By Skye Thomas
My teenage daughter reminded me of something the other night. We were talking about things that were going on at school. She is in a drama class and is one of the teacher's favorite students. However, when assigning roles for an upcoming show the students are putting on, the teacher completely forgot to put my daughter on the list. This isn't one of those big school plays that students try out for and hope to get a role. This is a mandatory class project and is the equivalent of their mid-term or final exam. The teacher assigned each child to a group and the groups were assigned one-act plays to direct, rehearse, and then perform in front of the parents. My daughter was shocked that as one of the favorites in the class, that the teacher had completely forgotten to put her on the roster. She was frustrated because she ended up with a boring group doing a boring role while the rest of the teacher's favorites had all been hand picked for starring roles. She wasn't at all angry, just frustrated that the teacher would have forgotten her and therefore she ended up in a lesser role.
I told her that I had always been the same way... a student that was well liked by the teachers but completely forgettable. She then went on to say that she thinks that if she went back to any of the teachers that she had just two years ago, that they wouldn't be able to remember her name. She feels completely forgettable. She knows that she's a good person, but that she's easily forgotten. Her friends forget to invite her to their get-togethers. Laughing together, we compared stories of being forgotten. I told her that my career in Corporate America was full of those kinds of stories where bosses would forget that I even existed at promotion time, yet would say how much they counted on me because I was so reliable and dependable. Such is the life of the good little worker-bee who does not cause problems and does not jump up and down saying, "Look at me! Look at me!" Show up on time every day, do your job well, stay out of trouble, remain likeable and politically neutral, and what do you get for it? Forgotten. Nobody remembers that you were ever there.
Does it matter? Does that mean anything in the big context of your life? Yes and no. If you have goals that involve promotions and somehow getting the public to acknowledge you, then yes it matters very much. You won't be able to follow your dreams if you stay in this forgettable state. If you have a full life, love what you do for a living, don't require any attention nor recognition in order to advance within your chosen field, and you are secure in yourself, then no it doesn't matter if they forget you the minute you walk out of the room. For a teenage girl wanting some popularity and notoriety, it matters. That same girl wants to be a doctor some day. Will being forgettable stop her? No, not likely. If you work in sales, the entertainment industry, or as a politician then yes being forgettable is career suicide. If you work in research industries, daycare, bill collections, nursing, or clerical positions then it really wouldn't matter all that much if you're an unforgettable personality or not. It really just depends on your career and what you want to do with it.
It matters most, in your personal life outside of your career. If your friends and family forget that you even exist, then unless you are an extreme introvert, you are going to have problems. It's one thing to be forgotten by your boss and coworkers, it's quite another thing to be forgotten by your family or to have your friends forget about you. Most people end up feeling isolated, alone, and unlovable. Unfortunately, this also causes depression, self-esteem issues, and can lead to substance abuse. There is nothing worse then feeling like nobody would notice or care if you dropped off the face of the earth tomorrow. Humans are a social creature. We were never designed to be hermits. We require positive loving contact with each other. We need to travel in packs with like-minded folks who care about us. There is nothing more powerful then knowing that someone's life has been deeply touched by you and the fact that you simply exist makes their corner world a more beautiful place.
So, on some level whether for career purposes or for our own socialization needs, we need to know that we are not completely forgettable. How do we become unforgettable? The easiest way to know that you will never be forgotten is to be as mean and ugly as you possibly can. Being a jerk makes people think about you, plot their life around avoiding you, and they naturally will bring up your name in conversations. I will remember one bill collector that was in charge of my school loans until the day I die. Not because she was a bill collector, I've known many and have even been one. No, I will remember her because she made my life a living hell for about five years. Yes, I know that you don't want to be like that, but let's be honest. We all know people who are horribly mean for no good reason and they are unforgettable because of it.
The other route you can take is to be more than just a good kind dependable worker-bee. Be more than just a quiet loyal family member who doesn't bother others with your problems. You have to become bright with an inner light that people can't quite explain. It comes from an inner source that cannot be taught. Think about the truly wonderful unforgettable people in your life, the ones who touched your heart in a way that you will never forget. They all have that mysterious something within that shines outward like a beacon of light for the rest of us. It can be an at-home mom who is strong happy and proud of her choices. It can be a teacher that changes troubled teens lives by igniting their self-confidence. It can be an employee who truly loves the company, their job, and is a dynamic source of positive office moral. It's a teenage boy who isn't afraid to walk up to a group of fellow students and with a big beaming smile, arms spread wide open ready for a hug from the girls, and just say "Whaaaazzzzzuuuuup?!" in that ridiculous way that makes them all laugh. It's a combination of their healthy self-esteem, a feeling of purpose and direction, and a willingness to share their love and light with everyone they meet. The combination is magnetic and unforgettable.
Copyright 2006, Skye Thomas, Tomorrow's Edge
About The Author
Skye Thomas is the CEO of Tomorrow's Edge, an Internet leader in inspiring leaps of faith. Her books, articles, and astrological forecasts have inspired people of all ages and faiths to recommit themselves to the pursuit of happiness.