Thursday, October 06, 2005

S is for Success...

Well, I had a major, make-or-break deadline at my job. I am happy to report that my deadline was met, and success was had.

My success will almost certainly translate into an increased gross income for me at some point in the next 6 months, and translates to an assurance of continued income for the short term.

My net income (net income here being gross minus expenses), will take much longer to go up, because the courts already cannot fulfill their various judgments against me within the 60% of my salary that they are allowed to take. So my evil ex, who spends her spare time trying to destroy me in various ways, will get roughly $2 for every $1 increase I get.

Adding in tax, I won't see anything.

So you might well ask me, why do I even try? Why try to improve my income, work hard, when it is all going, literally, to finance someone's efforts to do me harm?

I certainly can sympathize with those who choose the other path.

Having no net benefit for your labors, and further, having the benefit of your labors be used against you - financing lawyers and the like, seems like a huge disincentive. Huge enough to make any reasonable man choose another path. The law is again, upside-down.

I am not sure that I have an answer for why I continue striving to succeed, except that it feels like the right thing to do. Which probably is a sign that it was the wrong thing to do. (The right thing to do generally being something that is smartly punished under the law.) Still, I think I would rather 'do the right thing' and know it, than go the other way. Perhaps it is just in our nature as men.

So it is with mixed feelings that I view my recent success. A bit like having a child who comes out with claws and hooves. You want to give it the benefit of the doubt, but here its mother was mammon (a desire for more money for those who don't like the biblical references), and its father ambition, and you can see already that it seems destined to take as much as it gives.

Not so long ago (ok, perhaps a decade) I read a book called 'How to Find your Mission in Life' by Richard Nelson Bolles. (Again, I don't get $ for your clicks, so click if you wanna.) And in that book Richard used a metaphor for life that cast it as a journey mostly in the fog... One goes from place to place, and mostly, one is in the lowlands, wandering about in the fog, and only occasionally, does one's path poke out into the sunshine on a mountain top.

In your mountain top experiences, you can look about, see where you have been, and where you are going, and things make sense. You get your bearings, and plow ahead. But ahead inevitably takes you back into the valleys of life. Where things are confusing, foggy, and where you can only see a few feet ahead, if that much.

Under such circumstances you cannot know if the directions you choose will take you where you need to go, or will lead you down blind alleys, or into nasty traps. Others may help you along the way, but fundamentally, you cannot know. So what you are left with is the mission of angels: to do the best you can in each individual situation, and be true, as best you can to the goals that came to you in those mountaintop moments. Results are not guaranteed. (Jesus does NOT make your teeth white.) You may come to a very sticky end somewhere down a dark alley. But most likely, you will eventually muddle through. And if you have done the best you can along the way, you will have changed a lot of lives in small ways. And yourself as well.

-M

Simulposted at MIsForMalevolent.

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