Meaning in Meritocracy
In a Meritocracy an individual’s progress is based on their talent, energy and achievement, as opposed to say social class or wealth. That’s a good thing but it’s not all skittles and rainbows.
Merit-worthy achievements are determined and recognised through various social structures (parents, friends, social media etc) not necessarily by ourselves. This is a slippery slope to a busy but unsatisfying life.
In a public service town, examples of achievements may be meeting the project deadline, pushing through the urgent policy change and getting the briefing pack to the Minister by Sunday afternoon. If you tick these boxes, go to the top of the class in the Meritocracy. You are achieving, you are productive. Yay for productivity!
But how are YOU feeling when you do this? Are these achievements leaving you exhausted, uninspired and dreading going back to work?
I love being productive. I love ticking things off my to-do list. Feeling productive is so important for the sense of self.
But it’s important to pause and question what meaning the activities hold for us. Are we keeping ourselves busy and productive, but doing activities that hold no meaning for us?
Is the status bestowed by the Meritocracy upon productive people enough to keep us satisfied?
From my experience, it isn't. It sure is seductive but the inescapable truth is it isn't enough.
So let’s dig a little deeper and re-examine our to-do lists.