If I failed and nobody was there to witness it, would anybody care? I’ve survived several companywide restructures and about to endure another. Fortunately, I’ve had a chair still waiting for me when the music stopped that was still in. Not the same chair but thankfully a chair. This time anyhow…
Too often I fear I’ll end up like the Jack Nicholson‘s character in About Schmidt who, on the day of his retirement, sees his life’s work ends up in the dumpster before he leaves the parking lot. He’s basically erased from the company no sooner than a wave erases a footprint and maybe starts to think his life has had no impact and eventually it will be as if he has never existed at all.
What’s not thrown in the dumpster is in the box we leave the office with for the last time that we soon realize is a collection of desktop or wall hangings that has no meaning anymore because the moment in time they represent is a moment reduced to “remember when we/you/somebody thought I was valuable?” I still have my father’s stuff that sat on his desk and his awards that I look through occasionally and wonder if my legacy will be reduced to a similar box. I enjoy looking in my Dads box because I know that box represents a portion of who he was and how others perceived him.
Yes, I think someone would care because my life will not defined by what I do from 9-5 but how I’ve lived 24×7 since the day I was born. Ralph Waldo Emerson once defined the meaning of success as “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a little better; whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived”. I hope to be remembered that way one day..