I work for a massive corporation which is owned by a hedge fund group. This boils down to one thing for me, personally, I’m less than dust in the wind to this mega-machine. I am aware of this and I….don’t…care. It’s a job. My office is better than most and I enjoy my day as a result.
One of the things that brings me no end of amusement as well as, to be honest, frustration and at times, scorn, is the number of people who have their self-esteem tied up with what they do as opposed to who they are, as people. This, I think, may be a North American phenomenon. I have friends from Europe and when you ask them, “What do you do?” they tell you of their hobbies, the things they love and enjoy. Ask someone in North America and you will get, “I’m supervisor/manager/leader/VP of such and such a company.”
A recent and disturbing trend is for individuals to work overtime without compensation because the result of refusal is termination. The downsizing of years past was never rectified and companies all over North America demand that those remaining, continue to pick up the tasks left by those terminated.
So, slowly, the important things in life are being taken away from us in the same way that the elite of centuries past managed to remove the joy of life from their serfs and servants.
What are the odds that a talent scout is going to pick you to be the next Carey Price/Meryl Streep/Payton Manning? Infinitesimal to none, right? Those are the same odds that you have of ever rising in the corporate world. You are probably where you will be in 10 years; the Lords and Ladies in Waiting, the Heirs Apparent have already been picked. Harsh but true. And? That is a blessing because the higher you rise, the lesser humanity you possess. Your life becomes nothing more than a dollar sign; your personal worth is what lies in your bank account and when you kick the bucket…something we all have in common, from the homeless person to the person with the most wealth, we all die.
It doesn’t matter if you are religious, if you are an atheist, if you are a living saint or a serial killer; you will die. The worth of your life then becomes apparent. In the corporate world, when you join the choir invisible? Once the in-fighting is done for your job, your seat with have another bum in it before grass grows on your grave. Don’t flatter yourself believing that you will be remembered for your cost-cutting measures. Don’t think that anyone will have a second thought about you once your position is filled.
The people who are remembered and remembered with love, with respect and with fondness are those who give of themselves – not write cheques out as tax deduction but who give their time, their empathy and their soul to others.
The guy who is the CEO of the hedge fund, of which I am familiar, is a materialistic dickhead of the First Order. He doesn’t care who is left on the street as long as he has enough money to buy the next new toy, travel to the next destination that strikes his fancy, throw the next A-list party. He will die and be remembered as a dick when the fighting over his estate and the companies he owns wind down. Oh sure, he hands out money to charities but they are nothing but names to him. Tax write-offs. Benefit to him.
He’ll be put into a mausoleum where he’ll gather dust like the blue collar worker, down the way a piece, in the cemetery. Death doesn’t care who you are, what your net worth may be…you are dead. A very true statement: “He who dies with the most toys is, none the less, dead.”
Life is so short and we have such a finite amount of time to make this life something that means more than a MacMansion and a Rolls.
I guess, it is all up to the individual; do you want to be remembered as a materialistic dickhead, if you are remembered at all or would you rather be thought of with love and respect because you used your life to better the lives of others who needed what you had to give; empathy, kindness and good. None of which have price tags or fiscal worth.