Kierkegaard’s courting of Regina Olsen was pretty weird (and downright creepy given the age when he first started work on her). He didn’t think he could have his desire and was at times told her couldn’t have her.
However when after a number of years he finally got her love and the permission to marry her he decided that he didn’t want her. His motivation to not take the thing that he had wanted so much was about him losing something by being fulfilled. Having a complete life would not be compatible with a lifestyle of angst, dread and despair. And mean he would not be the person he was.
I don’t want to compare myself and my life to Kierkegaard but sometimes you can reflect on events and think ‘bloody hell’ this seems familiar ! What’s philosophy if it doesn’t have relevance to you.
Change is both good and bad but always memorable. Whether it’s the day your to be ex wife asks for a divorce or when you complete a long walk or run its more memorable than the mundane. You need these events to feel alive not the mundane.
Work for many is mundane. For me it’s part of life and that means fun and getting a sense of achievement. However it’s sometimes politics and individual personalities. If you are told that your job is losing some of it’s remit and you are in effect demoted, the fear kicks in and you start applying for roles on Linkedin.
Your ego and pride doesn’t want a loss of prestige and position but you will take it if there is no choice and that you keep a decent percentage of your salary. The recently retired boss started 13 years ago and one of the first things he did was change my salary and reduce it to make it more consulting rather than sales focused. It was a 10% reduction and I took it as I didn’t have an interest in anything else and I liked the job. It paid off in the long term because the company did well and I got pay rises as I was doing a good job.
So back here again. After being resigned to being screwed over, in particular by your manager who was looking to pass on the pain of him being screwed over you do start to think about ways of keeping role. You become a little political and start canvassing support for the job you are doing from you peers and from your team. In the organisation I work in this is recognised and is potentially more powerful than ‘managing up’ where you spend time making sure you have support from above.
Self belief and confidence are a key factor. In a previous demotion situation 5 years ago I simply took it without complaint as the previous 12 months had seen me separate from my wife and kids and start the divorce process. I wasn’t too focused on work and the demotion (to drop down a reporting line and lead a much smaller team) was acceptable and to some extent deserved.
However, this time was different. The team was doing well and had grown significantly. I had also realised that any demotion was not down to my own performance or in fact down to anyone else’s as the company is doing well. It was down to adjusting an organisation which had two people who wanted to run it, where the new guy had won so to speak.
So a period of politics continues and my decision to keep my role was made based on the fact I would enjoy it less if I didn’t have it. However as it seems I am on the cusp of actually getting a slightly increased set of roles and responsibilities I do wonder if this is the right thing. That like Kierkegaard that on the cusp of getting what I wanted 1 month ago that it might be better if I didn’t get it. There are industry changes afoot and looking to tackle these with a smaller team might be better for me than taking a larger team in a more steady direction.
What is best for you is sometimes not what you think it is and only by stripping away pride and ego can you get a true sense of value. My life has had a tendency however to think that other people are better than myself and their views count. Whilst not a doormat I have potentially lost out through a lack of self belief. So rather than Soren I might let my ego take a hold this time.