I am more than 40 years old, and I don’t manage anything. There was a time in my twenties when I was a manager, but then I moved on to other things and somehow the endless stream of deep topics I have immersed myself in since then have kept me working mostly on the little stuff.
That’s the difference between managers and non-managers: Managers work on the big stuff. Other people work on the little stuff. I solve problems, and that helps me and my world to move, all in a positive direction. But I usually don’t get to pick the direction. And I don’t usually get to allocate resources. I’m the “task guy”.
There’s the personal life and there’s the work life. Keep that in mind. I realized a few years ago that my personal life is far (far!!) more complex than my work life. But my work life tends to be more in harmony with the community of progress that we all depend on for our futures. Sometimes the two types of life cross over in complex ways, and both have a chance to benefit from the crossing.
One of the great things about not being a manager is that you don’t need to figure out how to get other people to do stuff. That’s also one of the nice things about not being an activist.
But I am an activist. I always have been, in one form or another. So I do, when my heart gets riled about a topic, need to figure out how to get people to do stuff. Many activists just complain, form larger and larger groups, polarize the world, and create a general grumble that riles the community’s heart. But I don’t think that type of activism is very useful. I prefer the type where you talk to individual people, and keep talking until you figure out the right people to talk to about the right things.
When the right person wants a change to happen, that’s when it happens. You don’t need to change the world, you just need to change one or two hearts within it, from time to time.
Little moves. That’s where I like to be. Hopefully I am making the right ones, most days. Activism, when done “right” is not contentious at all – at least not over the long term.