If I’d Had E-Mail Five Years Ago
An unemployed man was desperate to support his family. His options limited, he applied for a janitor’s job at a large company and easily passed the aptitude test.
The human resources manager told him: “You will be hired at a minimum wage of $5.05 an hour. Let me know your e-mail address so that we can get you in the loop. Our system will automatically e-mail you all the forms, and advise you when to start and where to report on your first day.”
But the man pointed out that he was too poor to afford a computer, and that therefore he didn’t have an e-mail address. The manager replied icily: “Surely you must realise that to a company like ours, not having an e-mail address means that you virtually cease to exist. Without e-mail, you can hardly expect to be employed by a hi-tech firm. Good day.”
Stunned and dismayed, the man left. Not knowing which way to turn and with just $10 left in his wallet, he walked past a market wholesaler and saw a trader selling 25lb crates of beautiful red tomatoes. So he bought a crate, carried it to a busy street corner and began selling them. In less than two hours he sold all the tomatoes and made a 100 per cent profit. Repeating the process several more times a day, he finished up with nearly $100 and arrived home that night with several bags of groceries for his hungry family.
Not surprisingly, he decided to repeat the tomato business the next day, and by working long hours he quickly multiplied his profits. By the second week he had invested in a cart and two weeks later he bought a broken-down pickup truck. At the end of the year, he owned three trucks. His two sons had left their neighbourhood gangs to help him with the tomato business, his wife was buying the tomatoes, and his daughter was taking night courses in accountancy at the local college so that she could keep his books.
After five years, he owned a fleet of trucks and warehouse, which his wife supervised, plus two tomato farms managed by the boys. The tomato company’s payroll gave work to hundreds of homeless and jobless people. His daughter reported that the business grossed a million dollars. Planning for the future, he decided to buy some life insurance and, with the help of an insurance adviser, he picked a plan that suited his newfound wealth. Then the adviser asked him for his e-mail address in order to send the final documents electronically.
When the man replied that he didn’t have time to mess with a computer and had no e-mail address, the insurance advisor was stunned. “What? No computer? No Internet? No e-mail? Just think where you would be today if you’d had all of that five years ago!”
“Ha!” snorted the man. “If I’d had e-mail five years ago, I would be sweeping floors at a multinational computer company and making $5.05 an hour.”