When I was younger I assumed that being a cog in the machine was a bad thing. Having spent a large part of my career - and life - in the Tech Industry, I feel as though I have been indoctrinated with the belief that people who "just push buttons" were valued less than "knowledge workers" or people whose jobs required more mental and creative abilities. I can't think of too many times where someone explicitly stated, "Seth, you are more valuable than Bob over there." No, the message comes in the form of gestures such as constant recognition, financial rewards, work flexibility, and other performance rewards. Not that I feel as though people don't deserve being rewarded for going above-and-beyond in certain situations, quite the opposite. However, in the same breath, I feel as though solid consistent progress should also be encouraged and rewarded.
In order for a system to operate at maximum efficiency, every part of the system should act as a cog in the machine. If the task is raising a child the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, healthcare professionals, teachers should all be considered part of the machine. If the task is a successful product launch the designers, managers, engineers, quality team, marketing, sales, finance, customers should all be considered part of the machine. Not that the system operates in a humdrum, all-parts-are-equal manner, but instead as a group of real people with real strengths, real weaknesses that bring real value and whose contributions are all essential to overall success. I've finally accepted the simple fact that being a cog can be seen as a good thing. And, after all these years I have come to the realization that I am, in fact, a cog in the machine.
A machine with numerous interconnected cogs, except one. The disconnected cog asks wonders aloud, "You guys ever feel like you're not contributing?" to which the others respond, "no".
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