Barkis is willin'; no more than Bridger!

Posted by jlubans on May 01, 2022

Caption. Bridger In “Come on, let’s go!” mode. (John Lubans photograph)

A Latvian professor, colleague and friend – I am in Latvia for late spring and early summer - introduced me to the new-for-me expression from Charles Dickens, “Barkis is willin’ “
Mr. Barkis is a stagecoach driver in the novel David Copperfield. Mr. B is persistent in his courtship of another character in the novel and is known for his optimistic, oft-repeated phrase “Barkis is willin’.”
It leads me once again* back to an Aesop fable:

A CERTAIN Man was setting out on a journey, when, seeing his Dog standing at the door, he cried out to him,
"What are you gaping about?
Get ready to come with me."
The Dog, wagging his tail, said, "I am all right. Master; it is you who have to pack up."

I was on tenterhooks, as they say.
Well, as much as a phlegmatic, if serene, personality like mine can be.
I had a new boss.
My previous boss - the one who hired me – had been pushed aside by his new boss and the governing board.
Prior to his departure, he told me that there were people on the board who, at the urging of an outside consultant, wanted me gone.
This consultant had engineered my boss’ early retirement.
The board left it up to the new leader to drop the hammer on me.
So, would the new boss give me the boot?
Remarkably, I did not get fired.
Another leader – a less ethical one - in the same situation would likely have pulled the plug to score points.
And so it turned out years later. If you are going to rock the boat, wear a life jacket.

*This is the fourth time I’ve written about this fable. You can see the 2012 version here
and the 2016 one here.
And, setting the scene for 2021:
Should I stay or should I go?


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

© Copyright text and photo by John Lubans 2022

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