Ramblings of a searching entre

Ramblings of a searching entrepreneur — Bankers and wankers

Saffa expat in the UK Ed Fox is our resident rambling entrepreneur. This week he muses on the egos ever-present in expat circles.

Ramblings of a searching entre

“Into the hands of every individual is given a marvellous power for good or evil– the silent, unconscious, unseen influence of his life. This is simply the radiation of what man really is, not what he pretends to be.”
— William George Jordan

Living in London has it challenges, as expats we’re certainly in tune with that. As I’ve matured, and my kids have started school, I find myself facing an interesting new dynamic which has made me reflect on what’s important to me.

We were recently invited to a house party — not in the traditional sense, but rather a party at a friend’s house, with our families.

As with most parties or events in the UK, it involved alcohol and unnecessary amounts of it. Always willing to get stuck in and never wanting to let the side down (which is probably one of my inadequacies) I in particular had a superb time — bar the egos I felt were being thrusted in my face all evening. There is nothing new about this, and let’s make no mistake, I have been thrusting my ego down everyone’s throat since I can remember – but I don’t like it anymore.

Whenever I meet new parents, whether at drinks parties, networking events, or kids rugby practices, I pitch myself, my achievements, my businesses and my credentials. Why? Could it be that I lack confidence; am I trying to keep up with the Joneses? Or is it just that I’m surrounded by bankers — or wankers, as they are often referred to. They’re all trying to outdo each other and in the process, highlighting their latest material success: villa in Tuscany, half-term break to Vietnam, the latest Michelin Star restaurant they’ve eaten at, how many times they got pissed in the last week with clients, their latest Chelsea tractor. It’s endless and I feel drawn to compete.

Is it natural, or is it because I’m an egotistical arrogant competitive South African? I don’t remember life being so material, or so driven by ego. Is that because I was drawn in and didn’t notice, and I now feel I don’t want to compete anymore?

Regardless, I’m now conscious of it, and I don’t like it.