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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