A human is not a tree; he can read, move and wander

a flowing mailboxThe Internet is crazily competing for our time with our other occupations. I don’t succeed in reading everything that is of interest to me, like email, Facebook, Instagram, as new ones are rushing in. There are so many electronic newspapers, mostly free and all about my interests’ subjects, what, not to register? So, every day I have two or three such publications suggesting a world of interesting articles.

Our chronic lack of time led to specifying the reading time at the top of each article. Thus, I can tell if it’s possible to flip through it or I have to make time for reading. In the meantime, I move it to the “to read” list. As I’m an inquisitive person, my “to read” list is so long that I may not be able to complete it until my last day. Therefore, I have to sort and find priorities. Sometimes a title catches my eye, turns on my imagination and drives me to read.

As I flipped through the LinkedIn members articles list I tried to rely on the wisdom of the masses. Namely, to see which item had the most readers and to decide accordingly whether the article is significant, or at least worthy of reading. Next, I checked the article’s title to determine if it’s in my line of interests. Of cause, the title of an item is of immense importance. It has to provide information about its subject on the one hand, and on the other hand, it has to entice and stimulate reading. The article that caught my eye bore the title: “If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree.” By the time it caught my eye, the article had 71,317 readers and by the post’s publication date over a hundred thousand. A stately number.

Comic clip-art - smiling treeThe article’s title made me envision all the illustrations of personified trees. For example, the very famous story by Shel SilversteinThe Giving Tree.” The tree is the boy’s friend and gives him ceaselessly as much as it can. Giving fills the tree with happiness. In childhood, the tree gives the boy leaves for play, a trunk to climb, branches to swing on, shade to rest in, and fruits to eat. The tree keeps helping the “boy” even when he grows older. He makes a living by selling the tree’s fruits. With its branches, he builds his house, the trunk he uses to build a boat till the tree has nothing left to offer, as he is only a stump. When the “boy” returns in his old age and looks for a place to sit and rest, the tree realizes that the “boy” can benefit even from his stump: “Well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting. Come, boy, sit down and rest.”

The title of the article raised my curiosity as it corresponds to an Israeli poem by Datya Ben-Dor, “What is it like to be a tree?” While the poem is in Hebrew, the article’s author lives in London, and I do not know whether he is familiar with it. The poem holds a conversation between the speaker and the tree:
“I once asked a tree
Tree, how is it to be a tree?
You must be joking – said the tree. “
The tree does not understand the question, as he reflects on all the things he has: the birds singing for him, the butterflies flying around, the wind, the open landscape, the breaths of the earth at night, the ripening fruits, and the chicks sleeping among the branches. But the speaker asks about the tree’s lack of mobility: “And you do not mind being stuck all week?” And the tree answers: “I do not need to move around and wonder about.”

resting-in-a-hammock-enIndeed, the LinkedIn article refers precisely to this point – if you’re satisfied with where you are, you’re not stuck even if you’re not going to new places. In today’s global world, the level of volatility and mobility is enormous. If it is the numerous hours driving to work in endless traffic jams, whether it’s the transition from one work to another to get a raise, whether it’s the transition from country to country to experiment, get to know new places and improve the standard of living. In my time, when you were satisfied with your job and felt contended about it, you knew you would finish your years of work and retire from that place. Mobility was very low. Most people counted the years they had left until retirement (except for those who feared pension-time.)

Over the years, pensions have been the workers’ desire, and for it, they were willing to tolerate the behaviors of managers and colleagues which will not be passed nowadays without a response. Today, however, pension rules have changed, and they allow, and perhaps even encourage transitions. Every worker saves by himself; there’s no government pensions or any otherwise organized ones. Thus, there is no dependence between the workplace and your future retirement. How much money will the allowances amount to? All prophecies are quite dire.

The article itself is a collection of statements relating to employee-employer relations, to employees’ need to be assessed by senior officials; About appraisal, which creates loyalty to the work-place; And work relations in general. The only advice in the article to an employee who is not appreciated, belittled or even castrated by employers and colleagues, is – Leave! The world is big and open with wonderful opportunities.

The last word: “Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!” Dr. Seuss

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