Those For Whom Fame Does No Favours

I don’t know what I am wearing today….it was still a bit dim when I grabbed some clothes out of the wardrobe and I have ended up looking like a mix between a nursery teacher, a leprechaun and a lollipop lady.  I wonder what that delivery man thought of my outfit when I answered the door.  It wouldn’t be too bad if I hadn’t have grabbed the jade green cardigan because it felt chilly this morning….too many bright contrasting colours going on here….

Wouldn’t it be horrible to be famous and open the newspaper to find a hideous photograph of yourself opening the door to a delivery man whilst wearing a dreadful combination of colours…all because you were on your own cleaning the house all day?  I am very glad life is so simple at the moment.

I am content here.  Life is simple, uncomplicated.  But my life is so different to the one I led before the morning I woke up in an ambulance heading to a nearby hospital.  I had a very exciting career and was involved in major international projects.  I was interacting with hundreds of people on a daily basis.  Life was jam-packed full of important tasks and people.


I am not famous, I am not remotely important….but the work I was involved with was….I was in a role for a long-time which was very much involved with “the public” and in various projects I ended up in high profile situations and have worked with and socialized with men who are regularly in the lime-light, some on TV shows, or asked to appear at large public events and give speeches, some with weighty executive responsibilities – having to make decisions or even those involved in judicial functions. None of my associates or colleagues were well known for anything trivial, but for quite serious stuff.  Men of great prominence and import.  They all put in long long hours and are never paid “over-time”.  I think people would be surprised at how petty a financial return these men actually receive.

All have a reputation to be worried about.  Not for their own sake.  These men, if they did something seriously wrong…well they would likely resign (or be dismissed) and then then would have to find another situation.  But this is very very rare.  They are men of integrity otherwise they wouldn’t have been attracted to these demanding and self-sacrificing roles.  But there is a risk of them doing something that would limit their freedom of speech and the effect of their hard work.  A risk despite them taking it seriously that they should be excellent role-models.  When you work with and socialize with imperfect people who are trying with all their might to do something really marvellous, they are making sacrifices and working tirelessly and all because they care so much about those they are helping.  You have to keep your mind fixed on that…they are imperfect, but they are trying really hard to make a difference, to uphold good. Because, with imperfect people you find…imperfections.  Of course, it’s not possible for them to shed all their imperfections.

The problem is…they are in the public eye, under constant scrutiny.  There are some within the media and some of the public who love nothing better than becoming aware of and exposing the failings and mistakes of others. Especially people who have a reputation as…well, as being renowned for their noble deeds, their insightful decisions and trustworthiness.  The pressure on these men can be enormous.

Take this situation for example….one of these men in his fifties…he travels around the world and is always working.  He visits a lot of projects and conferences and because he truly is interested in people he walks around and meets local people.  But in this day and age – what do people want?  They want a selfie with him.  So, he has a queue of people with cameras.  Amongst those hankering after him, are beautiful young women.  It is not uncommon for him to receive propositions and proposals of marriage from beautiful women, some half of his age.  He is not physically in the best of shape (I am being kind) as he has little time to exercise and a lot of his work involves sitting in very long meetings and he travels for long hours.  But nonetheless, these women think he is a catch.  He is a man in a position of great trust.  He is devoted to giving his best within his role and the responsibilities he carries.  He feels at this point he is better able to be effective if he is not anxious for the emotional and other needs of a woman, so he is trying not to be distracted.  He knows these women would not be interested in him if it were not for his being in the lime-light because of the enormous responsibilities he has been entrusted with.  Some of these women might have a very misled idea about his life being glamorous or financially rewarded.  Imagine one of these beautiful women takes a selfie with him and the picture is misused.  Well…!

Sometimes….a person’s desire or request for privacy may be nothing to do with fearing they have anything sinister or disgraceful they want to hide.  They may be naturally and normally a very open people person who is happy to share themselves with others.  In some cases, they might just want to be able to get on with the work that is so important to them without fear of a camera catching a moment of tiredness or thoughtlessness and then publishing it for the whole world to judge or mock.  The issue is the attitude of people (press and public) who seem to be endlessly entertained by trivial things, a fascination with what a person drinks, all the things they might do in their spare time, any clues about a budding romance…it goes on and on.

So these men (and women) might find it hard to ever feel “off-duty”.  Of course, they are utterly dependant on their close associates to understand that when they see their imperfections up close….to expose these could have a detrimental effect on the invaluable work they are doing.

There is always going to be a little pocket of my life that I have to be very selective and careful when referring to…simply because I have seen great men be brought down by merciless media and puerile public.  I care too much, far too much about the great work they are doing.  If I relate an experience it will generally to be to make a point, I try not to use them for entertainment value.  But in doing so I am always feeling cautious that I might carelessly be including a detail that seems perfectly innocent to me, but someone else might pick up on it and see it as a way to inflict some damage.

I care for these men.  Not romantically.  But I have seen them up close, and yes, they are imperfect, but I believe they are worthy of all the support and loyalty those like me who have worked with them on projects and socialized with them can muster.

There are some men and women who are in high profile roles, they work tirelessly, they are passionate about what they do…I know many who are amongst those for whom fame really does no favours.


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