My life at work resembles an orchard. I like to think of myself as a dedicated apple picker. My apples are the hard to reach apples. I have to climb thin branches and stick my arm way out there – so far out it hurts sometimes. I have bruises from mistakes and wounds from wrongs, but I know which branches and limbs are better than others now. I adapt to each tree and continue to seek out the best apples. The shiney, bright red apples at the very top: the good apples.
But down in the shade, there are the bad apple pickers. With their old wheel barrows, they toss in the bad apples with a few of the good, ignoring quality and reaping quantity. If their eyes catch an apple, they swoop in and toss it over their shoulders, bruised or beautiful, it matters not. Any old apple is an apple to them. As long as their barrels are full at the end of the day, they care of nothing else.
And when it comes time to sell my wares, all of my apples suddenly look like all of their apples. They have placed the good within and around the bad, with their bruises hidden below, to hide the faults of their work. No one ever seems to notice. At the end of the day, I am left with a pile of good apples and a bad attitude. If my apples are ignored and treated like the rest, what incentive do I have to risk the reach for the apples at the top of trees?
Today was merit increase day. It has left me in a bad mood wanting to reach for the bad apples.