“Perhaps we need people to sweep the floor or clean the deep fryer. But it doesn’t have to be you…”
“Surely not everyone” was the subject on the email. I read Seth Godin’s latest post via Feedburner subscription that landed in my inbox. I loved what he had to say — Except for that sentence above. I was all ready to take exception, to do a post that points out another way of looking at the floor sweepers and deep-fryer cleaners.
There was a bit of the same attitude in Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?, his most recent book, and I still take exception.
Why? Because everyone, no matter what job, can bring to it a sense of purpose, dignity, and commitment to shining their inner light. No matter what job. It’s the inner light that counts. So I was all set to start my rant, then clicked over to Seth Godin’s blog post for today, what is now online.
Lo and behold. That sentence (above) was gone. It was replaced with this: “Perhaps some people will insist that there are jobs where no humanity is possible. But you don’t have to work for them.”
Well, true enough. But people need the jobs. And they can still bring their light and their humanity to the process of their work. It’s not ideal. It’s an uphill battle. But even a tiny candle in the darkness creates more light than was there before.
Visualize lighting birthday candles. If you’re like me, you light one candle, then ignite the rest of the candles on the cake using the first candle you lighted. One candle can light many others.
And what of the assumption that “we” don’t want those types of jobs? Who is this “we?” I take it to mean people making a commitment to making a difference. Ultimately doesn’t everyone want to own their greatness? Isn’t making a contribution the reason that we’re here?
Ultimately I agree with Seth Godin: Potential Linchpins lurk inside nearly everyone. And I’d say an important part of stepping into that Linchpin role is to uncover whatever it is that makes us shine, that lights our fire and helps us come alive.
Bringing that light and aliveness into the workplace or the endeavor or the creation — that’s the starting point. Then you’re keeping the light alive, coaxing and cajoling the flame, stirring the embers, so that you ultimately get the fire to a point that it helps you cook up whatever is important and will make the difference — the connection. The connection within. The connection with your perfect people, your tribe. The connection with your creation, the gift you give.
He knows how to end strong, Seth does. “We make a difference to other people when we give gifts to them, when we bring emotional labor to the table and do work that matters… your ability to create and contribute isn’t determined at birth. It’s a choice.”
Agreed. Thanks for revising, Seth.