How relevant is "Who Moved My Cheese" these days?

The book was mentioned several times in this thread and a couple of people offered some interesting insights on it:

I had to attend a seminar on this book a few years ago at work - watched a video, filled out worksheets, had group discussions etc. We all got a copy of the book at the end.

Anyway I found it all a big waste of time. Mind you, our industry was and still is going through a big change. But the whole thing to me seemed like a big charade by management to make it seem like they were doing something, instead of, you know, actually devising a detailed plan on how to address our problems.

But I’ll also echo what other posters said in the above-linked thread, in that the major dilemma many workers are facing in this economy isn’t so much that they don’t want to go looking for cheese, as it is that there simply isn’t enough cheese to go around, something which the book fails to address.

I have always thought that the whole little industry that has grown up around this crap is worthless. Almost all cutesy little management crap is useless when applied incorrectly, and most of it is applied improperly. [ask some of the 6 sigma guys on the dope to weigh in - can’t remember which one posted on how it just totally does not apply to part of his industry, making prototypes and one off projects]

Thanks to these morons, we get most of the complaints on the board Customers being tormented by having to be greeted a million times as they walk through the store by every employee they meet and the obverse of not being able to get ones job done because you are endlessly hailing wandering customers; telephone people having to meet insane quality control standards - I personally do not like every sentence punctuated with my name when I am trying to sort out a cable issue; managment wimping out and giving customers whatever they want even if it is not company policy, or getting in trouble for trying to follow company policy with conflicting management orders.

Some years ago the software company where I was working had a lot of smart, hard working, dedicated people, and a decent product. It also had some weak management and outdated processes that could be improved. But we coped and changed and adapted, and joked that perhaps “change” was our core business. :slight_smile:

Then we acquired a new manager, <checks forum> about whom perhaps the less said the better… who handed out the Cheese book to his department, and met any objection to his new regime with: “You’re just scared of change”.

So we threw out processes and methods that we had (rather than incrementally improve them), and brought in new systems and infrastructure (that didn’t really do what we needed, and at a cost of many $), and mired the development staff in so much red tape that they couldn’t function, and we called it good.

Then aforementioned seagull manager then left to further his career and let us get on with picking up the pieces. :mad:

I may be a little biased against the Cheese book. :smiley:

The book is pure garbage and in no way relevant.

But with that said, the world does change. Indutries come and go. And every now and then someone needs to be sat down, given a juice box, and told to read that book.

So … the Cheese stands alone?

The book does address it.

The simple message of the book is that when faced with adversity, you do whatever is in your control to improve your situation. Complaining, feeling sorry for yourself, making excuses, blaming others and sitting around hoping things will get better is unproductive.

Some of the people in this thread…they are like the other mouse.

Scott Adams should compose a series of Dilbert cartoons about the Who Moved My Cheese? book. This is the kind of thing a clueless, uncaring manager throws at his hapless subordinates in order to say, “It’s not my fault your jobs have become so stressful and unrewarding, and that most of you have not had raises in years. Your cheese has moved. Go find it. It’s change. Get used to it.”

Funny story: I work in the food industry, and a few years ago we literally decided to keep the cheese some where else. It was amazing how hard that was on people. A month later you’d still see them reaching into the cooler and saying, “are we out of cheese?”

Change is hard.

Last year we decided to ramp up production for 400 units per day to now nearly 1600. I made the comment that we need to pepare people for constant change. A year later a lot of people are freaking out that things keep moving around. The place they always stored their crap got moved so that more important crap can go there. We moved into a facility designed for 3000 units per day and instantly everyone spread out, taking up as much space as they could. Now they’re pissed that they don’t get an entire shelving unit to themselves.

Change is hard.

Cheese can also be hard.

Once, at a new job, I was making eyes at a brunette.

She told me this book “changed her life,” so I read it.

That was the end of that.

What makes you think we managers don’t hate our jobs as much as the underdrones? Lazy, entitled employees who bitch about wanting to make more money but don’t want to put in extra effort. I’m trying to run a successful department so the people who want to work here can have jobs. It’s not like we shanghaied them in the middle of the night and forced them to toil in the data mines.
Really, what sage advice what you give to someone for dealing with inevitable change?

Yes, we hired a manager like that. This manager had spent so many years pushing change through despite people’s opposition that they simply assumed that all negativity about anything they did was purely motivated by reflexive opposition to change.

I can to some extent understand and sympathise with how you would come to make this assumption in this manager’s line of work.

However, the manager introduced some changes (including one major change)that essentially everyone including extremely smart, young, loyal, hardworking and flexible employees complained were unworkable. But the manager just could not see (or maybe accept) that it was more than just “reflexive opposition to change”.

Eventually the manager pissed off even the Board, and was shown the door. To this day I have no doubt at all that if you asked the manager they would say they didn’t make a single bad decision and that they got the boot because we just didn’t like change.

I had a clueless boss that had ONE copy of the cheese book. He was too cheap to buy multiple copies, so we had to pass this one around, and sign off when finished, handing it to the next victim.

He was SO clueless, he actually penciled our real names in the margins next to characters in the book that he thought they reminded him of. Then he let us read the book with his thoughts and comments still written in.

The hate, it burns.

Once I had a boss who told me during my job interview that his subordinates were a bunch of lazy incompetents, and that he would like to fire them all and hire new people. He ruefully admitted however that he would probably have the same problems with the replacements. “The problem,” he said, “is that now people think eight hours a day is enough to work.”

No one else wanted to work for him, so he gave me a job offer. I had to take it. First impressions usually mean nothing to me. My first impression of him was right.

Later on I had a boss whose attitude was that the people reporting to him were capable of doing a good job, and wanted to, and that it was his job to make it possible for them to perform well. He did not try to micromanage us. He knew we were individuals who had different styles of working. He only cared about the results.

Who do you think got better results?

Cheese, fish, whatever…what these books usually have to offer is some variation on “You are responsible for how you feel about your job, not management, so just put a pretend smile on and eventually it’ll become real!” That fish thing was explicitly about “Choose your attitude”…never mind that you deal with idiot clients and stupid co-workers and moronic managers day in and day out who make you do things that not only don’t work well, but irritate everyone else…just SMILE and work will seem so much better. At least until the next management book comes out and they decide they need to fire everyone who’s been there for more than three years to cut their benefits overhead.

So how much do you communicate to your boss your needs as an employee?

Yeah. Everyone is a moron except for you. You must be this Wharton business school graduate slumming it at Dunder Miflan.

If you hate your job so much, look for another one. Or change careers. Or learn to accept that ALL jobs will have some level of frustration to them.

I would only tell my boss my needs if I thought he or she cared. In this economic environment most bosses do not need to care what those beneath them in the hierarchy think of them. They only need to pander to those above.

I don’t really hate my job. I DO hate facile, useless allegories that management expects to just require the employees to read and then everything will be perfect. If you want better performance, give me some incentive other than “Here, read this fairy tale and become a quieter mouse.”

Good management is an art rather than a science. A manager who likes and respects his subordinates, who tries to think of how life feels to each of them, will get better results than someone who treats his subordinates like the office furniture. He won’t need to read some irrelevant book and tell his subordinates to read it too.