Swimming amongst the sharks

When you leave the Mothership you can find yourself bobbing around in some pretty stormy waters. You’re splashing around, trying to keep your head above water and figure out which direction to start swimming in and it feel rather dangerous. But that’s not all because, whether you’ve realised or not, there are sharks in water and they are starting to take an interest in you.

You see, you are just what they are looking for. You’ve got plenty of meat on you, with that nice redundancy package and those savings you’ve built up. You’re probably not in great shape, either, battered and bruised from the way you left the Mothership and emotionally fragile. You’re not going to put up much of a fight. Easy pickings.

So, who are these sharks, then? You can’t see any.

It’s the outplacement company that want you to pay them few thousand for a programme that won’t meet your needs but will give you an amazing cv that nobody will read.

It’s the ‘consultants network’ of ‘director level people’ that will sign you up for ten thousand or so and put you in touch with other ‘like minds’. They won’t actually deliver any business to you but you will have an accreditation that no-one recognises and some nice events to go to.

It’s the company that will licence their ‘technology’ to you for ten to twenty thousand and train you to deliver something you could put together yourself off of the internet. It’s not bad material, it’s just that not many companies actually want to buy it. Only they don’t mention that, or the fact that they have flooded the market in your area because, well, their business is selling licences, not making their licensees successful.

It’s the franchise company that will sign you up to their system that *can* deliver you six-figure annual earnings – if you do exactly as they say for the next 5 years. Starting with paying them tens of thousands of pounds for the franchise, which makes you a sales person with revenue targets that they have set. Only they didn’t quite put it like that when they were telling you what a great life it was going to give you and you didn’t read the small print very closely. If, and often when, you fail to hit target, they terminate your franchise without a refund – but if you are lucky, they’ll release you from the ongoing payments.

And, worst of all, are the ‘get rich quick’ boys, the ‘millionaire entrepreneur’ clubs, the ‘billionaire business’ schemes. They lure you in with free weekends and then upsell you an unrealisable dream that’s always just one more product away. “If only you came to the all week intensive in Bali, only 25,000 pounds”. These are the vampire sharks, once they’ve got their teeth into you then they’ll bleed you dry.

“Don’t worry”, you say, “they won’t get me. I can spot them a mile off and I can swim away”.

Only the thing about sharks is that they have such big smiles. And not many people are smiling at you at the moment. So you think, “well, maybe they’re friendly, maybe they’ll be nice to me” because you are all alone in this big, stormy sea and you desperately want someone to be nice to you.

And they are nice, for a while. Just until you have let them get close enough to bite you.

Think I’m being cynical? Well, I’ve got the bite marks that prove differently.

Swimming with sharks is dangerous. Keep as far away from them as you can.

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