2012  January 20

The Upside of A Crazy Boss

I learned of an interesting story about the Korean loach fish from a long time friend when we were sharing thoughts about how large organizations exist. Our conversation eventually centered around a common friend who unfortunately had a boss that was making this person’s life miserable. So he brought out the loach fish to help me see the world in a whole new way that I wanted to share with you.

Apparently, according to tradition this fish is a special delicacy to be enjoyed freshly caught, but only during summer months when they are particularly scarce. They can’t be caught in Seoul anymore and must be transported many hours away from the countryside. There was a longtime issue with transporting these fish because not only were they scarce, but they would often perish during the trip into Seoul during the hot summer months.

My friend then introduced the catfish into his story, “You know that the catfish is a carnivore -- it eats other fish.” I didn’t, but I took note and wasn’t sure about the relation to the challenges of the loach fish that die before they get eaten (we can argue later which form of demise is better). He further described the solution that was introduced to assure that more loach fishes make it from the countryside to cityside: put a catfish in the tank of loach fishes.

“Huh?” I thought. This method of placing a loach-hungry catfish in the presence of lots of friendly, law-abiding loaches apparently improves their survival in transit by over 60%. What does this say? I think it confirms that old adage of, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” So if you out there may have the apparent fortune of having a “catfish boss” -- ie one that is out to eat you -- congratulations! You will be luckier for the experience, and are more likely to survive for another day (or at least between a few more meals). -JM

Be careful of what you wish for, and be careful of what you don't inadvertently get.

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