Monthly Archives: May 2014

Opportunity vs. Risk

The former shall not include the latter. The latter always include the former.


People nowadays tend to shift from the traditional definitions to the self-imposed definitions whichever is favorable to the one construing it. That is good, but not always. By doing such, we are actually shaking the foundation of humanity and order. Opportunity and risk are brought together to fight for their survival.


I am not a liberal arts degree holder nor with units in philosophy and humanities but I believe man has this all encompassing power of choice. It is the single most influential power that can affect everything in this universe. By changing the definitions of opportunity and risk, the exercise of the power of choice is suppressed. Man is forced to choose on two uncomfortable situations when there can be an easy one by extending a helpng hand to the other.


In altering norms or standards, and suppressing the power of choice, order is in question. When a man is left with only on choice, he is actually being given no choice at all. The dilemma of what action he will have to do next will definitely be out of order, especially when the outcome of that only choice is outside his expectations. And by that reason, a man given an opportunity is suddenly shifted to a man given a risk.


Mr. X, married with two kids, was given the opportunity to post graduate studies abroad for free without losing his job. Problem is, he will not receive any compensation or benefit from his work while on his study leave. Is that study abroad an opportunity or a risk?


On the one hand, it may be considered an “opportunity” considering that post graduate studies abroad is a rare chance that will boost one’s credential. It would be a potential investment that would open up doors to societal links, connections, and hopefully a successful career. He still has his security of tenure, and will continue with his job post immediately after his return.
But on the other hand, it is also a “risk”. The moment he flies abroad and leave his post, he will not earn any income to support his family. It will be a difficult situation for him to just think that his gain will be his family’s loss. While he is at the comfort of his environment studying and hoping for a better future after, his family barely will have the means to survive. Although on a temporary basis, his wife and two kids will not just lose their father. They will also lose the life and means of living with him.


The study abroad is NOT an opportunity. It is a risk.

An opportunity is a time or circumstance that makes it possible to do something (Oxford), not to prevent its happening. It is only one as such if it does not pose any risk arising from its faithful performance. A risk is a possibility of harm or damage, which are not the objects of an opportunity.

Under normal circumstances, where a scholar still gets his compensation during study abroad, the employer takes the risk of the employee’s opportunity.  This is because while study abroad appears to be an opportunity to Mr. X, it is a clear risk to his employer. In the above problem, The employer cut his risk and shared it with Mr. X so that both of them experience both the benefit of opportunity and the liability of risk.Such a setup is unfair and oppressive, if not suppresive as first mentioned. The employer is expected to assume all risks, as a matter of sound public policy. Besides, the scholar will also bear the name of his company wherever he would go. It is a walking advertisement. Whatever the story of Mr.X will be, it will affect the employer – either positively or negatively.


Risk, like opportunity, is based on probability and as only potent only as unsuccessful opportunity. Yet the mere fact opportunity was given with minimal or no condition at all is a testament of goodwill on the side of employer. And it reduce the risks by the very outcome of opportunity’s outcome.

Remember that not very many are ready to take risks. But should that also affect how many should be given an opportunity?
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Posted by on May 24, 2014 in Personal


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