There’s a small orchard in Kent. It is a place of peace and tranquility. A local gardening firm is employed to keep it in good shape. They prune the trees and cut the grass. Time was, not so long ago, that everything was just fine – that is until the boss took over.
The person that used to cut the grass was an expert, he carefully steered his ride on mower right up to the base of each tree. He meticulously ensured that he never damaged the trunks, stopping just short every time. And if a low hanging branch was in the way, he carefully pruned it to just the right height. In fact, when he had done the job the orchard looked perfect.
The grass cutter was no ordinary man; he lived in a small caravan on a farm. He kept himself to himself and seemed to be content with what he had. Some would call him ‘simple’, others ‘a loaner’. In any case, he didn’t fit in with the other guys in the gardening firm.
Today the boss cuts the grass. He takes almost as long as his employee did but he doesn’t get up close to the trees. He says he hasn’t got time to prune the branches or to trim the ugly high grass he leaves behind around the bases of the trunks.
And if the owner of the orchard complains the boss maintains that she is lucky to have him come out and do the job at all. And when she asks ‘what happened to the nice young man who used to keep her orchard so neat and tidily in hand?’ The Boss replies. ‘He was a rare sort; I think he went away because the other men teased him too much’. And when the owner asks ‘So why didn’t you stop them and go after him and welcome him back?’ The boss replies ‘You can’t change human nature madam. Boys will be boys and men will be men. It’s not my job to keep the peace. And anyway there was only one of him and seven of the others.’
I heard this sad story only last week. It was told to me by the owner of the orchard. Like the owner of the orchard, I too, find it unacceptable that some employers neglect their duty to project individuals from bullying. I also find it a shame that we do not see more diversity in the work place. The right person in the right job can deliver such astonishing results.
Have a good week,