Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Envy; Report Cards

There have been some promotions at the office. I did not get one. Actually, most people didn't.

On an absolute scale, this is no tragedy. I'm having fun, learning things, growing, making a contribution, feeling valued, and getting paid! Paid way more than enough (but don't tell my boss). There is really nothing to complain about.

But. Do I struggle with envy? Yes, even though it's silly. Silly to have envy, I mean, not to struggle with it. (The alternative, simply yielding to it, is just dumb.)

Envy is silly for me, for many reading this, and for just about anyone reading this on a computer at home. Because we are richer in an absolute material sense than what, 99% of people who have ever lived? Over 95% of the people alive today? Being able to read, and to read English (the language of the web, of commerce, of Shakespeare -- sorta) in particular, is a wonderful thing. To have a computer, and internet service, at home is something few throughout history could even imagine, and only a few percent of today's world population enjoy.

Envy robs us of the ability to appreciate what we have, instead distracting us by what we don't have (I refuse to say "lack").

So I have a "B" at the office. As I have said many times, there is no shame to finishing one's career as "senior engineer." And there is no shame in getting a "B" (or B+ or B–) either. Because all that stuff is like an elementary-school report card -- mine are long forgotten.

Better, as I have said, to make sure of at least a C– in everything: as husband, father, brother, citizen, follower of Jesus. And some guys can get an A+ at the office and do well everywhere else too, which is a great thing. And if I don't, well, it is good to be content.

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