The Work We Do 

Chinwe Nlemoha Written by Chinwe Nlemoha · 3 min read >

   “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might”

Ecclesiastics 9:10

Today, I sat next to a brother in church as we waited for our class teacher in my new church.

We started talking about our works. He went first, and then I talked about mine. He seemed interested and then went mute.  

Why did he go mute? 

I told him I wanted to be a teacher and he could not reconcile how I looked like I worked in the bank, was doing an MBA and wanted to teach. 

The Work of Others

As I got back home, we met the cleaner waiting at the door for us to come back from church.

Apparently, he has been asking my aunty for this opportunity even though he works as a constructor somewhere else.

She told me later that he called several times to come and that it is more than the money he receives from the job. She was sure he just enjoys cleaning houses.

Cleaning the house means sweeping, clearing cobwebs, scrubbing, mopping from upstairs to downstairs, etc. How can I be happy doing all these in all the rooms in a house? 

I wondered if I would take up such a job even if they multiplied the wage by 100%. The madam will rather do the work herself than employ me after seeing my tears in the bathtub. 

My dad’s driver came home one day and was telling someone to apply for a job he heard of. I asked him why he did not apply himself.

He acted his response for me with his shoulders up, that whenever he is driving someone, he feels important. In his words, “I feel good driving people around.” 

I remember times my dad will ask him to drive him somewhere. He will wake up very early the next day, fully dressed with his dark shades and all you can do is laugh. 

His greatest ambition is to drive the crème de la crème in the world. You can read this dream and laugh, but his dream is very valid. 

Mind you, he is educated.

“Seeth thou a man diligent in his work, he will sit before kings and not mere men” 

Prov 22:29

I watched one DSTV advert one day. The old man from Kenya said whenever he is repairing people’s DSTV or installing the DSTV, he feels very good.

He said the job trained his children and he still supports his grandchildren from the technician job.

He was even grateful that DSTV allowed him to do the work he loves for a great number of people. Technician oo!

My work 

After my NYSC, I got three offers, 2 in the banking sector and 1 in media. I considered the salaries and the prestige that comes with working in such places. but I asked myself the deal breaker “will I enjoy my work?” Can I do this forever? 

I rejected the 3 offers and went back to Owerri to join my parents in the family school. 

I went back to teach on a salary that was slightly above the minimum wage at that time. 

In school, I saw struggling learners give up on school and it broke my heart.

Work started as a classroom teacher. I cried every time I saw a child that could not read a line, read a paragraph after coaching him/her.

I blush when I see the spark in my students’ eyes while I teach.

Or when parents come back day to tell me, “my child will not allow me rest after that thing you taught.” I feel warm inside when a child rushes to hug me or a parent asks me if I perform magic in my class.

Some days, I see some children that they parents did not come to pick early. I go to them and sit in the sand and play with them. They just keep laughing and this invigorates me. 

When I carry a child in kindergarten, my eyes get moist, my heart gets heavy, it feels like I am tearing up inside. All I say to the child is “I will not fail you. I promise you and every other child I can reach, I will not give up on you till you become all you were made to be.”  

For this my work, I am willing to place my head on the table. I am willing to go any length; I do not consider any job more prestigious. No offer is as beautiful as holding the hands of my students as they learn to write. 

In conclusion

I mentioned some jobs that we may never consider for whatever reasons, but there are people that do them with joy and pride. This means that there is intrinsic value in the work you do that money cannot give you. Greatness is in every job, find it! 

Find purpose in whatever you are doing for there is greatness in everything or you will wake up on your 60th birthday and ask what have you been living for?   

Photo credit: Unsplash


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