I’ve learned over time that one of the worst things you can do as a manager is compare supervising your co-workers to raising kids. They go ape over the comparison, even though, truth be told, there are a lot of similarities.

 

When I made this observation during a recent meeting, Brenda in Accounting was one of those who took offence to the comparison. Not quite understanding where she was coming from, I tried to calm her down by telling her not to worry she’s in good hands because my kids turned out just fine. That seemed to only make the situation worse. After some mediation and a thousand pardons, we did in fact get past the incident and I now know that deep-down inside Brenda’s a good kid.

A Baker’s Dozen

In the year 1655 on December’s last day, a Dutch baker was working late selling New Year’s cookies. As he was about to shut up shop an uncommonly ugly old woman thrust her way in, demanding a dozen of the special cookies bearing an effigy of Saint Nick.

As the baker handed her the bag of cookies, she said crossly: “One more cookie: I said a dozen.” “You have a dozen,” said the baker. “One more cookie said the ugly old woman, “One more than 12 makes a dozen.”

The baker grabbed her by the shoulder and pushed her to the door. “You may go to the Devil for another cookie!” he shouted. “You won’t get it here.”

In the days and months that followed, mysterious bad luck came to the little bakery in Beverwyck. Bread rose to the ceiling or fell flat like a pancake. Cookies and money seem to be snatched up by invisible hands. Even the handsome brick oven collapsed. The stubborn Dutchman began to wonder whether supernatural powers were not at work.

“Holy Saint Nicholas, what shall I do?” As he spoke these words, Saint Nicholas appeared and told the baker that his troubles could be resolved if had the spirit that the holidays demand.  No sooner had the figure of the saint vanished than the uncommonly ugly old woman appeared demanding a dozen cookies. Posthaste, the baker counted 13 cookies, presenting the bag to her with a bow and a “Happy New Year!”

“The spell is broken”, the witch told the baker, “Now swear to me on the likeness of Saint Nicholas that hereafter in Beverwyck and all the patroonship of Van Rensselaer that 13 will make a baker’s dozen. The baker took the oath and from that day on even down to this day when you say a baker’s dozen you mean 13.

Music Picks

  1. Cousin Dupree–Steely Dan
  2. Pines of Rome (Pini Di Romo)—Respighi
  3. If Drinkin’ Don’t Kill Me (Her Memory Will)—George Jones
  4. In the Blood—John Mayer
  5. Forearm Shiver—Sam Spence