Dad for Beginners

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Success Factors, pt. 4: The Apathetic


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 4: The Apathetic

The apathetic is someone who understands that work is trivial and in no way contributes to personal happiness. Often times, these people are labeled as “detached” or “indifferent” in the workplace. The truth, however, is that the apathetic are usually the people who have the fullest life and get to experience the widest array of the human experience. They are only steeped in apathy relative to their careers.

They care nothing for their jobs. They work because it is required to survive. The apathetic see money as nothing more than the paper that a corporate society has created as a means of control. They work. However they are perhaps the smartest and most intelligent employees available. Because they maintain the belief that work is only a function of social devolution, they are often perceived as lazy and underwhelming. Often times these indifferent barons of industry are glossed “sarcastic” or “condescending” by their peers. Because the apathetic comprehend the meaningless of modern work, they are not sought after. They do not tow the company line. They do not intentionally impress. They do the minimum simply because the minimum is all that’s required. For them to contribute more than the minimum to their employer, the minimum must be elevated.

The apathetic often work smarter than the average employee. In working smarter, they accomplish their requirements without much effort, leaving them more time to aid their personal life. The apathetic often have a more carefree and easy-going lifestyle because they are not preoccupied with the sheer idiocy that consumes The Psychopath or The Delusional. If an opportunity for professional advancement presents itself, the apathetic will accept it, but not pursue it if it requires professional competition. When this person is elevated into a position of higher status, they will quickly adapt and learn how to maintain their new job title doing only the minimum requirements, albeit different than before, but still the minimum nonetheless.

The apathetic go home. They are available. They are apathetic towards their work because they grasp the reality that mice running circles on a wheel seldom make any advancements. The identity of the apathetic is not wrapped up in any professional category. Perhaps ironically, the apathetic are the ones you want leading your company, yet rarely rise to those roles. Their peers look at them with disgust at how effortlessly they accomplish the same jobs, yet can’t help but marvel at the fact that despite their perceived professional mediocrity, they are never criticized or terminated. They are the most valuable employees around yet will never be the high watermark of professional excellence.

Employers create professional standards based on the model of the apathetic employee without even realizing it. Professional values espoused by Human Resource departments often mirror the values already embedded in the apathetic because values originate in the human and are not conjured magically from behind a desk. Things like integrity, passion, and responsibility. Employers ask their staffs to exhibit these values in their professional environments so as to better cultivate an interpersonal culture in the workplace that mirrors life more so than it mirrors work. The apathetic possess these values already yet have chosen to channel them into their lives, not their jobs.

What this really boils down to is utility. When the bulk of your adult life is spent engaged in your career, where is the utility there? When aspects of your existential being that formerly made you…YOU, have vanished in favor of your career, are you still able to have a sense of utility? If your day job is merely ancillary to your life, then maybe you are the apathetic. If you have trained your mind to understand that work is nothing more than a functional requirement of human existence, then this is you. Congratulations. Now go home early and still receive your fully salary.

Pt. 1, The Psychopath

Pt. 2, The Delusional

Pt. 3, The Realist

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