What to do when things go wrong

I had a teacher who was real. A term to the final high school exams, she would tell us that all our reading was for nought. She said that our respective grades would not veer far from what we had been averaging by that time. No miracles. Can you say she was wrong? People do not change. Don’t fight it, they do not.

Unfortunately, we do not like hearing the facts laid out like this. We prefer to listen to the flowery language. The reason for this is that we wish for some shortcut to success, happiness and fulfillment. It is not wrong to try and be clever, by the way. But reassuring ourselves with the good narratives creates a feeling of accomplishment, in our heads, ahead of the fact.

Truth is that all the things that will leave you rooted are pretty dull. Just think of all the important unsexy aspects of life. For example, if you actually save then you are a boring person. Don’t fight it, it is true. If you run an efficient business then you fit the description of a bad boss in some quarters.

Another boring matter that most do not think about is risk management. You may believe that you can avoid ill by doing the right thing all the time. You can do the right thing all the time and still be victim to misfortune. This is not an excuse for you to never accept blame again. Neither is it scare-mongering you to never make a move again.

Your most valuable asset

What you hope most is that the misfortune does not happen to you or your dependents. If your business takes a nose dive, it can come back. If it does collapse, you have our permission to cry, rant, break windows and glasses but do make a comeback.

If you were to fall seriously ill or be involved in an accident, that is different. Investopedia describes you as your most valuable asset. All this time we thought it was stock; we do not know everything. You are valuable because of your capacity and potential to be productive and to earn income. A major ailment or accident can end your ability to do this. Can you imagine what the repurcussion would be for you? Your children? Your partner?

Since this is a business website, let us pay attention to the financial strain of such a circumstance. We do not wish it for you. But you need solid contingency plans. The last thing needed is another episode of “my friends abandoned me when I needed them most.”

Loice Wanjohi understands this – the contingency part not the fake friends part. She is a teacher and was in need of a medical procedure. Loice could not have a child, naturally, because her fallopian tubes were damaged. She learnt from consulting a doctor that only In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) could materialize the dream of a child for her and her husband. But she says, “I was told that the medical fee is about half a million.”

The fact that she is a teacher should stand out because of their occupational challenges. Small business owners can relate a little bit. Public sector teachers in Kenya are under-equipped and underpaid. Can you believe the Government gave priority to a new curriculum over better school infrastructure?

What options did Loice have? Or if it were another teacher, for that matter. She could have made major financial sacrifices for that IVF procedure. Having a child is about sacrifice, no? Loice and her husband could have drained a sizeable portion of their life savings. They could have sold some of their assets or possessions. Think though, what would be the implications of this going forward? Not pretty.

Just as well, they could have organized a fundraising. People do come through. People also do talk. A fundraising requires transparency, any entrepreneur knows this. The problem, in this case, is intrusion into your personal life. You do not really want strangers, even friends to really know all the intimate details of your personal life. This can be stressful.

Minet Teachers’ Medical Scheme

I will give you a spoiler; Loice Wanjohi’s story arc has a happy ending. Since she is employeed by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), she was eligible to sign up for the Minet Teachers’ Medical Scheme. She said, “I asked them, can you help somebody who doesn’t have a child and would like to get one through IVF?” Minet did help her undergo the procedure abroad, taking care of travel, accommodation and treatment. Loice is going to become a mom.

IVF is only one Inpatient situation for you to think about, and which the Minet Teachers’ Medical Scheme covers. What if you had to undergo a dental or optical procedure? How much would your life change if you had a chronic ailment like cancer? If worse comes to worst, you may need to cover funeral expenses or get financial support should your partner pass on.

Teachers employed by TSC have the Minet medical scheme as a perfect contingency to cover for them. In fact, it covers for a spouse and up to 4 children. All it takes to register is to dial *865# and follow the prompts. No, they do not send teachers to the “wrong” hospital. Remember there is a tier system for medical facilities – from dispensaries to national hospital – each is best at handling particular medical problems.

If you are not a teacher, sorry, you should have listened to your parents and gotten a real job. Instead, you wanted to be “your own boss.” Well, now you are on your own my friend. We are kidding. The deal is that you need to put into perspective what is important – you and the people who depend on you. You need solid contingency plans if things do go wrong.