Turning Down Financial Opportunities is NOT the Same as Not Having Them

When financial opportunities come in your way, you can’t really complain about your lack of money if you turn them down.

Ah, time for another rant.

One of the hardest things for me to see is people I know bemoaning the fact that they don’t have any opportunities. This is because most people I know have plenty of opportunities. And some of them choose not to take advantage of the very real opportunities that come in their way.

Recently, I was tempted to say the following to someone I know:

I’m sorry. The reason that you are having trouble finding a job is not due to so-called “reverse racism” or Affirmative Action. You are not being passed over because you are a white male. You are being passed over because you have no marketable skills and no education or experience.

This individual has had plenty of opportunities. He can choose to get vocational training at a reasonable cost in order to develop a marketable skill. It’s also possible for him to go to a reasonably priced school in his town of residence to get an education. There are two vocational institutions and one four-year university right where he lives. He could get certified in something, or complete a degree. If he didn’t quit by not showing up one day for work, he could have recommendations from former employers.

He could be investing in himself, but he’s not. And, it’s not like he grew up without knowledge of his options. It’s not as if he grew up in poverty, with little idea of what was even possible for him. No, he grew up in a suburban middle class home. He has always known exactly the range of opportunities open to him, and has the means to pursue them.

On top of that, the temp agency he is signed up with offer him work and he turned it down. Instead of working for a day and a half, he decided to stay home and play video games because he wasn’t in a “working mindset.”

Then he had the temerity to come over and complain that he had no money, the rent was due, and it was just so hard to get paid because he’s totally the victim here.

Are You Turning Down Financial Opportunities?

Take a look at your finances. Are you turning down opportunities to earn more money? I’m not talking about sticking to your rates, or refusing to work for less than you are legitimately worth. I am talking about walking away from opportunities that you could grasp, but that you don’t. This is not the same thing as not having the opportunities in the first place.

I know there are people out there who don’t have the same opportunities. And I know that some of them don’t even realize what’s available. I have a hard time getting upset at those types of situations. But man, oh man. It’s hard to not be mad at someone who has been spoon-fed opportunities and does the equivalent of spitting the food out.

The other reality is that sometimes you take whatever is available at the time. I started my online freelance career writing keyword articles for ridiculously low sums. Because I needed the money. I took what I could get, while actively trying to improve myself and looking for better opportunities. This individual complains that he has no job and no money and then turns down perfectly good work. When I was his age, I was making a dollar more than minimum wage with a four-year degree, happy to have a steady job.

He’s got no skills or education, and he’s turning his nose up at work that pays three dollars more than minimum wage. So that he can play the latest version of Halo.

I guess what really burns me is that, after refusing to make himself ready to grasp opportunities, and instead of making his own opportunities, he’s complaining that he is the victim, and has no opportunity at all. He’s looking for a magic solution to his financial woes, and rejects opportunities that could help him through a little hard work. Hell, he could work smarter if he got a little training and developed some skill others were willing to pay for.

Create Your Own Financial Opportunities

Of course, not all of us get financial opportunities dumped on us. The best opportunities only come every once in a while. And sometimes you have to make your own opportunities. This aforementioned individual did finally land a long-term temporary job that will get him through the next six or seven months, but after that he’ll be right back where he started.

He’s not doing anything to improve himself in terms of skills, education, or experience. He’s not even really learning about how money works. He’s not doing anything to prepare himself to take advantage of the next opportunity, or even to make his own opportunities later.

There are things we all can do to make our own financial opportunities. Whether it’s starting your own business, getting a certification in a particular skill, going to school to gain an education in a particular area, or even just learning more about how money works so that you can pay down debt and invest your money wisely, it’s possible to make your own financial opportunities.

And prepare yourself to take advantage of the financial opportunities that do come your way.

Written by Miranda Marquit

Miranda Marquit is a freelance writer and professional blogger, specializing in personal finance, small business, and investing topics. She writes for a number of financial web sites and blogs, and has been featured in numerous media. Read about life as a freelancer at MirandaMarquit.com and in her book Confessions of a Professional Blogger.

6 Responses to Turning Down Financial Opportunities is NOT the Same as Not Having Them

  1. I always enjoy rants. It shows exactly how you feel about a specific situation. Regarding your friend, it just seems that he doesn’t have the drive to get a job. Maybe he feels he is better than some of these “jobs”? I try to take advantage of any opportunity that comes my way as long as it doesn’t cross my ethical line. I work on educating myself beyond what I have learned through schooling. I don’t mind working hard for what I want.

    • Miranda Marquit says:

      I understand not wanting a traditional job. But then you need to do something else. Start your own business, or create something worthwhile that will result in royalties. But that still requires some effort, planning, and hard work. Blegh. So. Full. Of. Angry.

  2. Ugh that dude sounds super annoying. I’m probably the opposite. I try to make opportunities happen but then I have a hard time saying no, so I just get really busy and stressed and feel terrible if I want to quit something.

    • Miranda Marquit says:

      There has to be balance there. I used to have the same issue; I used to have a hard time saying no, too. But I finally decided that sometimes you do need to say no. But you should always be ready to take advantage of the best opportunities when they come in your way.

  3. Hey Miranda, I feel your pain. I know several people who are very similar to the person you describe. It can be infuriating to listen to someone whine about their problems while they make no attempt at all to solve them.

    • Miranda Marquit says:

      I try to give allowances, but sometimes you just have to let it out. I don’t preach at him, since he clearly doesn’t want to change. So I let it all out online. Hooray for blogging.

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