A group in Africa asked if I would speak at what they claim is the first multi-national consulting conference they were trying to hold. I told them I would, that the fee was $25,000, payable in advance, due at least 30 days prior to the event. The leader of the event was a woman who thought I would be a key draw.
I put the time aside: To appear for a single day would require six planes in total and four days of my time, if I decided not to sightsee. As the deadline approached, I warned her several times that I would not come if she missed the payment date. She assured me all was well.
The payment date came and went, and I heard nothing from her. I cancelled all my plans. More than a week later she tells me that she’s having trouble with local bureaucracy getting the sponsorship funds released, but that I should come because it’s only a matter of time. I told here the date was cancelled, but that if she could get the money to me we could choose another date, farther out, and do it correctly.
Three weeks later she still doesn’t have the money, wants me to come anyway, and is blaming me for backing out!
I told her to drop the victimhood mentality, which is beginning to strangle more and more people. She should have arranged for earlier sponsor payments, managed the bureaucracy better, and informed me the day of the deadline that she needed an extension. Now she’s worried about being embarrassed by my not coming, and demands to know why I need to be paid in advance anyway! (It’s obviously not for the rent, it’s to ensure commitment.)
I’m not the World Bank making loans to impoverished people. I’m a businessman who treats everyone as an equal, and expects professionalism reciprocated.
We all need to stop making ourselves victims, learn from our own mistakes, and improve our lives. I have great compassion and provide funds in a minute for the victim of a natural disaster. I have no sympathy for someone who is a victim by their own intent.
© Alan Weiss 2007. All rights reserved.