How I Assembled Ethics and Stumbled Onto a Higher Life Purpose
Family, Work, and Community: The journey so far and where you come in…
I am yet to come to terms with the fact that my now four-year-old came to this world in my absence. To reunite with my family, I had to resign from a decades-old teaching career that had seen me teach at tertiary institutions and the university initially at home and later abroad. The anxiety and hesitation to resign from teaching dimmed one day when my then almost-one-year-old daughter run away upon seeing me.
I remember the event as if it was yesterday. I was looking forward to holding my daughter aloft and giving her a peck after the long absence. The lingering memory is that of her, obviously scared of me, running away from my outstretched arms to her mom’s safety while wailing. It occurred to me that I had been absent for almost her entire first year. I decided to settle down where my family was.
With an education background in education and communication, consultancy came naturally buoyed by an increasing number of projects that came my way informally. I decided to formalize the private consultations by forming an organization to systematize and formalize the operations with the vision of growing organically into a limited liability global communication and research outfit.
The initial uncertainty was disconcerting but the risk level was low. The unregulated market, I came to learn, was saturated. Education and communication consultancies, especially in the technology era, are prone to attracting anyone regardless of background.
Every new day, as I sat behind my computer with my daughter playing somewhere in the house or under my desk, I came to realize that private consultancy is not for the faint hearted. The desire to be close to my family however kept me going. The savings that accrued from working from home, such as commuter and office expenses, eased the liquidity pressure at home.
Sooner, however, a few revelations sobered me up. I realized, for instance, that the market segments that I sought to serve were hidden behind high walls created largely by well-oiled mills of varied values. As a new entrant, sticking to your values was at the risk of being stonewalled. The alternative was to build your market, which I ultimately settled for.
With a young family to take care of and no income, this was a crossroad. The pressure for liquid cash meant that the initially apparent rational instinct was to join the party. Within the first month of operation, I already had a ‘regular’ client who would send endless tasks.
This client was essentially a broker who would who had a way of aggregating tasks from various sources and forwarding them to me. It was a content churning mill that seemed to cater for clients whose projects had either run late or were in need of urgent corrections. The scale of such operations, I came to realize, was impressive and enabled them to hijack search-engines-results in their favor.
The impersonal nature of the tasks was however not what I had envisaged of my consultancy. For three months, I was working round the clock, affording a few hours of nap per day. I was left with no time for my spirituality or social life even with my family.
Two things happened that led to a turn of events. One, during the second month of my engagement with my ‘regular’ client, an unusual task that involved researching ‘Pentecostalism and the Holy Spirit from the teachings of Jesus Christ,’ landed in my inbox. Secondly, the ‘regular’ client – rather broker – delayed the processing a contractual agreement we had agreed upon.
This was around that time when the international mainstream media started raising red flags accusing education and communication consultancies of helping students to cheat on their examinations and assignments.
The research on Pentecostalism and Holy Spirit, some 100 thousand words of original academic research at PhD level, was not the regular kind. Not many students of bible seemed eager to seek assistance from secular consultants. After all, the subject of God is not secular. The closest you could think about was philosophy.
However, the bible based research turned out to be spiritually and intellectually stimulating. Indeed, by the time I was midway, I would have done it for free in return for an opportunity for a personal contact with the owner of the work. Unfortunately, this was not possible in an impersonal work system that favored anonymity.
This particularly project marked a beginning of a personal transformation. The biblical research required more than intellectual inquiry and touched on the very essence of life – God. It was like God speaking directly to you and although I had been a practicing Pentecostal for all my Christian life, this time, God’s voice was louder.
After sending the final copy of the research, I terminated the relationship with the ‘regular’ client, owing to unfulfilled promises, and drew an ethical line to my consultancy. From then on, the concern was no longer the volume of projects at hand but on building mutual, possibly longer-term, and ethical relationships.
However, the impact of this particular research that left a deeper mark. My appreciation of relationship with God encountered a hitherto un-encountered and inexplicable spark. The effect on me is evident in the fact that, today, I am a volunteer minister at our local church, specializing in teaching about the Holy Spirit.
That may be beside the point – because I am not the first to volunteer to teach about the Holy Spirit in our church or any other church – but only if you omit my original idea of fulfillment in life. I never envisaged volunteering in a church beyond attending the regular Sunday service and the accompanying Sunday offering.
The effect of this transformation has galvanized the quality of my services. As a consultant, there is the satisfaction that derives from facilitating the development of life changing concepts and enabling a critical analysis of visions and strategies. As a volunteer, there is the satisfaction that emanates from serving others.
I recommend a grip on your spirituality and an enhanced family intimacy for a holistic appreciation of life and perseverance.
Despite missing on her day of birth, my daughter has not withheld her love and admiration and she remains my inspiration. Her determination to live her life without compromises inspires and motivates me.
When you choose to work with me in your project, I believe that I will deliver for you the benefits accruing from specialization and the wisdom accrued from a wide-ranging experience.