To matter means a lot of different things to different people. “To matter” is a complicated thing to think about. To me, living a life that matters means that I am making a difference in someone else’s life. I try every day to make a positive impact in someone else’s life. To me, that’s what makes me feel like I matter. Whether it’s as easy as just making my roommate laugh or helping my mom at 8pm with her computer issues, I honestly can say I not only enjoy doing that but it gives me a sense of mattering.
I write this as I am going through old videos of choir performances in high school that I did tech for. Doing those gave me a pretty awesome sense of mattering. Me and a group of 4 guys would more or less be the backbone of every choir and band performance, pep rally, anything requiring some kind of tech. This gave me an immense sense of mattering. The fact that I was able to make their lives easier and enhance the production quality of all these different events made me feel like I mattered.
From the book “Dare to Matter,” Jordan Kassalow defines mattering as finding what drives you or needs you and acting on it. More or less, finding your niche in the world.
In my career, I am taking a few steps to matter. Mainly, I like to add value to the company I work for. I’ve been able to reduce operating costs and streamline processes for a number of things in my time there. Not only has my boss been very grateful but my own workload has been reduced. I used to have to spend 3-4 hours per laptop setting them all up but now it’s all automated – I can just ship people brand new laptops and once they sign in it loads everything automatically. A year ago when I was doing 3 laptops a year it made sense, but now when we have 6 new hires starting in the next 4 weeks it starts to make less sense. The really satisfying part for me is getting to see the fruits of my labor. One example of this is me building a lot of custom programs to tie different parts of our technology together. One of these is tying our physical security system to our unified security management software that monitors our network for threats. With it, we can see all of our security threats, virtual and physical, from one place and have smart alerts based on all of it. Server room door open and suddenly the core stack went down? Seems a little sus.
I think there are a lot of things that feed me. One notable one is my curiosity and desire for learning. I am naturally very curious and love learning about the silliest stuff sometimes. For example you could ask me about how fire alarms work and I could tell you how all of the different parts of a system work, why every part of it needs to be supervised, all the different codes and how they influence installs and product design. No real reason I need to learn it; I’m not going into the fire protection field or anything. But it’s just really fun to learn about in my opinion.