I need a place to write, and since my writing muscles have atrophied from years of typing, why not just keep a blog.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Do the world some good?

I was challenged a few months ago by a friend on what I did for a living and whether it was actually good for society or not. "Does what you do actually benefit us, or does it just add to the incredibly massive amount of noise and clutter that plagues us?". This friend, who is a teacher, is sometimes filled with pride over the fact that she is teaching future generations. I have to give her credit, she teaches at a school in a rather rough neighborhood on purpose.

After tossing out some unoriginal answer I quickly changed the subject because I truly didn't know the answer to her question. Is what I do actually important to us all, or am I just adding to the morass? This question continued to haunt me until my next employment opportunity arrived.

I purposely chose my new employer on the basis that their mission was to benefit society. They were there to provide an answer to parents who were dumbfounded by the ridiculous MPAA ratings they find on films today. They offered a way for parents to actually judge the content of films so they weren't shocked by what is passed off as PG or PG-13.

I was pround of myself. I had found a job where I could do what I enjoy as well as contribute something positive to society. I went back to my friend and boastfully told her of my new opportunity. She was pround of me as well. I was doing good.

Unfortunately, this opportunity turned out to be the biggest nightmare of a job I have ever had. The CEO was a complete obsessive compulsive ego-maniac. The controller lorded over the staff like some kind of demented monarch. And the CTO was manipulating the entire staff behind the CEO's back so he could position his other company to take over the entire engineering department. The staff was uninspired, and there was so much political crap going on you couldn't actually get any work done. My day was filled with positioning and jockeying and not actually working on making the product better. All that AND I had to wear a tie!! The Horror!!

So, after 3 months, I fled from that hell on Earth and landed in a job very similar to what I was doing before Helljob. And my friend, while she understood why I left so quickly, was slightly disappointed that I hadn't looked for another equally beneficial position. My answer to that was true desperation. I wanted out so bad I would have taken anything. However, the job I did take turned out to be nearly perfect.

Those that are lucky enough to enjoy what they do and truly benefit society are few. Those opportunities do not come around very often. While there are many many ways you can volunteer to help, being able to do it for a living is difficult. And that is truly unfortunate. There is so much need in this world, why there are so few organizations set up to help is unfathomable. I understand why that is, I just think it's odd.

So, here I stand in awe of my friend who chooses to do what she does, and get paid as little as she does, to reach out to these children and try to inspire them in some small way to grow and learn.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

dude...anyone who claims to "do good" and purports to be able to challenge others to do good probably feels the need to justify certain sacrifices that they feel they've made.

i have friends who teach in compton public schools and frieds who raise money to build inner city schools here and abroad and friends who work in deepest troths of capitalism and friends who spend their day doing art and friends who stay at home and raise kids. If they're happy (and soem are) they don't measure their lives out in contributions to society(gee, did I do good today? no? damn!), but in whether or not they're fulfilled doing what they do.

In other words, doing your calling no matter what it is (caveat - and not a child molester or murderer, etc.) benefits society a lot more than feeling superior and martyred as you go about tending to lepers all day or teaching inner city kids. Of course, you're probably not doing your calling, but it doesn't sound like your friend is either.

As doestoyevsky said, "To live is noble enough."

3:32 PM

Anonymous JJones said...

Good points. There is definitely some of that there. But when her original career choice fizzled out, she chose teaching over a few other more lucrative paths. So I have to give her a little bit of credit.

4:01 PM


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