The way Olivia Pope in the TV series “Scandal” handled people’s problems got me wanting to be just like her. Well, I only took the concept of being a fixer and not all the other unethical and illegal practices (chuckles). I then embarked on my tax journey and I became a fixer in my own way and in my own little world, providing simplified tax solutions. I also had to read a lot but I was enjoying it. I did what I did and I was growing at the pace I could. It was beautiful!
It was mostly roses and a few thorns, until a time that someone crushed my spirit and told me I was nothing. They made me believe that I was dumb and didn’t know anything about tax. Talk about the millions in penalties that I single-handedly saved some companies, some of my clients flew in from SA, even from Belgium and many calls from abroad to thank me for the work I was doing. Yes, as small and insignificant as I was, I was serving international clients. Yes, it wasn’t perfect practice or advice but I was learning and growing and serving my clients. I had good oversight from my mentor who was always there and ready to help.
I soon forgot about it all. I started to internalise and meditate on the fact that I wasn’t good enough and this led me to being indifferent about how I did my work. I stopped putting my best foot forward, I wouldn’t even do the work because my English wasn’t good enough. It would be changed anyway, all of it, so why bother? I began to feel like I know nothing such that a simple question like: “Are the groceries I bought for my family tax deductible?” yielded no answer from me, I began to second-guess myself even on things I knew. My confidence and self-esteem started evaporating.
One thing led to another and I dreaded going to work. I couldn’t wait to come home and do my personal tax studies because that excited me. Waking up in the morning literally depressed me knowing that I’m going to that office. We celebrated whenever someone was absent from work and guess what, they are the kind that are rarely absent. I would let my mind drift away each time that person spoke, I had to find a way to cope. I even thought of changing departments but unfortunately for me my blood is tax, how could I even do that? I thought I was the only one greatly affected until I realised that some people were quite uncomfortable and felt more or less like I did. We started a support group to encourage each other everyday so that we could go on. Sometimes, we would just meet and let out our frustrations, it helped. The workplace could really be a stress trigger because you are constantly reminded by a person you look up to that you’re really nothing.
I soon realised that this person had nothing nice to say about anything. He would always criticise everything and then try to make it look like it matters and it’s a good thing. We never heard that, all we heard were the criticising remarks. It’s so true that people rarely leave an organisation but a manager. This was me, ready to leave because I couldn’t handle it. That’s when I began to tell myself that there had to be other options. I started searching for alternatives and hoping I’d find one. Well, what happened after that is a story for another day.
I cried and asked God to help me. I went to the Fixer because I knew He could fix it and this is what happened.
- I reminded myself daily to believe only the truth because people’s “facts” don’t define me.
- I looked ahead and kept moving because God is taking me to my promised land. These giants in the way shouldn’t frighten me.
- God reassured me, letting me know that I know what I’m doing and I do it uniquely. This restored my self-confidence, I started working more with people that allowed me to make mistakes and I found that I learnt better and began to grow.
- I only have to find my strength and inspiration in Him. The naysayers don’t have a place in my life. I shouldn’t allow anybody’s words to bring me down. I should literally block them out when they come. I learnt to hold my shield up every time the naysayers showed up.
- I remembered that I am good enough for me, not the next person. I have the right skills and qualifications for my job so no one can take from me what I earned. And yes, I will remain the Tax Bae.
- I also spoke out. I told my superior I didn’t like being vilified and that I was human and had feelings. I took back my power.
Kwaze kwanzima (It was so hard)EXTRACT FROM POWER BY AMANDA BLACK.
Kodwa ixesha liyaphilisa (But time heals)
I’m gonna fight back, oh
Not gonna give up, oh
I’m gonna rise up
I’m gonna stand up, yeah
Take back my power
Sometimes, we are overwhelmed with the treatment we get from some of our superiors in the workplace. Let’s not aspire to be like them but let’s become leaders who will nurture the next generation and allow them to express themselves and grow. They will definitely be different from us because the world keeps changing, we also have to embrace that change when the time comes. Let’s work towards being better leaders. This is what we always spoke about in our support group. We found ways to help each other learn and become leaders and not just managers.
Be an inspiration to the next generation. You can’t change a person but you can inspire change in them. It’s not good practice to impose your ways on everyone, the diversity and inclusion of everyone’s unique qualities is what makes a good team succeed.
Cheers to greater leadership from our generation! We also applaud those above us who have shown us what real leadership is, thank you.
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