Krylov’s THE WHISK*

Posted by jlubans on September 30, 2021

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GREAT honours were suddenly conferred upon a dirty Whisk (broom or brush).**
It will not now any longer sweep the floors of kitchens; for the master's caftans are handed олег to it, the servants having, probably, got drunk.
Well, our Whisk set to work vigorously. It was never tired of belabouring the master's clothes, and it thrashed the caftans like so much rye.
Undoubtedly its industry was great; only the misfortune was, that it was itself so dirty.
Of what use, then, was all its toil ?
The more it tried to clean anything, the dirtier did it make it.
Just as much harm is done when a fool interferes in what is out of his own line, and undertakes to correct the work of a man of learning.
__________
In the workplace,
I am bound to say, the ineffective whisk is analogous to he who would disdain – because of spite or jealousy – from going along with someone’s very good idea.
Instead, the disdainer promotes/defends a bad idea, thereby sabotaging the organization.

*Source: Krilof and his fables, by Krylov, Ivan Andreevich, 1768-1844; Ralston, William Ralston Shedden, 1828-1889. Tr. London, 1869.
** In Russian, a Golik. A bunch of bare twigs, greatly resembling a “scholastic birch” once used in the UK in corporal punishment of mis-behaving students.
More often nowadays, these are used in saunas all over northern Europe and Russia. However, the sauna birch whisks I’ve seen in Latvia all had leaves and intended more for swishing than twitching.

No supply-chain issues here! My books are printed and shipped in the USA, so when you buy my latest book of workplace fables you can expect speedy delivery. Something to keep in mind as the gift giving season looms.

And, don’t forget my book on democratic workplaces, Leading from the Middle

© Copyright all text by John Lubans 2021

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