Dad for Beginners

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Success Factors, pt. 3: The Realist


Some recent literature on has focused on the topic of work and how to it relates to children and life in general. Topics included how to train kids to adapt to modern working society as well as how to explain the concept of “employment” to a child. A child’s daily life is whimsical and timeless. Perhaps the true indicator of adulthood is when you consciously become aware that your life has shifted from timelessness to scheduling. Adult life is stringently scheduled and almost always do adult schedules operate around the idea of work. Employment has become the primary determinant for scheduling other, non-work related adult activities such as vacations, personal appointments and even things as routine as dinner and watching TV. There are four kinds of people in the modern workforce: the psychopath, the delusional, the realist, and the apathetic. In this new 4-part series, we’ll look at each segment of the population as it relates to employment.

Part 3: The Realist

The realist is someone who understands that professional advancement can benefit them personally, but has little to no emotional stake invested in their career. The realist comprehends the importance of work insofar as it relates to their ability to survive in life. While the realist will occasionally utilize the tactics of The Psychopath and The Delusional, they generally maintain a knowledge that they are doing so temporarily in response to an opportunity to benefit their personal life. The realist can permeate the realms of psychopathic and delusional freely and return to their realistic state without guilt. Although they may employ the psychopathic and delusional strategies at times, the realist can typically achieve the desired results of either tactic without hurting or condemning those around them. They have an astute way of observing opportunity and attacking it without ever being labeled as “insane” or “suck-ups.”

The realist finds intrinsic value in their profession only insofar as it is actively benefitting their personal life. Typically, this is the person who will sacrifice personal time on occasion for work-related reasons but will just as easily say no when their career too forcefully interferes with their personal life. The realist has a balance that the delusional lacks and a sense of empathy that is absent from the psychopathic.

The crux of the problem when talking about a realist is professional and personal homeostasis. By seeing both sides of the scale, the realist maintains an equilibrium between work and home by valuing each equally, albeit differently. This is the type of person who understands the value of work only as it relates to the value of sustaining personal happiness. However, with personal and professional success still interconnected, the realist will always need both realms functioning equally well to benefit each other. The mind of the realist works like that of a Venn diagram, with two distinct spheres of life that are separate from each other but occasionally will overlap and influence one another.

What this really boils down to is utility. When the bulk of your adult life is spent painstakingly balancing your career and your life, where is the utility there? When aspects of your existential being that formerly made you…YOU, have vanished in favor of managing complete and total stability, are you still able to have a sense of utility? If your personal utility is ultimately linked to your day job, then you’ve reached this point of realism.

Pt. 1, The Psychopath

Pt. 2, The Delusional

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