write this, dishes are piled high in the sink, almost falling on the floor, but
I refuse to clean up the mess. I am mad enough to spit… yes, spit! Lazy
husband? No. Distracted kids? No. Dysfunctional work-place family? In the wise
words of Samuel L. Jackson — “Oh, hell yeah!”
work, we are very lucky to have a real kitchen, complete with sink, refrigerator,
and microwave. We are luckier still to have a dishwasher. When I started
working here about four years ago, I was told everyone in the organization
takes turns cleaning up in the kitchen.
the size of our department, that meant each person had kitchen duty for one
week during the year. An alphabetical list is posted, so everyone, especially the designated cleaner,
knows when that one week occurs. If you are unable to perform your duties, then
switches are made to ensure an uninterrupted supply of plates and cutlery.
I started, I was *impressed* that the vice-presidents also helped out. Here was
a simple but meaningful display of equality and teamwork in action. Forget
those one day workshops with “team-building exercises” that create artificial,
short-lived mutant entities!
kitchen is a natural equalizer; we all use it on a regular basis, so let’s all
help keep it clean. Well… apparently…. things have changed and now some people
feel they are more important than others and do not think they should be
required to help. Some claim to be too busy. Ahem… excuse me…. we are all
busy! If you do not have good time management skills, this is a perfect place
all you consultants out there, doing environmental scams (oops)….
scans. The best and quickest barometer of workplace problems is the kitchen. As
with most relationships, it is usually not the one big crisis that collapses
the organization, but the nagging everyday issues that slowly erode away trust
and emotional investment. It is: leaving the cap off the toothpaste; turning
the bedroom floor into a dirty laundry hamper; using up media stocks in the lab
and never making more; the shrugging off of kitchen duty, thinking that these
little things don’t matter, that truly alienates people and creates disgruntled,
our department cannot work as a team to successfully accomplish the “Kitchen
Duty” objective, what hope is there for successful teamwork on other projects?