We are not enough. I don’t mean that in a performance sense or emotionally; I mean the pure numbers: we are not enough people. Corona shows us what good merchants should have recognized years ago: Some people cannot be replaced, they are too important to be able to switch off their smartphones. They are too important to be out of reach on vacation. They are too important to see their children before they go to bed. You are SO important.
And I don’t want to doubt that many people are damned important at this point, and I mean that quite unironically: across all industries and at all career levels, there are people who are important.
But why are they not replaceable?
The answer is simple: because that would be too expensive. It would be too expensive to create duplicate structures. It would be too expensive if two people could do the same thing. Those who are so important could also see being replaceable as a career threat: what if the other person gets promoted? To warn here that the system is on eggs feels toxic to your own progress.
Bad planning costs
Everyone pays the price. The company pays the price when the inevitable failure occurs and the group has not structured it for the future. The accident victim pays the price if the best orthopedic surgeon is not available.
Colleagues pay the price if a service employee is absent. The family pays the price when the intensive care carer cannot go home in the evening because someone from the staff has dropped out. Quite often the price is paid by a woman who would like to have something from her evening, but who, many years earlier, decided on a man who is now too important to live a life.
We live in a society that likes to rest on its importance. Total failure then teaches what is really important. When a person falls away because they are seriously ill. When a person falls away because they can no longer. Then suddenly so many things are possible that, had they only been possible earlier, might have prevented this failure.
If the working society were to learn from this, one could simply say: one is always smarter afterwards. But that’s not how it is. A lot has gone wrong for years due to tight personnel planning – and we haven’t gotten any smarter.
Importance is so convenient, so convenient
Giving up the fantasy of one’s own importance is what makes it possible to accept the importance of others. At the same time, the idea that the partner is so important is a protective claim. To firmly believe that HE is so important that SHE can no longer work, that SHE cannot realize herself, that SHE can take care of everything alone – that is incredibly liberating.
It’s much easier to convince yourself that you are in a cage. In addition, in a cage with which one does society as a whole a favor. He’s so important – hurray! – we don’t have to think about it any further, we don’t have to negotiate, damn it, it’s the way it is; and we leave it that way.
But that’s too easy. Here a couple successfully convinced themselves that the situation could not be changed. Perhaps he successfully proclaimed the message of being irreplaceable until she finally believed it. Perhaps that suited her because she was worried about going back to work after parental leave.
She will probably regret it, maybe soon, maybe many years from now. Many feel the same way, that’s okay. But then we just carry on and find ourselves again – and suddenly we are important ourselves.
When women realize their importance, it comes to a bang
When women stop recognizing the importance of men, the whole system in which we live will collapse on a grand scale. Imagine for a month that women across Germany only cared about one thing: their professional advancement.
Without ifs and buts, without: “But in our case that just doesn’t work because my husband saves lives or has to get through the tax audit or won’t go along with it and what will happen to the children?” And let’s be honest, the last point is the one it often boils down to.
This has already been attempted on a daily basis, with the women’s strike. Can I have some more, please. Please longer. One day is not enough. We can take anything for a day. If the system is to change, it has to break. Women can take so much. We still endure this break.