I can’t decide if I’m a philosopher or not, although I can’t quite decide what the opposing version of a philosopher is called; so I will have to be a ‘warm weather’ philosopher i.e. looking at life philosophically when it suits.
I often compare ‘life’ in general with my previous life when I had a ‘proper job’ as manager of a claims department of an insurance company (I know, don’t tell me). Part of that remit was to carry out quarterly staff appraisals, you know the sort of thing; a bit like your school report only worse because money is involved (although perhaps in some schools, that also happens!).
I have to admit I did find a small amount of (sadistic) pleasure in the process, it was the one time I could inflict my frustrated closet teacher tendencies on staff and also be allowed to tell them what I thought about them (in a strictly professional manner of course!). Anyway, it was during the ‘performance appraisal programme’ that I started to analyse the structure of organisations and this is where I put my head on the block and link in with the start of this blog….
In my opinion, a workforce is a bit like a herd of cows: there are the ‘plodders’ and the ‘leaders’ both of which are needed for a company to operate efficiently.
The plodders are those who come in, do just what they have to and no more; occasionally need prodding and guiding, but all they want is the pay packet at the end of each month. Then there are the leaders of the herd, occasionally rather irritating because they think they should be at the front all the time and they jostle and vie for attention, making sure they receive any credit due. But each have their place and purpose making sure the wheels of industry keep turning.
Are you a plodder or head of the herd?
I then related this ethos to the world at large and wondered what it was that made a person ‘great’ and memorable i.e. a leader or conversely a lesser mortal i.e. a plodder. Is it some greater being that decides who is going to be what or is it down to the luck of the draw? Are the majority destined to be ‘cannon fodder’ for no other reason other than keeping the wheels of the world well oiled and turning with fresh stock? And what is it that makes one person more noteworthy than another?
The circumstances at the time must have a bearing e.g. had there been no Crimean War, would Florence Nightingale have become the famous ‘lady with the lamp’ and had Napoleon been a peace loving French Bohemian, would Nelson have become the great ‘admiral of the fleet’?
But without a driving force, what or who decides our destiny? Are we to be the cannon fodder or were each of us put on this planet for a greater good?
Colin and Chris Weir of Ayrshire having won the Euromillions, have had their lives turned upside down; but was this luck or were they destined to win so they could do a whole lot of good in what is becoming a pretty bad world?
Colin and Chris won £161million in July 2011
I have a theory, we were all put on this planet for a reason, for the majority of us, it was to keep things ticking over so we can pass on the baton to the next generation who are in the running. Yes I know that makes most of the population plodders but they are needed just as much as the leaders of the herd because without the former there would be no need for the latter.
But for those of us who are being carried along by the rest of the herd, but see ourselves as having a raison d’être and are looking for a gap to break free, to do something significant and worthwhile, then I believe you are the true philosophers; looking for the reason why and seeking the wisdom to understand our greater purpose in life.
You may not be a ‘leader’ at the head of the herd, but you may just make a difference to your neighbour – even if she is an old cow.