In an ant colony, workers are replaceable. There's plenty of them available. A worker is defined by one key characteristic: it does what it's told to, and just what it's told to. It is obedient. There's plenty of workers up here in the human world too. I'm not talking the iconic production chain. If you have a manager that sets objectives, if you are measured against them, if you have a budget to reach, if you have a set of customers to look after to, if you have a project to deliver... you too are a worker. And yes, you too are replaceable.
Replaceable things are cheap. By definition, there's no need to overpay for something you can replace easily. In fact, you'd be stupid if you would. Granted, some ants are more effective than others. Some may be faster, some may be able to carry more food. Ok, pay those a little more but among the ranges of what a worker is. Don't fool yourself. Doing what you are told to, meeting your objectives, even exceeding them, only entitle you for a tip, a promotion. But you are still in the workers league. You are still replaceable. You are still cheap.
Big corporations love workers. When you have scale, workers are what you need. There are big inequalities in the compensation of big corporations. There will be a small group of rich queens and then a massive amount of workers. It reflects the fact that in a particular colony, queens do the thinking and workers do the execution. If you are a worker and do not agree with what I just said because you feel you think a lot too, that's because you spend a lot of time thinking how to do what you've been told to. And that's fine, ants have to sort out issues too: that stone on the road, that leaf that fell from the tree, that angry customer, that delayed project... Your how is never as important as their what. Ironically how is often more intellectualy difficult than what. But difficulty does not equal importance.
Your grades at school measure how good a worker you are. School is designed to teach us to do what we are told to, and measure how well we do it. Did you get good grades at school? Great, you can become a good worker. That's something to be proud of, don't get me wrong. Being outstanding in such a big group is a remarkable achievement. But don't lose perspective, you are being measured as a worker, not as a queen. Did you receive a great appraisal? Same thing. When you push your kid to get better grades, you are pushing her to become a better worker, and that's good because good workers will be valued in our colony, specially in big corporations. But remember, even good workers are replaceable. You are pushing your kid to be replaceable.
A queen's life is richer, and you should aim for those riches. A worker's life grants you essentials: food, clothes and shelter. It gives you a fair degree of security and it allows you to belong somewhere. Not bad. But it will not give you self-esteem, nor self-actualization (your ability to realize your full potential). That's why you feel like you feel. Like something's missing. For those riches, you need to become a queen.
Escape the worker's trap. It's not easy because it's what you've been trained to. Your parents thought it was the best for you. And it's better for the system to keep it this way. It's deeply engrained in our value system. It takes perspective. But you can start taking steps:
- Don't do what you are told to. At least don't do only what you are told to.
- Be aware when you are spending time on how and push you to step up and think on the what.
You don't need to be a CEO or chairman to be a queen. It's easier there because that's what they're supposed to do. It's more complicated for a worker to escape from its trap because in many colonies they still don't like to face more queens. That will change eventually in my opinion. But for the time being, find your own reign and reign it.