Speshul lil’ Snowflake

Even if it sometimes feels like it.
Philosophy for our time

It’s a Sunday morning, I’m labouring ahead under the delusion that people care what I think and I can’t understand why Ariel didn’t write Eric a letter to explain what was happening. She signed a contract, her penmanship was excellent. 

I wrote recently about my desire to find a job with “regard for me as an individual”. This sounds simple enough on paper, but putting it into action requiress a certain amount of self-awareness which is not something I’ve traditionally excelled at. Am I the special little snowflake that seemingly my entire generation was raised to be? Or am I the same as everyone else?

I’m going to take a scientific approach to some very non-scientific data to try and frame this in a meaningful context. The population of England is approximately 53 million people according to Google this morning. There are 48 ceremonial counties within England. If we accept the commonly held adage that you can be ‘one in a million’ then I may not be unique within the county of Sussex. A simultaneously sobering and terriying thought.

But lets flip this analysis around. Suppose there is another me within the County. That leaves two of us in a crowd of over a million other people. I don’t know about you, but I don’t interact with anywhere near that many people. Probability would suggest I’m unlikely to have to deal with myself on any sort of regular basis. 

The scientist in my brain immediately clamours for more detail. What parameters constitute ‘sameness’? How is it measured? Can I use it to save or take over the world? How ‘same’ can I be as someone else and still regard myself as an individual? 

The pragmatist in my head has questions of a decidedly different nature. Does it matter? Is there any practical advantage to being unique? Is there not more to gain by acknowledging similarities with other people? Could I somehow use my other self to get away with a crime? 

So many questions, and I don’t think there is a single set of right answers. If you think you’ve got the answers, please share them in the comments. Would love to hear people’s thoughts.

Being an individual, I have to wonder what the overall result of this train of thought is. Am I a unique, special little snowflake? 7 billion people alive in the world, probably not. Am I an individual for all practical intents and purposes? Absolutely. What practical impact does this knowledge have on my life? More analysis required. 

I’ve long been of the belief that there is no one in a general working environment that is irreplaceable. No matter how good you are, solid chance you are not the Chosen One of your parricular profession. I’m not going to say that this knowledge keeps me humble, because well, yeah. Even through a computer screen I can’t be that deadpan. But it does give me some humility, enough at least to keep me grounded most of the time. 

I had a job interview on Friday and it didn’t go as expected. But not for the reasons you might expect. My approach to jobs previously can best be described as ‘Does it pay more than I earn now?’ If the answer was yes, there’s a solid chance I was interested. As the interviewer was describing in detail the job role and where it fit into the business, I found myself realising that it wasn’t what I’d thought it was. And what it actually was didn’t sound like something I was overly keen on.

I was also asked what my plans were fot my own career and how I thought this job fitted in with them. I struggled to answer this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, with what had been said before I had come to think that perhaps this job wasn’t for me and so didn’t really fit with my plans (even vague as they are). The second was that I didn’t really know how to articulate what I was trying to say in a way that doesn’t make me sound like a lunatic. I enjoy chaos, but this sounds better as enjoying fast-paced, dynamic atmospheres. I may be struggling with this because I’m late to the party in realising that it is worth thinking about, but it frustrates me that I seem to be learning a lot of it through trial and error. 

The thing that set me to thinking about individuality was an article that spoke about the workforce of a company as ‘people capital’ and something about it just did not sit well with me. I understand that we are only worth as much to a company as we contribute, but this seems wrong. A team of individuals may have similar capabilities, but have completely different perspectives and experiences. Fundamentally it is the capabilities that matter, but the individuality that is the difference between a human and a robot.

Are we unique? Are special? Maybe? Are the challengs we face the most intricate dilemmas to ever be resolved by the wit of man? No. Are they a challenge to an individual that hasn’t faced those circumstances before? Hell yes.

 Now I just need to find some other peoples ideas to steal and cobble together into something that works for me.

Simple, right?

Alex

3 thoughts on “Speshul lil’ Snowflake

    1. I do not like it for a long time thinking it will do the magic . No way in the environment we are building .Fake magic it is called, so better change it as much as we can 🙂

      Like

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