Picture the good Lord – in brilliant white robes like burning magnesium – standing next to ravishing Golden Gates holding a paper that shines like the sun. That paper gleams like the cheques you are supposed to give me after I complete your assignment. Penned on that paper in indelible golden ink is a list of names that will join an eternal choir: a choir who will massage God’s ego with songs of praise for the rest of eternity without a break. The Lord had instructed that if you don’t hear your name, then your eternity (a really long vacation people take after they die) will be spent in a sea of fire. And you shall burn in this molten sea without dying (because you cannot kill what is already dead).
God has been calling out names for the last many years. But none of those names is yours. Then He looks up and peers through His glasses (like how your old-fashioned high school English teacher did) and says, “Two more names to go!” I know you like to be tough but here, dear client, you panic and shed tears. I wanted to say you are sweating profusely then I figured that “profusely” doesn’t even come close to describing the gushes of sweat coming out of your pores. We could make a big permanent river, with waterfalls and marine life – that empties into a large ocean.
Your expectations are so high, literally. High like when you come to me for something you want done. You want to go to heaven. Just like how you want your work to be what your competitors look up to. Singing forever like a bird is certainly better than burning for ever like lava trapped in a mountain. God has already called out one of the last two names. The whole world is silent. Breaths held. Teeth biting on nails. Tension. Your grown husband has pissed in his pants. You don’t care that one of you will not go to heaven.
Because I am the author of this story, dear client, I determine your fate. Whether you burn for the rest of your life or you massage ego in bliss. I know you think it is an easy decision, but it is not. I don’t want you to go heaven. You always delayed and delayed and delayed further with my payments. But I also don’t want you to go to hell, because my mother taught me to always wish people well. But then you can’t remain on earth because you will be lonely. Here is why the decision is tough:
When you wanted me to work for you, I did not resist. I sacrificed my time, bought into your vision and adjusted my way to fit your needs. I sacrificed time with my wife and kids to give you my best. I broke promises and severed friendships so that I could service you. I delayed other projects to make time for you. Some I even cancelled. Yet they were better than yours. I worked both my brain and my ass off for you. I dedicated part of my life to your service. That, dear client is a BIG DEAL.
Perhaps you do not understand what value I add(ed) to you life. Let me paint you a picture. By sharing my skills with you, I contributed to your wealth. You made more money because of the work I did for you. When you have money, your office stays open because you can pay for your permit, rent, electricity, water bills etc. Your son does not go to bed hungry and your daughter can go to school tomorrow because you paid her school fees and for the bus that picks her up. In fact, you can afford to promise your son an Xbox One because you know you can buy it. And you do.
There’s more. Because of the value I contribute to your life, your spouse is happy (if money and luxuries are what give s/he peace). Your marriage is sort of stable because you can provide. You have a car and your friends think you have made it. In fact, you have two cars. With money, you have soft power. You can call shots, even if just a few. That makes you feel good. Felling good is value.
There is a lot more I could mention. Like the fact that you got more big jobs based on the job I did for you. Or you made enough money to buy off one of your competitors. I also know that you took a vacation with a ‘personal assistant’ who did more than ordinary personal assistants do. If you had no money, you would not have had all that good sex. And we must admit, sex is good no?
But, when I quoted, you bargained. When I invoiced, you completely ignored and prioritised my invoice less. When I sent follow up emails, you read and ignored. Some you even deleted. When I called your phone, you did not pick. When you picked, you fed me flimsy excuses and empty promises. When I sent you WhatApp messages, you blue -ticked. You delayed with my payments for many months. Sometimes years. And they were small payments. Yet you came to me with heavy “community of practice” language and strict timelines. You came to me with emergencies and lots of crisis. You came to me whenever you needed me. I was always there to give you the best I could. I gave you the best solutions at the cheapest prices. Yet you still bargained at the discount. I introduced you to my friends and organised good deals for you. I made you happy. Happy at a very cheap cost. Yet you still failed to pay me.
I don’t know whether you understand why you pay me, but it is for more or less why you get paid. Would you go for a month without your salary? How about to months? 24 months? No. You life would come different and difficult. That is how mine is. I park my car to use a jav because I cannot afford fuel yet you are in the process of buying your new Landcruiser 150.
I like when I check my bank account and find money in it. For a moment it makes me feel like I can sit at the same table with Warren Buffet and his peers. Of course discussing our next philanthropy endeavour because we don’t just have money, we are money! The money you pay me turns me into a musician: writing and singing songs of praise for your kindness! With your payment, my back straightens from its hunch. Please, contractors, pay your vendors!