirations as I, but clearly in a worse financial state than I, currently have outstanding losses of about seven thousand dollars. The weight on my conscience, the knowing of the whole situation in its entirety and yet not being able to do anything about it, and of course the lousy and tedious and demoralizing accounting – all have contributed to my decision in leaving. And of course the uneasiness within me has been lifted.
There are a few lessons that I take away from this endeavour.
1) Trust your gut, and do not ignore the warning signs when dealing with people
2) Listen to your conscience; it may be the only thing leading you to doing what’s morally right, even though everything else may be legally right.
3) What is in a title? CFO, CEO? Over glorified additions to a name to give one self a bigger ego.
4) Pray. Pray for discernment to make the right decision. I spent quite a few nights pondering over this, before finally making the decision. Almost immediately, all my uncertainties were lifted, and a resounding peace remained.
Raphael just wants to endeavor in everything. He thinks he may have found his niche in trading and music, but he truly enjoys once in a while a diversion from the well-trodden path and exploring the deep dark forest.