One of the things that rejoining LinkedOut has done for me is indirectly link me to a lot of former coworkers - every time one of your "connections" likes something from someone, it shows up in your feed. I tend to just whip through such things in general, but one last week caught my eye.
The like was for a former employee of my company. I sort of remember the young gentleman (almost everyone is "young" anymore, or at least younger than I). He left, as I recall, three or four years previously, seemingly just another in a long line of people that have worked there and gone to something different. This happens I think as you grow older: you move around less in your career as the "younger folk" are establishing theirs.
His post was about his completion of his medical degree and announcing his residency.
I just sort of sat there and looked at the post. In the last period of time, what had I really done?
I supposed I could put all sorts of caveats around things: my parents, the Plague, my job change.
But really, what had I done? Or more importantly, how had I changed and become better?
The answer, I fear is, "not much" or "nothing at all". If I compare myself to three years ago I find myself to be largely the same. Same position, same place, same activities (mostly), same me.
For some reason, that really bothers me.
Yes, I understand that this is probably an extreme example, and that inherent comparison to others is not necessarily the best thing. At the same time, I think it is fair to ask the question - be it daily, monthly, annually, or even just randomly: "Am I a different person than I was the last time I asked this question? Am I a better person than the last time I asked this question?"
In theory at least, we should only stop improving ourselves somehow when we die. The fact that I at least feel exactly the same as three years ago is, frankly, not a comfortable feeling.
It seems to me there are two separate questions here, I guess because I don't see doing and improving as the same thing. Doing is a checklist, whereas improving reflects strength of character and spiritual maturity. For example, I think contentment is often confused with complacency. An ambitious person with a long impressive checklist may be a restless, discontent soul, unable to find peace within themselves. Yet, many see ambition as desirable. Perhaps perspective is a matter of which human traits we value most.ReplyDelete
That is more than fair Leigh, and perhaps I did not fully elucidate that one leads to the other. It did make me take a hard look at myself and say "What have I done - what have I become - in this period of time?".Delete
Oddly enough, I find contentment incredibly difficult to manage. I always have the feeling that I should be "doing" something. It is a condition that I do not quite know where it comes from.
I think we all struggle with contentment. Even the Apostle Paul said, "I have learned to be content..."Delete
Leigh, I have been reading more of the Stoics as a result of this consideration. One thing they suggest is to measure ourselves not by how much we desire, but by how much we do not desire and on how little we can actually be satisfied with.Delete
Well, maybe "better" is a relative term.ReplyDelete
You have a full plate of parent issues dealt with. You went on some hikes that gave you more perspective and physical challenges faced. Household family members coming and going. That is a lot. As a more 'seasoned citizen', climbing to a summit is closer than that younger person.
A young person should have more education on their plate. They are getting started and have more ground to cover to become 'successful' (whatever that means) How do you measure success - is is increasing personal wealth ? More satisfaction on how your Life is going ? The speed of employment projects progressing ?
Thanks. I think you are right, and certainly am not directly trying to compare my 50 + years with a career to someone who is not fully decided on one yet.Delete
A definition of success? Ah, there is the rub. Perhaps because even that eludes my grasp fully is why I find myself with questions.
So that former employee became a doctor, now how does he become better? Saving a life this year? Then two lives next year? More each succeeding year? Wanting to self-exam your life can be useful yet finding dissatisfaction with normalcy might be nit picking. Helping those who need help, especially within your own family, can be really satisfying, it was for me. Don't beat yourself up TB. Not saying a person shouldn't try to improve themselves but don't overthink it.ReplyDelete
Maybe it just caught me on a bad day, Nylon12. It just really struck me as a thing.Delete
Overthinking, sadly, is something I am prone too.
Be content with what God gives you. Make use of the talents He grants you.ReplyDelete
“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love – for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you from misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”
― Max Ehrmann, Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life
Thanks for the reminder, Michael. It has been a long time since I saw that poem.Delete
A great poem but Michaels first line is a very important one for me.Delete
BCCL _- Agreed. We greatly underestimate the value of silence in the current age.Delete
I have never heard of LinkedOut so I had to google it. I'm pretty sure now that you are referring to the other Linked website satirically. I've never participated in that site and probably won't start.ReplyDelete
The older I get, the more I think change is a young person's game. They have to do it for survival. I on the other hand can probably coast out my remaining years without much change and get by just fine. Generations of my ancestors have done the same thing before me. At the end of the day, I just try to be selective about what I change, trying to change for improvement and not just to keep pace with the Jones family.
Ed - Yes, it is LinkedIn. It is almost a current "business necessity" if you are in lots of lines of work or thinking you will need to be in line for a new job in the near future. Other than potential job leads, I find it largely without purpose: people either post company/business updates or general sorts of career/business things. It is like Facebook without any of the personal qualities.Delete
I had not thought of change as a young person's game, but I do not think you are wrong upon reflection. To be fair, I as well could largely get from here to my end without doing much different other than that which I wish to do differently. Perhaps my issue is the difference between stability and complacency.
I empathise somewhat TB. I am really struggling with melancholy at the moment.ReplyDelete
The "Senior" Project Managers in my dept are younger than I am now, have never worked in the field or even a related field. They have just completed their masters degree, and walked directly into a senior role.
Worse, I cannot help but observe none are male. Their next role tends to be "manager" after a year or two of causing multiple variations and cost over-runs while barely delivering a single project. They survive due to the frequency of departmental restructures, so it's never their fault nothing gets completed.
That LinkedOut site seems to be facebook/instagram for professionals, and is just as fake. It seems to be of limited utility other than self-promotion.
Bahhhh, Humbug !
Time to end the melancholic self-indulgence, move onwards and upwards. Not one single person cares what some old man with a slowly greying beard has to say. So memento mori, reflect, re-orientate, take more training courses, keep my opinions to myself and work smarter.
Because really, no-one actually cares what some man with a slowly greying beard has to say.
Anon - I think, like you, I can only focus on that which I can control (I have to keep reminding myself of this - a lot). It is not that I want to achieve a more lofty role - I have had such roles, and there is nothing but pain and stress there. I need to turn more inward, on being a better person - just as you suggest.Delete
I hear you. I take things like that and let them rattle around the old brain pan, too. I'm still a private person, so I'll send you an email to update you.ReplyDelete
The stuff I don't mind sharing:
I was diagnosed with ADHD, and my study of the condition explains my whole life experience pretty well. WHY I do what I do. And how I stumbled onto some really neat things that helped me excel in spite of it.
That head injury in 2020 was God's gift to me.
STxAR (I am guessing it is you), I am pretty sure I am a pretty high functioning ADHD person as well. Which, as you say, is helpful in explaining how I do what I do and why (for example, why I hyperfocus on a particular things or interest and then, almost as mysteriously, lose all interest).Delete
The ways God sometimes gets our attention continues to amaze me.
Not as anonymous as I thought. Actually, newly reimaged pc, and it isn't playing nice.Delete
STxAR, in all fairness my actual comment group is pretty small and I have come to know most folks by their writing, whether or not Blogger helps with the identification.Delete