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I was going to write a little thing about the two men that Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania are named after but I’ll put that off another day. I was thinking this morning how we are identified in so many ways. It seems to be of great importance that people know our career titles. Some people are only known as the superintendent or the vice president, or the office manager. Those titles are important to your careers but you shouldn’t let them define you.
Being retired, I have realized just how quickly the value of career titles fades when you are no longer working. I was the section manager and the software engineer, now I’m just Pete. All of the people that were so important when I was working are just regular folks now. If I ran into a fellow that was an executive vice president of the company I used to work for, I would treat him with respect but not any more respect than any other person that I would engage in conversation.
This made me think. People are admired when they work long hours to get ahead. It is good to be ambitious and want a successful career, but make sure that you realize that there are other titles that are more important than manger or an executive title. The titles of spouse, parent, grandparent, and friend will be with you for a lifetime. Do not forsake those titles in pursuit of a career title.
Yes, in most cases, the more money you make the happier your family is, but there is a point of diminishing returns. There’s a point when the money becomes a band aid on the problem of lost togetherness in a family. This can happen when one or both of the parents are striving to get ahead. It is important to enjoy what you do for a living but I believe it is a real mistake to make it the major focus of your life.
I feel the loss of the family core is the route of many of our problems. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that the adults in the family shouldn’t have rewarding careers and that now and then and their work shouldn’t come first. I’m just saying that the major focus should be on the people that you love and the people that love you. Believe me, after you retire, very few of your closest work associates will even remember your name. The ones that will be there will be your family and your friends. Think back to the great song, “Cats in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin. Remember those words, they are very true.