Love for your neighbour’s job

Wilson Orhiunu

First Gentleman with Wilson Orhiunu

Email: Twitter: @Babawilly

My long term patient with whom I had developed a friendly relationship with commented about how well I was dressed on his way out of the consultation room. I thanked him for his kind words and he went on to say, “I wish I had your job. That way I could dress like you”.

This got me thinking (doesn’t take much to get me thinking actually). I have come to know this individual quite well over the years for during our interactions he did a lot of talking while I did a lot of probing. I knew about his birth, his childhood, his parents and his current social circumstances while he quite frankly knew little to nothing about me.

He knew I was a GP and he had assumptions about what a GP was all about. He had expressed a wish based on just assumptions. Sometimes assumptions can prove to be right but with people it would be easier to just ask questions rather than guess what the answers to these questions might be.

I will tell you my theories on why he thought my clothes looked better than what he wore and why he assumed that it was my job that made the difference. Starting with the latter, he was unemployed and felt the only difference between us was our employment status.

With regards to clothing, I estimated he was wearing clothes and shoes worth £117 compared to my £91 worth of nakedness prophylaxis. (In case you are wondering how I know the price of raiment just by looking, it is a feature of Nigerian retinas. We have inbuilt scanners).  My clothes were cheaper but were cleaner and most importantly ironed. My colours were also co-ordinated. Dressing neatly to work and co-ordinating your colours are both Nigerian traits which has nothing to do with being a GP. If he had asked, I would have told him that rather than wishing for my job he should simply wish for my nationality. Or maybe just read Ovation magazine.

I too have loved other people’s job and the pay attached to the execution of their duties. Soccer stars come to mind. But without the talents to pass a ball or ‘dive’ in the penalty box to secure a penalty kick I do not stand a chance of getting a contract with Barcelona FC. I know that footballers have unique talents and the going rate for their skills is currently good so why begrudge them their good fortune? When I see the way John Terry and Gary Cahill tackle the opposition I draw my own conclusions. If I get tackled in such a manner, I would not stand up in four weeks. Let them keep their £100K a week to their muscular selves. They own the talent; they have played football from the age of five or six. They have taken the risk of not getting academic qualifications and hedged all their hopes on ability to chest, head and kick a ball. It is a very big risk considering how many youngsters have great hopes of making the grade compared to how many actually make it.

We all look at people and what they own especially in today’s celebrity culture era. What is it that makes the onlooker start to compare what he or she owns and with what they see in others? Why can’t we just be entertained and move on? If I watch Messi dribble five people and score a goal why should I now be interested in his house, his wife and car when the game is over? Is the contract not over between player and fan at the final whistle? The same applies to Shakira when the song is over. Why bother to go beyond the terms of the performer- audience contract. And worst still, why compare your life to their own life? These stars are not personal friends, so in thinking about them there are so many gaps due to a lack of information that we began to assume and maybe fantasise about to fill up these gaps. The first error is that their lives – the way you have assumed it to be – is better than yours. Then you ask why?

If the answer you give yourself is that they work very hard, you might actually admire them and take great pride in their achievements. If on the other hand you feel that they have been the recipients of unfair genetic advantages, such as looks, speed or any other qualities you lack, you get angry at nature for being partial and angry at them for maybe flaunting it. Assumptions and envy are usually bed fellows not wanting in the fruitfulness department. They without fail breed bitter envy in multiples of two or more.

Looking closely at others and what they own can serve as an inspiration to engage with the talents we have and help us produce something worthwhile. Mentorships serves this purpose for apart from learning from what is being said the mentee also observes the talents, work habits and rewards of success in the mentor’s life which aids his focus. In summary, if you are prone to envy which can be depressing, if you are one who spends time in bitter contemplation of the beauty of others while lamenting your assumed lack of beauty, just don’t look at people. Buy a big mirror, look yourself in the eye pointing at yourself and sing like they did in the movie Dirty Dancing –

Now I’ve had the time of my life

No I never felt like this before

Yes I swear it’s the truth

And I owe it all to you