The Things You Don’t Have

The Things We Want

Me and my friend are working on a new project, here in Lahore. Sitting in the office on the eight floor, overlooking the Gymkhana golf course, we were in the middle of something so important that I can’t even remember what it was.

In walks this dude. His CV in hand. Pleasantries are exchanged. He holds a 5-year pharmacy doctorate, and knows my friend from some family connection.

He is not here looking for a job. He is here looking for advice, from my friend; he knows about him being a successful businessman.

“My brother suggests that I find a better job,” the dude says, “or do you suggest I go for a doctorate in the States? The doctorate there is much harder, but if I do it, the pay will be very good,” he then relates an example of a friend of a friend who is being paid a gazillion dollars or something (you know, how all of us have the best-possible example lined up for conversations like these).

And almost as an after-thought, he adds, “I mean, I have spent 5 years on this degree, might as well make full use of it.”

I couldn’t resist…

“You are pursuing a career in Pharmacy, am I right?” I asked.


“Do you love it?”


But I have seen this expression on too many faces to know what it meant. So I repeated, “do you love pharmacy?”

“love” is a strong word. But your work is strong stuff too. 

“You are doing Pharmacy, let me guess, because your parents wanted you to?”

“No, not my parents,” he says, “my brother.”

“You are doing Pharmacy, you are looking for a job, you are considering going abroad to further your schooling, so that you can,” I pause pretending to sip my coffee, but mostly for effect, “so you can earn more money, right?”

“Of course,” this time his answer came quicker.

“What if I tell you there’s a better way of earning money?”

“You mean do my own business?” he caught on fast, “well, what is there to do, I don’t know if I can —”

“OK. But why pursue a career in something that you are not interested in?”

“Well,” he is probably getting irritated by now but is kind enough to not show it, “well, truth be told bhai, I am doing this because I have already invested so much time in the degree –”

“To save 5 years of your time that has already passed, you are willing to destroy the 50 that have yet to come?”


Doing the work we love is something to wish for, something to pray for, something to work for. It doesn’t matter if you do a job, work the 9 to 5, sit in a cubicle all day; are you smiling when you come home? Are you happy?

Do I love what I do? Abso-freakin-lutely!

I confess, it is scary. I confess, it is not easy. I confess, it is not for everyone.

But if you want something you don’t have, you need to do things you haven’t done.

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  1. Mudassir

    Assalam o alaikum Momekh bhai ! i recently came across your articles and I liked all of your articles (of course, i haven’t read them all :p) but really, every article of yours is good.

    I totally agree with the thing you discussed in this article. But thanks to Allah, that’s not the problem with me 🙂 I’m a software engineer (last semmester) and it’s what i love to do.

    unfortunately, i’m not on the 6th or 7th floor 🙂 but would love to talk to you. Can you spare some time for me ?


    • Wasalaams Mudassir.

      Sure friend. I am thinking that every Friday, from 3 to 4, we all should just start hanging out 🙂

  2. Aamir Roy

    Taking initiative is some thing very daring and only brave people can take initiative in what ever their passion is but this initiative also needs certain prerequisites and those are to be taken care off wisely. Once taken care off, then “GO FOR IT WITH CLEAR AIM AND FULL ENERGY”. You will find Allah with you and will never fail.

  3. OB

    Pursuing what you love could be very very difficult. When there will be love, there shall be tests, big tests! But then passion conquers all, it takes time though!

  4. Nabeel Butt

    I get to see the same view everyday.. you know why? Because i am on the 6th floor :D. Why don’t we have a meet-up someday khan saheb? I would love to offer you a cup of tea 🙂

    • Don’t we all live in a small world!?

      6th floor. Which office? What do you do Nabeel? And tea is very hard to resist 🙂

    • @momekh I believe the picture was taken in Landmark Plaza and you can stop by at 602 any time you want.. let me know if snacks aren’t that hard to resist along with tea 🙂

      Right now, I am just a freelancer and optimizing websites for search engines for a couple of years now. We’ve met before on blogocracy awards and you were busy in collecting awards. Kidding!

      Lets have a meet-up someday. Looking forward to it 🙂

      • hahaha…

        Tea will do just fine Nabeel 🙂

        And I will try to drop by God willing.

    • Nabeel Butt

      Cool.. As far as the interview is concerned I believe your faith actually determines your destiny. If you have a strong believe in whatever you are doing and you are maniac enough to get your job done then success is no far away.

      You just need to put each piece of puzzle accurate… give your best shot and leave rest of the things on Allah Almighty.

  5. Samreen

    Completely agree with you:)

  6. I think this article is written so good I want to share to my friends

  7. I studied biology & geology for 3 years in France… and ended up being a freelance translator living in Malaysia. I guess I should forward your article to my father 🙂 Or, rather, translate it for him hehe

    • hehehe… and if you do translate it, let me know – it will feel good to be translated 😉 (something like: this article has been translated in other languages kinda line :P)

  8. brenda

    A really , really good post . Especially the line “To save 5 years of your time that has already passed, you are willing to destroy the 50 that have yet to come?”

  9. It is all mindset game, employee mindset vs entrepreneur mindset. Most people do not want to get out of their comfort zones, crafted by their parents, siblings, teachers or friends. They do not want to think out of box, pretending there is nothing out there.

  10. Farrukh Hussain

    Very true……!
    I love reading your articles, about this article I would like to say that we all have our internal fears about the risks involved.

    I am a banker by profession with 10 years experience having an MBA degree, but truly speaking I don’t love my job, but since I have to take care of my family I have to go with this profession.

    My passion is to do business. I also love being on the internet and explore many new things. But my internal fears overcome my passion and i kept on going with this life.

    Anyways, keep on posting your articles, this gives me strength. And I start thinking of doing something and maybe, God knows, one day I will do something better and will be out of this shell.
    Good going….

    • Hey Farrukh, thank you for the appreciation.

      I wish you all the best, man. Things take time, and the more you keep thinking about it, you will start seeing opportunities to finally start following your dream. Again, all the best!

  11. Waqas Ahmad

    I agree with you… I am doing Masters in Engineering in the UK but I feel it’s not my field. I don’t enjoy it much. I am still struggling to find out what I actually want to do with my life… I know it has to do something with management or business.. but I want it to be my own… but I am not sure where to start.

    • Hey man, I wish you all the best. Don’t stop looking. And if you have – as Ramit Sethi calls it – the tripod of security, you can take bigger risks.

      Here’s to a fuller life, my friend!

  12. mubashir hussain

    Big Like.

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