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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Who Moved My Cheese?

With the 2016-2017 school year peeking around the corner, job fairs are popping up everywhere baiting hopeful applicants to believe they will soon land their dream job.

Right away you spot your dream job in your dream school district. And you think to yourself, if only Human Resources could see what my best friend, favorite Auntie, life coach and favorite college professor have seen all along: Any school district would be lucky to have such a gifted, brilliant, passionate educator on board!

And then the dreaded words, You're not the right fit or We went with a someone else hit you square between the eyes and send you in a tailspin.

Well, if this has happened to's time to put on your running shoes because someone has...MOVED YOUR  CHEESE!!

Back story:

It was 1998 when a little book titled, Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal With Change in Your Work and in Your life, by Spencer Johnson, became the David in a Goliath book market.

The same year my principal, Mr. Stuckman (not his real name),  made it a school wide expectation for each grade level team to complete Who Moved My Cheese? as a book study. He was also on the brink of retirement. Looking back I can see how this book was not so much about shifts in our educational system, but was as much about his own life and goals.

In case you've never heard of Who Moved My Cheese? it's a parable about four characters: two little men named, Hem and Haw, and two little mice named, Sniff and Scurry, who live in a large maze with cheese hidden in certain "stations."

Cheese is a metaphor for what a person (or mouse) wants to get out of life.

While Sniff and Scurry aren't the brightest in the bunch, they wake up early every morning, put on their running shoes, and race to find the cheese. They run into walls (a little too often) but aren't afraid to take risks and to explore new pathways. Trial and error get them from point A to point B.

Hem and Haw, on the other hand, are sophisticated little men; highly intelligent, thoughtful, but tend to overthink situations and are resistant to change.

Eventually, all four characters discover what they were looking for...a seemingly endless supply of cheese in Cheese Station C.

The little men feel they can finally be happy in life because cheese meant a big house, powerful position in the company, and a large paycheck.

For Sniff and Scurry, cheese meant food for the day because their happiness was not dependent upon the cheese itself.

For this reason, the wise little mice continue to wake up early every morning, put on their running shoes, and race to find new cheese and new paths.

Hem and Haw, on the other hand, grow lazy and wake late because they assume the cheese will always be waiting for them. Unfortunately, Hem and Haw do not read the "handwriting on the wall."

For this reason, I have referred back to the lessons in this little book when change happens in my own life. Here are some life lessons and insights I continue to take away from this little book:

1. The more important cheese is to me, the more I want to hang on to it!
2. I can't keep doing the same thing over and over and expect things to change!
3. Anticipate change. Smell the cheese often so I  know when it is getting old!
4. It's imperative that I let go of the past and adapt to the future!

Change happens. Period. The question is: Am I ready?

Confession Reflection:
  • What would you do if you weren't afraid? How would your thoughts and actions change?
  • Why is it important to "smell the cheese often?" Explain.
  • Have you ever had someone "move your cheese?" How did you respond?
  • What does cheese represent to you? Give examples.

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