Money Was Tight Though And There Was Always The Possibility That Others Would Be Let Go As Well
So we were all nervous.
It is always amazing to be grilled about your position by a stranger, who happens to be making twice as much on this one consulting job as you make in a year.
The boss who had made me read Who Moved My Cheese, by Spencer Johnson, was fairly new to the company and apparently felt she had to shake things up, instill her own flavor into the way things ran.
She was great at changing the way we did things and then changing the process again, either back to the original procedure or on to another procedure.
Who Moved My Cheese
EducationB.A., University of Southern California M.D., Royal College of Surgeons Currentlylives in Hawaii and New Hampshire
Spencer Johnson is an M.D. who has become better known for fixing ailing corporations than healing the sick, first with his 1982 business classic The One Minute Manager and then, unforgettably, with Who Moved My Cheese?, a word-of-mouth sensation that eventually remained on the New York Times bestseller list for over two years and has been translated into 11 languages.
Word had slowly built up about Cheese, based on the strength of recommendations from heavy-hitter executives at Procter & Gamble, GE, Hewlett-Packard and others. Businesses, hit by the downshifting economy, began ordering copies by the thousands by 2000, it was a national bestseller. The book sets up a story about four characters who live in a maze: Hem and Haw, who are little people and Sniff and Scurry, who are mice.
His own words:My five year old son told me a cheese joke: “What do you call cheese that’s not yours?” When I gave up, he laughed and said, “Nacho Cheese!” It made me smile and reminded me to keep having fun with Cheese.
I’ve just seen a new software product that also made me smile. It’s called the “Who Moved My Cheese? Change Survival Kit. It has an electronic game with animated prompts and reminders showing the characters running around inside a maze, reminding us to laugh at ourselves and discover how to do well in changing times.
We All Looked At Each Other At That Statement And Pretty Much Gave Up
We all knew it was a lie but we had nothing to prove that, and even if we did it wouldnt matter. Who were we kidding? We had no say in the matter.
Soon after that, the layoffs started.
The survivorsI was one of them this timewere forced to take on double workloads while, of course no one got raises. Our cheese? It was over having lunch in the Bryant Park Grill with the other cheeses.
So, yes. Im a little leery of change.
Don’t Miss: Does Laughing Cow Need Refrigeration
Who Moved My Job
Im delighted to publish the first article on the Leadership Almanac by a guest blogger who will, I hope, become a regular contributor. Jan Arzooman will be writing about leadership from an unusual perspective that of the end user, a person who has worked for many managers over the years and can offer leadership insight from that point of view. Im delighted to have Jans contribution and know youll enjoy her style, her wit, and her wisdom. Gary Winters
This Was A Big Deal To Us
A lot of the staff, myself included, made very little money at that job. Many of us brought our lunches to work, while we watched our bosses frequently heading over for a casual lunch at the Bryant Park Grillwhich was out of my reach for a nonspecial-occasion meal.
The company was sold and some new managers took over. One of the first things they did was place framed motivational posters in the conference room and at strategic places around the office. Motivational posters are never a good sign, in my opinion.
They also started birthday meetings the last Friday of every montheveryone had to leave their desks and go sing happy birthday to whoever had celebrated that month. The birthday girls and boys were embarrassed, the staff was resentful because we were all overworked and we knew this was nonsense.
Of course there was free cake, which was something.
You May Like: Babybel Refrigeration
Im Reasonably Ok With Change But Im Not So Good With It When There Seems To Be No Good Reason For The Change
I had a boss once who insisted I read Who Moved My Cheese, a book thats supposed to be about accepting change. In reality it seemed a metaphor for, Brace yourself something bad is about to happen. And as it turned out, I was one of the victims of the layoffs that took place less than a year later.*
When my supervisor loaned me the book, I never suspected anything that drastic. But not long after, a consultant was brought in to look at the structure of our organization. My coworkers and I speculated that the end result would be that another boss would lose her job.
Out Of The Maze Reviews
A calming, quick read likely to be in huge demand as an optimistic, accessible way to start thinking about change. Financial Times
This story is for everyone who is facing a difficult situation in life which everyone does at one time or another. Has something disappeared in your life, much like the two main characters, Hem and Haw, lost their cheese? You can stop going about trying to retrieve what youve lost and escape from a maze of indecision. truly can help you let go of old baggage and explore the impossible by choosing a new belief. Florida Times-Union
Johnsons powerful theme is that all of your accomplishments, all of your failures, are due to your beliefs: Whether youre confident or insecure, cynical or positive, open-minded or inflexible. Of course its awfully difficult, so inconvenient, to change your beliefs. But unless you reflect on yours and as leaders on those of the people around you beware of remaining stuck in your maze. As you examine your beliefs, hopefully a good many of them will merely be validated and reinforced. But where they need to be replaced, prepare to expand your comfort zone. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. East Africa Business Daily
Recommended Reading: Can Babybel Cheese Go Bad
What Is The Book About
There are two mice, Sniff and Scurry, and two little people, Hem and Haw. They are each on the hunt for cheese in a maze to survive. Once all four find the initial cheese they continue to go back day after day knowing exactly how to get to the cheese and how the day will go. However, the mice never take off their running shoes and are always ready to go. Hem and Haw do not take that approach as they get comfortable. This can be seen with most of us as we start to get into a routine and may not start to notice the cheese stash is getting low.
One day all four come back and the cheese is no longer there. Sniff and Scurry take off into the maze to find more while Hem and Haw putz around to make a decision on what they are going to do. They actually sit on the decision for quite some time until Haw decides to give the maze another go. He cannot talk Hem into it and actually comes back for Hem at one point during the story and he was still not wanting to go into the maze and waiting for his cheese to return.
A Year Only As A Best Seller At No 1 Chain
Send any friend a story
As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. Anyone can read what you share.
Give this article
Executives at Barnes & Noble have decided that ”Who Moved My Cheese?” and ”Body For Life” have been on its best-seller list long enough.
In an unusual move for a book seller, Barnes & Noble has begun to remove books from its best-seller list after a 12-month limit. Those two blockbusters — one a self-help book by Spencer Johnson and the other a fitness program by the trainer Bill Phillips — were the first to go.
Alan Kahn, chief operating officer of Barnes & Noble, said the goal is to give more new books the prominence that comes with a place on its best-seller shelf.
The change is an unwelcome surprise to some agents and editors behind long-running hit books. Many others in the industry may be surprised that the idea originated at Barnes & Noble, the largest bookstore chain in the country.
Over the last 15 years, Barnes & Noble has contributed indirectly to the soaring sales of best sellers by aggressively promoting and discounting the best-selling titles to lure customers. Readers have come to expect discounts on best sellers at warehouse stores, online retailers and many independent stores as well.
Now, Barnes & Noble’s executives are trying to put a brake on that trend.
Recommended Reading: Does Babybel Cheese Need Refrigeration
But Then They Took Away Our Lunch Table
One boss said some people werent cleaning up after themselves. . We pleaded to be able to keep the spacethere was nowhere else to eat lunch wed be forced to eat at our desk or spend money somewhere, we said. Some of us even offered to form a team who would be responsible for keeping the table clean.
No, the decision was final, the supervisor said. And besides, she added, this was never intended as a lunch room, anyway.
I Remember Another Place I Worked
We had moved from battered, rodent-infested offices in the Village to a shiny new office on 42nd Street. In the old office, there had been one tiny table in a back storeroom near a sink that served as a lunch area. When we moved, during the tour of the new facility, the large room near the kitchen was presented to us as a combination conference room and lunch room.
Read Also: What Kind Of Sauce Is On Philly Cheese Steak Pizza