brainwashing, irony, management is a skill not a prize, work

Peat Moss! (alternate title: You Might Be Brainwashed.)

Sherman got a job at a company that sold peat moss. He was excited. His new boss showed him the company and the cool machines they used, and Sherman couldn’t wait to help.

Sherman didn’t know much about peat moss, but the boss showed him the company gardens. They looked beautiful. Then the boss showed him charts demonstrating the amazing results of their product. Sherman was happy to be part of this.

Sherman was sent to help in the front office, emptying trash cans. He told everyone how good his job was. He was delighted to learn that the coffee they didn’t drink in the break room was recycled to be used in the factory. Sherman was proud to be part of such a resourceful workforce.

The first time he got to help load wood into the machines to process it, Sherman was thrilled. He worked hard, and everyone liked him. He went home late every night. They asked him to start collecting coffee for the peat moss, and he brought so much that his arms got tired. He was proud to be worn out from good work.

One day, the company had a huge order, and they used up all their supplies. The boss asked Sherman to brew fresh coffee to put in the machine. Sherman laughed as he made the coffee, because of how wasteful it seemed. Sherman had enough time left over to drive to a lumber store. It cost a lot, but they needed to finish the order. Sherman went home very late that night. He was really tired, and he was proud he helped save the order.

Soon after, they got an even bigger order. When they ran out of materials again, Sherman knew just what to do. He rushed to brew all the coffee in the office, then drove to the lumber yard for all the lumber he could get. He went home very late, but they finished the order. The next day, they had an even bigger order still. Sherman was still weary from the previous day, and now the company was even lower on materials. Sherman drove to a coffee shop in town and bought all the coffee he could get. It was very expensive. Sherman went to the lumber yard, but they didn’t have enough wood.

Then Sherman had an idea. He went to his house and got some old wooden furniture out of his attic. He did not want it anymore, so he drove it to the company to put in the machines. Everyone thanked him. Sherman asked his boss if they could stop taking such big orders after this, but the boss told him that they had just been given an order that was double the last one. When they went home that night, everyone was very, very tired.

Soon, Sherman began buying extra coffee every day, before he even came to work. Everyone began to expect it. If Sherman did not bring extra coffee, they would never have enough. When he was tired, he thought of how happy he was to be needed. He started to worry about forgetting to buy coffee. Then one day, they ran out of lumber at the lumber store.

The lumber store was angry. They didn’t have enough for their other customers. They said Sherman’s company would have to order it in advance from then on. Sherman asked the people in his office if they could do that. The people in the office said they only ordered lumber from one place. His boss would have to fill out a paper for it. The form was long and confusing.

The people in the office were mad at Sherman’s boss, because he did not fill out the paper. Sherman’s boss was mad at the people in the office, because their paper was confusing. They didn’t have time for that paper. They would have to get more wood somewhere. The boss asked if there was more old furniture. Sherman went to a store in town that sold antiques. The tables and chairs were old and pretty, but they needed the wood.

He bought lots of old chairs and tables. They put all the tables and chairs into their machine, chopped them up, and poured the gourmet coffee in. Sherman bought lots of furniture. He left later and more tired that day than ever. This was not as good as their original peat moss, but it finished the order. It was late for the customer, though. The customer wasn’t very happy.

After that, Sherman’s boss told him that their new list of orders would be like this for several months. The boss was very tired. Sherman wanted to ask if they could do things differently, but the boss was too grumpy to talk about it. The boss had a lot of work to do too, and so Sherman went about on his own. Day after day, he bought gourmet coffee and old furniture, and poured them into the machines to be crunched up together.

Sherman knew his company made a good product, and he wanted to help them succeed, but he was always tired now, and he didn’t feel happy at work anymore. One day when he was on a break, he went to eat lunch at a restaurant. He sat near another man and they began chat about work. They talked about gardens, and it made Sherman happy. When Sherman told the man where he worked, the man politely said he would never use their peat moss. Sherman did not like that, but the man told him that real peat moss was not made in a machine with chipped wood and coffee, and that what that company made was not peat moss at all. Sherman liked his company, though. He sacrificed every day because he believed in it. He tried to make the man understand that their peat moss was very good and that it used top-quality materials. The man was polite, but Sherman was not as happy after that. He loved his company. They made good garden supplies. He wished everyone could understand how the great their product was.

He went back to work after lunch, but first he went home and packed all of his furniture into his truck and drove it to the factory.

criticism, friendship

The Dumper or the Enabler

The thing about loving someone who has gotten themselves into bad habits…
is that they’re always running out of ways to support their vice. And in order to get out of the bad habit, they need ordinary things, like jobs and food and money to pay their bills. They need opportunities to feel strong, so they can pull themselves back up. We all need to win now and then, so we don’t get bogged down in the thinking that we are losers.

But when someone is an addict, giving them help is a risk.

How do you support them, give them the truth, and make sure they can’t convert your help into more fuel for their demons?