Friday, December 22, 2006

My Spreadsheet Will Never Make Someone Smile

The other day I was on the train with some friends- all professional types with degrees and fancy-sounding jobs and things. A guy got on and started playing some Beatles songs on his guitar.

Maybe it was the fact that it was the Christmas season, maybe it was the little kids on the car that got up and danced, or maybe it was just the fact that the guy was good and he got really into it, but at the end of the song, everyone in the car applauded.

During one of the songs, my friend leaned over to me and whispered "That guy's job is so much more important than any of ours."

I agreed with him to an extent. As good as I might be at pushing around numbers in a spreadsheet, I am never going to get a spontaneous round of applause for it. I am never going to cause kids to get up and dance, and I am never going to make people smile.

I do take pride in my work though. I hope to be able to use it to support a family of my own one day. The money I make is only a means to an end, and I’m reminded of this end every time I go to a funeral. No, I’m not talking about death. I’m talking about having a positive impact on the people around me. About being a good husband, brother, son, uncle, and friend.

Maybe the fact that I like to leave work early on Fridays to play Wiffleball with my nephews will get me one or two less promotions in my lifetime. Maybe coming home to have dinner with my wife will make me fall behind on some things at the office. Maybe (almost definitely) I will never be the CEO of my company but you know what? That’s fine with me, as long as I don’t have to give up those other things.

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