In the corporate world there seems to be a big hard-on to aspire towards top level leadership.

Answering e-mails on your holiday or at your son’s football game doesn’t really sell it to me.

As a by-product of this thinking many organisations almost shove this level of career development down it’s workers throats.

But what if someone doesn’t want to?

I recently became a manager and this has given me the opportunity to meet workers from various backgrounds – many who are perfectly content with where they are.  They don’t feel the need to badge collect with a number of qualifications that will be useless for the role or taking on additional challenges – while failing to do the job they are paid to do competently.


They are happy with the routine.  Which is actually a real refreshing change because a lot of people I meet in the corporate world seem unhappy just because they haven’t had a promotion in the last 5 minutes.

Working with these people is great because they don’t need that constant need to be challenged and validate – as long as they get the paycheck at the month and only do the 7.5 – 8 hours then they are happy.

I really respect it and from working with these people I am learning about my own career aspirations – I am ambitious and I tell myself everyday that I will one day be a Project Manager, but even I start to see where my boundaries are.  I don’t want to continue advancement without thought – being burnt out and stressed with meetings that are all talk and lack action.

Also I am not always content with what I do, but seeing this attitude from others made me take a step back and think to stop acting like such an self-entitled brat – I have it good and should appreciate it!

In a world of leadership management self-help psychobabble where we can all reach the top if we work hard enough and believe in yourself lacks the cold-hard, realistic mathematical fact there is not enough big inspiring leadership roles on the level of Steve Jobs to satisfy the content provided by this literature.

Besides Steve Jobs was a bit of an arsehole, why would I want to be an arsehole?

Put it this way we’re living in a corporate world where everyone wants to be the clock face but forgets the importance of all the cogs that make it work – no matter how small those cogs are they have significant impact if it stops working or is removed!

Romans had an obsession with fame and glory, in the same way corporate drones do now.  In reading it’s history I see stories of the average Roman foot soldier breaking orders charging wildly at the enemy wanting to make a name for themselves – only to be cut down.  In a similar way I have seen a number of corporate equivalents, except instead of death they suffer loss of reputation followed by a quick exit.

When you think of ancient Rome we all remember the names such as Caesar, Pompey and Augustus – the great conquerors who built the empire.  But those people would have been nothing without those nameless thousands who followed orders and gave their lives.  The cogs in the machine to make the clock face remembered forever –  all in the name of Rome!

Next time I think that I am not achieving enough in my career, I will think back to how once I worked without question, without expectations of reward and promotion.  In the libraries I was really happy – it was poorly paid, they couldn’t give me enough hours and the job constantly at risk, but the routine and working with people made it worth it.

Back then I never felt entitled to progression and I was happier, why when I am better off now do I expect more?  As I strive to constantly move forward I remind myself where I came from and am grateful for what I have got.


2 thoughts on “Cogs

  1. The desire to be the face comprised of all cogs similar to the desire of becoming a Godly mastermind. Submission or acceptance to the fate that indicates otherwise requires a certain kind of humility that simply does not exist in many people despite the fact that we are all ultimately cogs of something else bigger. As dehumanizing as it is to say, we all are to a certain extent. It just so happens that in certain lifestyles, it’s more transparent.

    Liked by 1 person

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