June 19, 2010

Life is Like a Pickle Jar

An uncharacteristically short post today, and possibly a little corny, but I'll put two cartoons at the end to make it worth your while stopping by.

I've had a pretty rough couple of months, one way and another, with my health, enthusiasm, self-worth and energy taking a beating in a number of areas in my life, all at the same time. So when this parable was related to me by a colleague who has experienced more than his own share of setbacks, it certainly struck a chord. Apparently it is known as "The Pickle Jar Theory of Time Management", but I think it has a wider application in terms of keeping balance in life, and "not sweating the small stuff" (another useful cliche).

Here's how it was explained to me:
A teacher places a large empty pickle jar on his desk at the front of the class, and puts in as many rocks as he can.
He asks the class if the jar is full, and of course they reply that it is.
He then picks up several handfuls of pebbles and adds as many as he can to the jar. The class again agrees that the jar is now full.
Next, he pours in some sand. Quite a lot of sand, in fact, until it reaches the top of the jar. "Is it full now?" "Yes!!"
But no, because he picks up a big jug of water and proceeds to empty it into the jar.

I'm sure you get the point: make room for the big things in life first (health, happiness, family, friends etc). Less important things will just have to fit around them, and if there ends up being enough room for some of the really unimportant stuff, fair enough.

But if you start with the sand, there simply won't be room for all those rocks.

And now those cartoons I promised, either or both of which may or may not apply to me.

June 09, 2010

Leadership, Loutism or Blatant Bullying? (2)

When I discussed this issue 3 months ago, I was speaking more or less in the abstract, because it is a subject about which I feel very strongly, and a behaviour I witness far too frequently, in all its many forms.

However, since writing that post, I have unexpectedly found myself in the position of victim, whereas I have always considered myself strong enough to withstand and even expose this sort of unacceptable behaviour.
But as I wrote:

In such situations we all have a responsibility to stand up to bullies and those who similarly misuse their authority. If someone stands alone they are likely to be harassed, ridiculed, or even dismissed from the organisation.

Unfortunately I seem to have an unerring instinct for undertaking battles I can't possibly win, usually on behalf of people less foolhardy than myself. In popular mythology it is frequently possible to defeat overwhelming odds, but the reality is more prosaic, and Goliath usually wins.

Nobody likes to lose - it is always unpleasant and frequently humiliating, but when the winner is a bully and a person in authority, there is a shameful tendency for them to continue kicking the person who is down, knowing there is nobody who can stop them. It's hard to believe that they derive any pleasure or satisfaction from this (although anything is possible), so this post-victory intimidation is presumably in order to make it even more clear to everyone that any similar opposition would be very ill-advised, and the consequences deeply unpleasant.

Unfortunately for me, such a reprehensible misuse of power makes me even more determined to fight back, even if Resistance is Futile.


Related Posts with Thumbnails