So lets get philosophical for a moment here, I was watching Boston Legal, the very first episode of it to be precise and there was a speach by William Shatners Character Denny Crane about there being a point in a mans life where he starts to be a little less who he was, where he starts to feel like he might be irrelevant and so he searches for anything to make him feel relevant again to prove that he still has it. I recently finished William Shatners Autobiography ''Up Till Now'' and in it he talked about how he could relate to the character of Denny Crane after all he had been William Shatner the actor who was loved and celebrated as Captain James T Kirk one of the greatest science fiction heroes of all time and after this he went through a period where he did lots of little projects diffrent bits and pieces and some people started to use terms like ''has-been'' and to claim that he had become a sort of parody of himself that he had become somehow less. Now I need to make it very very clear here that I absolutly adore William Shatner I dont think he ever diminished I think his star has only glowed brighter and brighter with time in fact I see his work as Denny Crane to be some of the best of his career.I do think that there is something to this quest for relevance though.
The thing is I dont think the quest for relevance is something that starts when your older I think its something which is always there it just becomes more central at times, seems somehow more important. When I was younger back at university I got apart time job, now I did get a certain sense of who I was from being a uni student but at this job I set my sights on the role of supervisor because something in me told me that if I got that role it would make me someone. I got the role about a year after I had been there so I was at Uni and I was a supervisor at work and I was around 20ish. I finished my degree and was a graduate but I never pressed this fact with work, I did think about using my qualification to look for something else but decided that manager was just a push away from me, I figured if I could get the manager job without using my degree then I would have proved I could make it twice once through education and once just through pure hardwork. It was a bout a year latter and i was a manager, then I should have left but I kept pushing up the ranks becoming a higher graded manager and then deputy manager of the whole work place, then I found myself being sent to run other branches for the short term when there were isues eceetera and then I was on the verge of being given my own branch to run, then I got ill, I got ill and I had to give up my job to concentrate on getting better.
When I left work I left my title behind I stoped being Deputy Manager Kerr and simply became Kerr or in a way as I saw it more as unemployed ill waste of space Kerr. You see I had allowed so much off my sense of identity to become linked to the role I had taken on, I had focused so much of my sense of pride and self worth on this job title. I had given this company my everything, I had worked myself sick and endured more than I care to currently talk about but what had I actually gained from it? Well with each promotion there had been a pay rise, but there had also been a massive rise in responsability, a rise in preasure and a rise in expectations. The diffrence from assistant to supervisor had been a 20 pence pay rise, a badge that said supervisor and a tiny bit more respect on the one side with roughly twice the pressure, twice the work load and twice the expectation on the other. If the safe was down money it was now my fault, if a sales assistant cocked up it was now somehow my fault, if something broke down I had to find a way to fix it, and the list goes on and on.
Am I saying dont progress at work? I guess I am saying think long and hard about why you want to progress, think not only about what you are gaining but also about what you are loosing. Remember though that you are not your job title, you can trick yourself in to feeling that the label you wear at work gives you real life relevance that it makes you something but you are at the end of the day only what lays under that uniform, and what is more if you decide to give your life worth based only on one thing such as your job or your part in a relationship or status as a university student or any other single thing then you run the risk of falling to pieces if you loose this one single thing that you have determined makes you who you are, that makes you worthwhile.
As a student of Psychology let me offer this advice, the human personality is a huge and complex thing, there are so many reasons for each and every one of us being the person we are and if you try to simplify who you are, to crush it down to nothing more than a small label then you cheapen it and you cheapen youself. If you want to know what makes you relevant its not your job or your house or your money its whats in your brain and what is in your heart. You dont need a label to have worth, you dont need a shiny badge to have respect you simply need to be yourself. The people in my life who I respect both at work and socially I respect or dont respect because of the way they are, give them a badge or take one away from them and it wont change my thoughts or feelings about them in the slightest if I thought they were great to start with I will still think they are great, if I thought they were a prick then I am still going to think they are one.
So who am I, I am Kerr the father, Kerr the son, Kerr the boyfriend, Kerr the writer, Kerr the Survivor, I am smart, funny, silly, loving, kind, insightful, a little bit crazy and a lot complex. Every single person is a list like this in fact there a much longer list a list far to long to ever truly read or write and this is worth so much more and so more important than anything that can be pinned on a uniform or written in a simple summary. Hold on to what makes you who you are, value yourself on every single part of who you are and value those around you in the same way.
I could end with some huge quote from a philosopher like Aristotle or Plato, or I could even quote the famous song lyrics and make refrence to ''I did it my way'' but in truth I think the whole point of this is better summed up by a quote from the fictional charater “Bill” S. Preston, Esq. (From Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure)