The conversation started innocuously enough…

Me: Good morning, Ma. I trust the family is fine?

Are you fully on your own now, or you still work with XYZ insurance company? I run a fledgling IT firm now, with focus on Insurance… among other areas.

As a long timer in the insurance sector, I was wondering if we could tap into your wealth of experience in offering software solutions to pressing problems in the Insurance industry.

Madam Jaded: Ha! Most of the people I know have left. XYZ Insurance Limited is a no no for me o.

Me: Wao. Really?

Madam Jaded: I really don’t have friends in the industry. I had colleagues and our relationship ended when I left

Me: Hmmm, okay… Err, May I ask why?

Madam Jaded: Not been in touch since I left. So I stayed off. They don’t reply mails or return calls.At my level it was a shark-eat-shark world. No loyalty, no friendship. Just mindless selfishness.

Me: Haha! It’s sad to hear this. Being a Human Resources Person,for so many years, I thought your network and connection in the Insurance Industry would be strong.

Madam Jaded: You don’t know what I have seen.

Me: My boss… he is still in touch with most people he worked with ..close to a two and a half decades ago. I wonder how he does this…

Madam Jaded: Does he give them business?

Me: No, Just hi, hi

Madam Jaded: Oh hoooo! Sure there are some you say hi hi to. But when it looks like they are to do you a favour, it’s a dead end, unless they are sure they would benefit. I have been running businesses for a while now, and I assure you this is the case.

Me: But I would expect that, if I approached XYZ (a mutually casual friend), for instance, he would help… if it’s within his power, and wouldn’t hurt. But then, I understand your view, really. People seem to lean away if it looks like the relationship could be(come) unidirectional, and there is no apparent benefit.

Madam Jaded: I am not familiar with the current Managing director of XYZ Insurance sha. He started two weeks before I left. If they don’t feel like they could benefit, most won’t bother stretching themselves for you. The Head strategy, Chief Financial Officer, the Old Managing Director Head retail and myself left same time.

Me: That’s a serious one o. So many Heads leaving simultaneously

Madam Jaded: The new head marketing. Head strategy, Head finance recruited after my resignation have also left.

Me: Haha! Something is fundamentally wrong here.

Madam Jaded: So I am no longer familiar with executive management of XYZ. XYZ Insurance board is a mad house, my brother.

Me: Hmmmm.

iStock_backstabbing_Large-e1432102916796There was an article about the Inability of humans to maintain true friendship, despite the pervasiveness and proliferation of social media and ubiquity of communication tools.

Respondents to an Online Inquiry were asked to state how many people they consider true friends, that they could count on in times of real need / trouble. Most mentioned between 2 and 5, with several saying, none, even for those having hundred of “friends” on Facebook and similar.

The conversation above put me in an introspective mood, and I ask, is there true friendship, with no strings attached, and no anticipation of specific benefits? Or,friendship is always based on WIIFM (What’s In It For Me), perpetually? Is friendly only a matter of office or religious companionship or camaraderie.

I tend to think that the fast paced modern life we live may not really give us the time or freedom to form true friendship, with most friends consequently being fair weather friends.

How many friends do you think you can rely on, in times of trouble?

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