I broke today, I think.
I cannot define the specific moment for you but I can define the time. It was relatively early in the workday, when I was consulting industry literature to see companies in my space are doing. There was an article about a leader in industry and his opinion on where the industry was going (in his case, the wrong way).
I read the article and thought "Wow, there is something pretty neat. Cutting edge stuff, people doing good." And then got sucked right back in to the mediocrity of my work existence: broken work flows, documents that need fixing, things that I am supposed to do and have not gotten to because of other things.
And then it hit me: there are great things going on in my industry. Really great things. Life saving things, life enhancing things. They are just not happening here. And they are just not happening through what I am doing.
It was at that moment I broke.
All of a sudden all of my tasks were laid out before as they really are: administrative exercises in paperwork, minor walk on roles in a play where the action and main characters have long ago passed me by. I do the work that needs to be done but even in that it is work that is ultimately just plugging holes and filling gaps. The great work goes on elsewhere.
Not here. Never here.
What to do? I am not sure, except I have now discovered a huge hole where my "I care" button used to hang. I will do the work that needs doing because it needs to be completed and systems need to be maintained, but I no longer have any illusion that this means anything other than nothing. More effort will not results in greater impact or recognition. My efforts to go higher will only result in more of the same rather than something different.
All I know is that I broke something today. And I fear it can never be repaired.