It does not matter
When I was a kid I used to watch the Carol Burnett show with Tim Conway and Harvey Kormen. It was
funny and slapstick and as I got older I realized it was full of wisdom. One of my favorite skits was with Tim
Conway as a drunken preacher. A 1970’s televangelist complete with a powder blue polyester suit. He
gets up to the podium and starts his preaching and says, “My friends it just don’t matter.” In fact the more
he drank and the longer he preached the less it did matter. And I have to say the funnier the scene got.
What you are doing does not matter. You don’t have to do it. It does not have to get done. You are not
the only one who can get it done. In the long and circuitous path that my work experience has followed I
have worked numerous low end administrative jobs and have also held several upscale technical
positions. One common denominator has existed between them all; someone else could do the same job.
There is always someone else out there willing and able to do your job and often for less. Now, don’t go
and get scared that is what management wants you to do. A healthy fear of job loss is a great way to
maintain employees and increase productivity. People who are afraid of losing their job don’t ask for
raises or time off and they don’t complain about extra work being piled on them.
An interesting, although less recognized, component to this situation is that when there are more people in
your job field it is because there are more jobs out there that your skills could be used to fill. Although
there is a delay for training workers tend to adjust their skill sets to fill demands in the market place in
order to make money. This is a situation that management does not like to highlight but if you can get
over your fear and let go of your sense of gratitude for the job. You might begin to realize that you are a
marketable commodity and not beholden to any particular company or any particular position. You have to
look objectively at your skills and abilities and organize them into a sellable product. If you can do that you
don’t even have to do your job. You can do any combination of tasks that your skills can accomplish.
Therefore you can do any job that contains those tasks. Even if you have not done that job before or you
don’t have experience with everything contained within a position. If you can do maybe 60 percent of the
job description then you have a good chance to succeed. You can look at the other forty percent as room
to grow. Remember that in a capitalistic economy success is most often proportional to risk. In the end,
for most tasks in most positions their completion is meaningless and unnecessary. This is true even in the
actual functioning of a companies business but primarily true in a grander scheme and in relation to you
personally. If the trash does not get taken out this week or the towels in the restroom are no replaced the
world will not end. If the paperwork on your desk is not filed or the report you normally pull on Thursdays
does not get pulled till Monday the company will survive. And the development project that you’ve been
working on for three months and has already been pushed back twice can be pushed back again without
causing time to stop and the earth to shift its orbit. The point is that the pressure you feel about most
tasks in the work environment and the work environment itself is artificial and adjustable. To make matters
worse the function of most companies what they do and or what they provide is usually not important
either. If your company went out of business and the world no longer had a supply of rubber doggy dodo
so what. If there is a great demand for it another company will start up and produce rubber doggy dodo.
(Because the purpose of a company is to make money they do this by providing the good or service.
There is not a lofty purpose to most companies) but for you it will not matter because you have skills and
are marketable and will find a new job with a new company. This is why it just doesn’t matter because they
can come and go and so can you.
Most companies do not server a higher purpose and so you do not have a higher purpose. The tasks that
you perform are no more important then making your bed in the morning. It makes the room look nice but
you’re going to mess it up again at night and have to make it again the next morning. And if you don’t
someone else will or it just won’t matter.
The Lesson to Learn:
You are not valuable because of what you do in a company. You are valuable because of your skill set.
Your skill set is portable you can take it to any other company and be just as effective so don’t let yourself
get locked into a single job, company, or career.
The Brutal Truth:
Is that the functioning of most companies and as follows the activities of all of its employees has no
purpose other then to make money.