Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Success for Widgets...and Not-Widgets.

I’ve been thinking, recently.  I know, I know: you’re either thinking “when aren’t you?” or “oh, shit, what now?”  But no, I’ve been thinking about the tantrums I’ve been seeing happen as the widgets don’t react as widgets, but as individuals with different ideas, hopes, dreams, and philosophical outlooks. 

I think the “social activists” have forgotten that every human is an individual.  Assuming they ever really learned that, in the first place (I have my doubts—a lot of those people are…well, to put it bluntly, stupid).

It explains so much. 

They assume that, since the outcomes for women haven’t changed appreciably—as in, the proportions of women in top positions in a lot of different walks of life haven’t changed despite an equal opportunity, that there has to still be sexism somewhere, keeping women down. 

Or, they look at how the proportion of racial minorities hasn’t appreciably changed, any more than the proportion of women has…and assume racism must be at fault. 

What they’re entirely missing is that individuals are exactly that: individual.  There have always been the driven few, pushing through everything in their way to whatever they’ve envisioned as success.  Individuals.  Not groups. 

Honestly, the way I look at it, every individual who ends up where they’re content has reached what is success for that individual, man or woman. 

And that…varies.  Wildly.  And sometimes, can change without notice, even to the individual, in question.

For a long time, I was…entirely content with my classroom.  I had an utter blast, sharing office space with several other part-timers.  I didn’t want to be a full-timer, didn’t necessarily want my own space (even if I didn’t focus well in shared space), and absolutely didn’t want to be required to deal with department meetings (I attended one that was requested, but not required, and did not feel like putting up with it ever again), much less on-campus politics. 

Then I…started feeling…unwelcome.  So I started holding office hours in the main part of the campus library and/or coffee shop, with the excuse that more students were willing to come ask for help there.  Contentment restored.  Then I got pregnant, and ended up leaving campus entirely for five years, teaching online, and meeting students during my other half’s working hours, when they needed an in-person meeting.  I missed the classroom, but did not miss the increasingly hostile-feeling work environment outside of the classroom. 

Eventually, after I went back to campus…I realized I was starting to burn out.  I was losing contentment with everything.  I quit being able to write. 

That…was a very bad time.  Then I realized something: my definition of success had changed again.  I was failing in several key areas. 

I am not a widget—if I were, I could have continued on where I was indefinitely.  But since I’m not a widget, I wasn’t happy.  Not where I was, not with what I was doing.  It had very little to do with the job, a lot to do with the changing environment, changing rules, and feeling like I wasn’t meeting obligations elsewhere. 

And those other obligations?  Cannot be met by just inserting another widget from somewhere else. 

Humans are not widgets.  What makes one wildly happy will make the next wildly unhappy.  In general—note I said in general, and am not speaking for specific individuals—men are happier in traditionally masculine work, and women are happier in traditionally feminine work.  If you look at actual jobs taken by either sex*…well, it still mostly holds.  You’ll find more women in nurturing-type** work, and men in everything else. 

I never, ever thought I’d be happier as a housewife, but really?  I am.  There’s a lot of contentment and satisfaction with taking care of my family. 

And that…is something that the hard-line leftists can’t understand, much less accept, because it goes against their narratives—all of them.  And they’re really just not bright enough to understand anything outside their narratives.


*Note, I said sex, not gender: the biology, both brain chemistry and body composition, does a lot to drive career paths and preferences. 

**Nurturing type jobs: teaching, human resources, nursing, feeding people, secretarial-type work (which can include all of the above)…the list goes on. 


  1. I have had trouble explaining this to the last three companies I have worked for. I am on my third career. I am quite content doing what I do and where I am. No, I do not want to train for (another) wild new technology or language. I do not need to 'Advance' myself. I have been doing that for the last 70 years and like where I am at and the fact that they still pay me a comfortable amount says they should be too.
    I have been in places where I did not recognize it was time to bail out and find somewhere more congenial. I hope to recognize that sooner each time. :)
    Your blog triggered memories of both those feelings. Thank you. I realize I may need to be moving on again, too, darn it.

    1. I'm glad I made you think, but sorry if you're unhappy where you are. Moving on, even when it's necessary, always kinda hurts a bit. Or a lot.

  2. Been through those steps, sometimes by choice, sometimes not. I'm an old retired fart now, and 'comfortable' with the environment I'm in. Maybe I'll figure out one day what I want to do when I grow up! :-) Seriously, if you're happy and writing, that's a win-win!

    1. I'm writing, yes. When I've got the energy. Today's energy (and brainpower) was devoured by school supplies (shopping for and organization of). Tomorrow will be school *clothes.*

    2. Oh joy... I 'hated' trying to buy for the daughters... Actually gave up and let them pick out what they wanted, as long as it wasn't provocative...

    3. I have not picked the kids' clothes for them since they got to be old enough to voice a preference. I've always let them pick, with me having veto power.


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