Ever get the feeling you are just a number….
Well, you are. Sorry if you didn’t want to hear that, but truely you are.
There are some 7 billion people on the planet, you are one of them. Over 350 million in North America. Hell, in my home town, there are over a million. But enough with the facts. If you don’t want to be a number then the best thing to do is to not think about it, because denying you are a number is like denying that you breath air. No where can this be more demoralizing than working in a large organization. Or better yet, try calling one of those 800 numbers to get warranty work/service. I think you get the idea, and enough of the downer talk.
There are some benefits to being a number. Like say when it comes time to vote. And yes, I encourage everyone to vote if you have the ability. Not only vote for your politicians, but for anything and everything you can. If you own stock, Vote ! Yes, you get an annual vote at the stakeholder/shareholders meeting. If you like the way things are going, vote for those who make this happen, if you don’t, initiate change. Have your say on matters. Voice your opinion. The old adage, ‘Strength in Numbers” can easily be applied as well. I’m not saying go out and be part of a mass mob, a peaceful demonstration.. well that’s ok !
One thing that numbers provide is a point. Such as a point in time. Goal setting is a great example. Try to set a goal without using some type of number (eg: a date). Yes, now that I’ve thrown out the challenge you will try to find a goal that doesn’t involve a number. But that’s not the point I’m trying to make here… There are a number of theories out there where they involve setting goals for yourself. For example, setting a 5 year personal plan, such as where do you think you should be in 5 years. I’m not talking about in your career/work, but in your personal life. You could probably iterate, with ease, where you’d like to be career-wise, but have you given thought as to where you want to be in your personal life ? (hmmm… me thinks this may be another blog – so back to the main topic)
The one thing about being a number, well at least for me. Is the struggle to be unique.
How do you distinguish yourself amongst the others, your friends, your family ? What is it that makes you, well “You” ? You’ve probably heard this phrase before: “You live your life in the space between your ears” So how do you convey the type of person you are to others. Or is it important to convey that to others. I think it may depend on who you are. I’m an ENTJ (according to Myers-Briggs Personality test). If you haven’t tried this go ahead and give it a try. Your personality type may tell you that your personality type isn’t the type to go out and want to change the world, or otherwise. Or that your challenges lay in other places. Philanthropic, charitable, or whatever.
Recently I ran into a friend I haven’t seen in a number of years. It was a chance meeting in an airport lounge. The one point of the conversation that got me, was the topic of “Quality”. The best example I have here is: you can go to a buffet, and there are several people I know that think this is great. They use phrases like “This is great” “Wonderful food”, etc. I personally haven’t found many buffets that I think are that good. To me, this is Quantity, not Quality. I think the same goes for pretty much everything in life. If you want to, you can go to Costco and get the pallet size of product X. Sure you’ll get a good price on it. Or you can go to a boutique place, get a small amount and get a Quality product. I could go on, and site examples of types of vacations, etc. But I think you get the concept here. The main idea is that the number of items isn’t necessarily as import as the quality of the items. Don’t get me wrong here… should you have one or two quality experiences in your life, or as many as possible. You need to decide that one.
I think that for me, I’m comfortable breathing air, and I’m comfortable being a number. I get frustrated with the fact that there are some organizations out there that will definitely treat you as such. If you own stock in those companies that treat you like a number, VOTE ! If you don’t, then don’t patronize those organizations or their subsidiaries. Also I think that numbers can give us a quality as well. They provide us with a baseline (“Today I am here, and in 5 years, I will be____”) So, What number are you ? and how far are you going to take your number ?