With all of the leaders of the major political parties announcing their candidacies for office, I have decided to run as well. I realize that I will need to align my values with my constituency, and that I may have to make some compromises to get what I want, but I think that it is time that I stood up for my beliefs.
In this election, I will not be running for President of the United States. I am also seceding from the race for President of the Society. I won’t even be running for Chair of the local school board. Instead, I am going to be the President of Me! That’s me as in me, not ME as in Maine.
I am sure that you think this preposterous. How could I ever expect to run my life? What about my boss, my family, my colleagues — my word? Surely they will have some say in what path I will take? I shouldn’t expect them to sit idly by while I forge my own path — surely not.
Besides, running my life won’t be easy. There are matters of finance, relationships, diplomacy and leadership. What good am I at these types of things? If I were me, I think that I would much rather trust others with such onerous tasks. They’ll know what to say. They’ll know what to do. An external candidate should have a much better chance of winning that me.
But then I must argue that I am the best at knowing what I want. I have unique insights into the consciousness of me. I am the best positioned for planning my future, and if I think about it, I know what things I need and which ones I don’t. If I take the time and put in the effort to do it, I can build a better plan than any other person out there.
Unfortunately, like most of us today, I spend more time planning my annual vacation than I do planning for the future. It’s just too hard, frustrating, no fun. It is much easier to let my life be dictated by others. I generally take the free electron path, the path of least resistance.
However, this year I am taking the road less traveled. I will support the internal candidate, me. In this way, I will truly know that the winner of the election will have my best interests at heart. I know that I am the only one that I can truly take care of me.
So for whom will you vote? In the end, it should be you. As Shakespeare would say, “to thine own self be true.”
This article was written by David Harwell, Assistant Director of the ACS Department of Career Management and Development. Originally posted in the chemistry.org newsletter on Mar. 19, 2007.