The value of work
decided he wanted to have some fish. He went to Babatunde the Fisherman and offered to help Babatunde fish that day. Babatunde agreed, and they went to the river.
Babatunde said, “Let us spread the nets together.” Anansi demurred. “That is too inefficient: specialization is the key to efficiency. All week you do the work and you get tired. This is not fair that you have to work hard and your reward is exhaustion. So, you will spread the nets and I will get tired.”
And so Babatunde spread the nets while Anansi laid in the shade of a tree on the river bank, loudly proclaiming how heavy the nets were, how difficult it was to wade through the river current to set them, and how tired and sore he was.
Anansi Goes Fishing tells this timeless tale of West Africa with a completely different twist. It’s a wonderful book to share with children from three to ninety three.
Later, it was time to harvest the catch. Babatunde felt bad for Anansi who was still complaining about being tired, so he suggested that Anansi harvest the fish and he, Babatunde, would suffer the burden of being tired. But no, Anansi would hear nothing of it, so Babatunde harvested the fish and Anansi again was tired. And so it was again that Babatunde gathered the nets while Anansi was tired, and Babatunde carried the fish back to the village while Anansi walked beside him, groaning aloud with the effort.
They reached Babatunde’s house and Babatunde put down the heavy load. Anansi offered to divide the catch, but now Babatunde demurred. “Brother Anansi,” he said, “There is no need for you to work, you have been tired all day. I will make us a splendid dinner and we can discuss the portioning over a delicious meal.”
And Babatunde made a delicious fish stew, with peppers and spices. He put out two bowls, one for Anansi and one for himself. He ladled the hearty meal into his own bowl and began to eat. Anansi asked him, “Brother Babatunde, where is my share?”
Babatunde looked at him in surprise: “I thought that since you were tired all day, you deserved a reward: therefore, I am going to eat the fish and you will feel full.”
Many times you will hear people arguing whether the value is in an idea, or the implementation. Whether it is in the development, or the promotion. Whether it is in the muscle, of the management. Whether it is in the execution, or the imagination.
My suggestion is that if you are the one doing the work, arrange your affairs such that you—and not your partner—decide how much goes into each bowl when the stew is ready.