No country for … ordinary people
I don’t know if I mentioned this before – I earn my living in Human Resources, you know, recruitment, training & development, assessment, so on and so forth. Probably the largest part of my job is made up by recruitment assignments for a variety of positions – from top management to specialists. I love the lack of routine in it, the learning behind each project, meeting various people and gaining understanding about various jobs.
But – as there is a but, of course – you see, some time ago I started wondering about the stories shared by the people I meet, about the skills which are deemed necessary for THE candidate, about the “profile” part in the job description of the positions I recruit for. It seems that there is a high demand for people-movers, things-fixers, high-achievers, overachievers, winners, fast-trackers, organizational champions, super-extra-über people, efficient management superstars, business miracle-workers and profit wonder-makers. I have met some of those professional business superstars and I truly envy their strength and admire their brain power and well… their nice pay-checks. And then, at the end of each interview I ask them about their free time, about their hobbies and their little, everyday pleasures. No surprise here, most of them ask me laughing what free time is and admit that they do not cultivate and enjoy their hobbies anymore. Some of them tell me that they only see their children at night and early in the morning. Others don’t have families and think about buying a pet to share their empty apartments. They are proud of their careers, are looking forward to the bright professional future and love the families they rarely see – and I ask myself if it’s worth it. I see them always on the run, in a hurry, preoccupied with their tasks and objectives, bursting with energy.
Indeed, business is business and successful businesses need successful people. They also carry huge pressure and the obligation to surpass past and recent achievements: I guess that is why people downshift and the reason so many people genuinely live mostly during vacations, that is if their company Blackberry doesn’t require their attention 10 times per day and urgent business matters don’t arise at the office.
So I would very much want to know if there is a country for ordinary people. I mean what should normal people do, where do they go? What happens to the ones who just don’t excel at business … whatever, who aren’t top 10 material, the ones who don’t get the medals? I am revolted that they could be considered less valuable, unfortunately average, undesirably deficient in resonant accomplishments, mere organizational debris.
I am secretly happy and somewhat avenged each time I hear about a former employee of a blue chip company who dares to break free from the corporate world and starts his/her own small company, following a dream, working not to get rich but aiming to live decently whilst getting satisfaction of each day and reaching that life-work balance he or she has been dreaming about when laboring for the success and prestige of a multinational corporation.
I am also wondering what happened to the vocational professions? Like… I don’t know…. being a cook, a handyman, a carpenter? They are often looked down on, as if they are exclusively reserved to failures, to those who cannot succeed in the privileged people’s world. I remember my grandmother’s pride in her job – she was a seamstress – and the inner reward she found in doing her job. Nowadays the species my grandmother belonged to is almost extinct. The race to get rich is on, as if happiness really depended on mere material resources.
To be honest, recently I too started dreaming about becoming the resident of that country for normal people. I am thinking about starting my own little business someday and I vow here and now that I shall not be driven by growing bigger and bigger and I shall not forget about my dream of living a simple and normal life. To quote Clover dearest: “normal is good! normal is good (enough) for me”.
Have a wonderful week everyone!