Friday Fable: Aesop’s THE PLANE TREE*

Posted by jlubans on November 22, 2013

20131122-plane tree.jpg
Caption: Ingrates, resting in the leafy shade, complaining about no fruit.

“Two Travellers (sic), walking in the noonday sun, sought the shade of a wide spreading tree to rest. As they lay looking up among the pleasant leaves, they saw that it was a Plane Tree.
‘How useless is the Plane!’ said one of them. ‘It bears no fruit whatever, and only serves to litter the ground with leaves.’
‘Ungrateful creatures!’ said a voice from the Plane Tree. ‘You lie here in my cooling shade, and yet you say I am useless! Thus ungratefully, O Jupiter, do men receive their blessings!’
Our best blessings are often the least appreciated.”

And so it can be for those of us laboring in cubicle-land when we fail to support –nay, even undercut – the work of the folks in the backroom, be they one-door down or miles away. I’ve heard front office staff blame the processing people for delays and disruptions, when in reality the blame belonged much closer to home. In library-land, where I worked, some of the book selectors routinely explained to students and faculty that the hot, new books were not on library shelves because of the anal retentiveness of the processing staff. That made for a blame-shifting chuckle.
The facts? We found that the processing workflows were hugely impacted by when a book selector ordered items. A few selectors delayed – for personal convenience - placing any new book orders until the end of the month and in some cases, until the end of the semester! Who’s anal?
While we processed orders in one week - an industry “best blessing” - the selector-delayed orders impeded receipt of new books. In some cases, the books were already out-of-print, forcing us to go to used book markets, an extra step.

*Source: Aesop for Children (translator not identified). Illustrations by Milo Winter (1886-1956). Chicago: 
Rand McNally & Company, 1919. Available online at Project Gutenberg.

Leading from the Middle Library of the Week: The University of Wyoming.

Copyright John Lubans 2013

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Posted by Bela Gupta on December 05, 2013  •  19:16:23

A very nice tale which makes a valid point so true to our culture and work environment today! Thanks, John.

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