complexities as to what makes a successful career are as indistinguishable as a mixture of ethanol and water. Although most suggestions centre on hard work as the predetermining factor influencing the success of a career; patience, resilience and good-luck are also essential ingredients in the mix. Talents and skill also contribute to career success as demonstrated in sport stars like Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, Roger Federer, Kobe Bryant and Mohammed Ali. They have all reached the zenith of their careers by displaying their talents in their various sports. In this part of the world, many people look primarily to the heavens for inspiration in daily endeavor and God other than personal prowess is rendered tribute.
Having observed the careers of people over the years, I have come to discover another factor-marriage- which may seem innocuous at first but has proved to be as important as hard work in building a career and possibly maintaining it. As you read along, you will also discover like I did the importance and significance a marriage can be to the success of your career. My argument is not cast in stone and may have its flaws but am sure you would find it quiet compelling.
JUST BEFORE YOU SAY I DO
The institution of marriage is one that was commissioned by God in the Garden of Eden. And right from when Adam said “I do”, Eve his wife managed to assist the devil in bring down man’s empire on earth. Adam’s career was ruined and he began to toil and sweat. An illustrious career of keeping and tending to the Garden metamorphosed into tilling the ground. Life suddenly became hard for Adam. The hustle was born…
In 2007, the Nigerian music industry welcomed the entry of a new artiste to the music scene. He was ingenious, talented and his kind of music was rare. The grit, talent and originality he brought into his music were found nowhere else in the industry. He was unequalled and unparalleled. The Radio stations buzzed with the song, Gongo Aso virtually every five minutes. Abolore Akande a.k.a 9ce was the man of the moment. He was everywhere; in the club, in your car stereo, on the streets in VGC as well as in Ajegunle. 9ice became ubiquitous. His duet with Tuface, Street Credibility is in my opinion a Nigerian classic. Other hits like Kind of Life and Party Ryder put his songs on every body’s mouth. But in July of 2008, Nice decided to consummate his relationship with Tony Payne his girl friend at the time (who coincidentally was instrumental in making the album successful) and ever since then 9ce’s career has seemed to nose dive. His sophomore album has not lived up to expectation and the controversies surrounding his private life have overshadowed his career. None of his new tracks on his latest album have held us spell bound like the Gongo Aso album.
If you think 9ce can still boast of a career, this next example will certainly put things back into perspective. I cannot say whether Emmanuel Ifechukwude Okose or Soul E had a career before his marriage to his banker wife, Queen Ure Okezie. But after his separation (or divorce) from his wife, Soul E has since been wiped off our memories. For someone whose single track, “Soul E Baba dey here” did so well even so that Tuface sampled it in his own track “No be small thing Oh”, one would have expected an album release. Soul E’s modicum claim to success occurred while he was still single but his decision to walk down the aisle might have done him more harm than good.
If examples from the local scene are not convincing enough, let’s go somewhere else…
Eldrick Tont Woods popularly known as “Tiger Woods” is a man that changed the face of golf in the last two decades. He is to the PGA what Michael Jordan was to the NBA. Woods has won 14 professional major golf championships and 71 PGA tour events. In July 2010, Forbes
announced Woods as the richest sports man in the world earning a reported $105 million dollars. Following his “misdemeanor” (quite a few of them) in his private life, his career has gone from bad to worse. In fact, Tiger can’t be said to be a shadow of himself right now. The resplendence and swag he once showed on the golf course is all gone. On October 31st of 2010, Woods lost his number one ranking to Lee Westwood. As at May 2011, Woods is ranked #8 in the world and he is now on his longest streak (18 months) without a title in his entire professional career. He has lost a good number of his endorsement deals including those with Accenture and General Motors among others.
We have seen from Woods, 9ce and Soul E that marriage (especially failed ones) can destroy what has already been achieved regardless of hard work and talent. But these examples do not give an accurate picture. On closer study, you would also discover that marriages do not necessarily have to come to an end for a career to be affected drastically. Many times when women meet their spouses, they are sometimes forced to resign their jobs and follow their husband wherever he goes. Female bankers and oil workers who have began to build illustrious careers sometimes abandon it when their career choices conflict with their husband’s.
When last did any of you see Richard Mofe Damijo (RMD) in a NollyWood movie? After his marriage to Jumobi Adegbesan who was the host of the TV show, Lunch Break on AIT, the couple has since left the limelight. Jumobi abandoned a thriving career at AIT to build a home instead. In this case, their Showbiz careers did not end because of a failed marriage but the union still altered their career path. Marriage informed the decision to opt for a quieter life when their talents on screen were a delight to watch.
A similar but less dramatic example can be found on the pulpit. The Charismatic Pastor Chris Okotie is considered one of the most successful clergy men in Nigeria. His evangelical TV program, The Apocalypsis was a must watch. Many People stayed glued watching Apocalypsis not only for spiritual edification, but also to listen to the robust vocabulary the man commanded. Chris Okotie was the epitome of show business. The musician turned pastor turned politician is an enigma in his own right. But most of his achievements were made when he was married to his first wife Tina. After they became estranged, Pastor Chris re-married. Pastor Chris and his House Hold of God church are not as popular as before. His TV program does not air anymore and it seems his new wife has “tamed” him a bit.
This relationship between bad marital relationships and failed or altered careers isn’t exactly linear. There are also coordinates outside which may disprove my analogy. The likes of Bukky Wright, Keffe, Madonna, Will Smith, Nicholas Cage, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Drew BarryMoore, Jennifer Aniston, and Woody Allen all have successful and thriving careers bad marriages notwithstanding. Some have remained unmarried while others have remarried and taken their careers to new heights. Elizabeth Taylor and Larry King both have eight failed marriages between them and yet had illustrious careers in acting and journalsm respectively.
While I have illustrated how some marriages have impeded carriers, you should also know that examples abound of people whose lives have been made better by taking their sacred vows. Tom Hanks was not exactly “prosperous” career wise until he was divorced from his first wife Samantha Lewis who he married from 1978 to 1987. While married to Samantha, none of his movies earned any notable critical acclaim. After he divorced her and married Rita Wilson in 1988, Hanks became a house hold name. His movies Big, Forest Gump, Sleepless in Seattle, Saving Private Ryan, Da Vinci Code, Toy Story to name a few are all blockbusters and have earned him several academy award nominations. You might argue that he kept on improving on the talents he already possessed but why did his turn in fortune come after he remarried? Doesn’t this suggest that if you get the mix right as far as marriage is concerned, your career will soar?
A Nigerian example would be Olu Jacobs and Joke Silver who have broken frontiers and grown from strength to strength in their acting careers. If Olu Jacobs and Joke Silver seem like old timers to you, then Dare Art Alade may appeal more to the younger generation. He too seems like he has gotten it right in that department. His second and third albums better his first which he released when he was still a bachelor.
The intricacies that govern relationships and careers are not one to put into a box like I have tried to do here. All I have done is to bring the association into our everyday life. Look around you, at the people you meet, your bosses in the office and see for yourselves. They might not be celebrities but its all there for all to see. If one is happy in their private lives, there is a fighting chance their chosen career path would flourish as against if the reverse were the case. The fact is this: what happens behind closed doors affect our emotions to the extent that our jobs may become affected. We may not have to even look as far as Tuface to see how mismanagement of private affairs can affect our careers negatively. Examples are right there for us to see-The secretary who makes mistakes while typing the minutes because of a row with her husband and the girl friend who can’t concentrate on her studies because her boyfriend may be seeing someone else could both jeopardize their future because of personal issues. The way we manage this personal issues is actually important as the career itself.
Humans are emotional beings. Our emotions affect the mind which is required to work. Finding the right balance between mind, emotion and health is essential in everyday performance. Albert Einstein, one of the greatest minds that ever lived found it very difficult to find this balance and he said this concerning his marriage: “I can love humanity, but when it comes to close relationship, I’m a horse for single harness. I failed twice, rather disgracefully”. His two marriages suffered because he was married to his work instead. Perhaps if he had given either of his wives attention, we may never have known that E=mc2 .
I can go on and on but this would only make sense if it was brought home to you wouldn’t it. Are you married? What decisions on your career has your marriage influenced. And if you aren’t, this is probably the time to ask this question again before you take the plunge. Will this marriage make or break me?
©2011 Ewoigbokhan Otaigbe Itua