Glenford Smith, Career Writer
The conviction on Tuesday, February 22, of Jamaica's reggae superstar Mark 'Buju Banton' Myrie in a Florida court on cocaine-related charges has left his fans stunned, dismayed, and worried about his fate.
For those able to move beyond the emotional shock, however, it has also left several important career lessons.
Buju is facing the prospect of suffering the harsh realities of serving hard time in an American prison.
Beyond this though, the Grammy-winning artiste's extraordinary music career has now jolted to a sudden, dramatic halt for a period yet to be determined.
This will likely have an incalculable adverse impact on his income as well as his ultimate legacy as an artiste.
There is little value in joining the chorus of angry voices defiantly singing his innocence.
Neither are we qualified to endorse the verdict of the jury which found him guilty.
We must also resist the temptation to condemn or pass final judgement either on Buju's character or destiny.
Instead, we should humbly heed American historian James Truslow Adam's wise words: "There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it behoves any of us to find fault with the rest of us."
Having said this, however, the following lessons from his conviction can help us to avoid sabotaging our career aspirations.
Lesson 1: Talent is not enough.
Shaggy, another international Reggae celebrity, in a 'Profile' interview once described Buju as 'the ace of all deejays'. It was 'the Gargamel's' unquestionable talent that took him to the top of the reggae music industry. But his character, bad judgement and questionable choices have now damaged his career.
It is great to work on getting straight A's at university and being technically brilliant on the job. Don't neglect matters of personal character or the values you allow to drive your career and life decisions, however. Contentment, honesty, and integrity are equally important as talent and brilliance.
Lesson 2: Choices have consequences.
Buju's choices about whom he associated with and trusted, where he went, and what he did and said were major factors in his eventual conviction.
Every day you have choices to make at work: how to respond to a rude boss, co-worker or customer; whether to go the extra mile or scrape by; or whether to call in sick from the beach or go to work. When you choose the action, remember too that you are choosing the consequences. Decisions determine destiny.
Lesson 3: Be careful who you trust.
Bob Marley once sang that "your worst enemy could be your best friend and your best friend your worst enemy."
Choose carefully who you share your personal secrets with. Envious or merely indiscreet people may either maliciously or inadvertently betray your trust. Buju could likely confirm this. After all, "he who feels it knows".
Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist.
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Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught.
- J.C. Watts