Why would a highly educated 27 year old in Sri Lanka say he was fed up with doing work that ‘makes rich people richer’?
You might think we are talking about a stereotypical millennial that changes job frequently, doesn’t practice the subject he studied at college and resents not earning enough money for his age. Considered lazy and out of touch by boomers?
Well I don’t agree. Even though I am a baby boomer.
When I was 27 in Britain, I never had the thought that my work was making rich people richer. But I’m sure it was true: I was just oblivious to it.
Let’s come back to our Sri Lankan. His company has Western customers. He sees the very obvious contrast between his pay and the money made by those that ultimately employ him.
He has a point…and his awareness is better than mine was at that age.
When you are aware of a problem that others are not, then you can appear to be ‘out of touch’, disengaged, even. It bothers you. Justifiably I say.
So what does he do with his dissatisfaction? Just suck it up and follow the system? Because it’s the way the world is?
On top of this, he has unspoken fears: not being able to make a noticeable impact on the world, not finding meaningful relationships at work and elsewhere, not being able to reach his full potential. Not feeling able to change the world…
One person against the world.
How can we help him?
Start with some words of wisdom: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples”. [Mother Teresa]
How do you create your ‘stone’ and what gives you the strength to throw it?
It’s a personal journey. It’s about personal development rather than professional development. It’s not CPD, although you may need new technical skills to create your ‘stone’.
You start with yourself rather than your situation.
However, your response to your situation tells you something about yourself. Start there.
How well do you fit with your work?
How well do you fit with your community?
How well do you fit with your home life?
Get more specific: is you purpose aligned with your work, your community, your family? Do they have a strong sense of purpose in the first place? [Simon Sinek’s theme]. Do you feel your contribution is good and uses your strengths? Does it have impact? [Jeff Walker’s theme] Is the impact good? Is the well-being of the world improving as a result?
Do you get emotional when you get wind of that well-being in the world?
That emotion is what drives you to do more. This where the strength to throw the stone comes from.
You can also say that you have found where you belong.
Who is richer now? You or the other guy?.