And then [s]he practised being thanked by the grateful miller…

And then he practised being thanked by the grateful miller. Illustration by Quentin Blake, from "Mouse Trouble" by John Yeoman

And then he practised being thanked by the grateful miller. From “Mouse Trouble” by John Yeoman, illustrated by Quentin Blake

If this sounds familiar, here’s some helpful advice from Oliver Burkeman.  “Strategic incompetence is the art of avoiding undesirable tasks by pretending to be unable to do them” he writes, and while not advocating that we all do likewise,  he suggests that “[t]raining our bosses, partners or children not to expect a “yes” in response to every single request might be crucial for preserving sanity.”  Read his full article here.

This story reminded me of a hopeful tendency among librarians to expect that our users, colleagues, and bosses will all notice and reward us when we perform at a consistently high level, rather than shout about our successes.  And it’s a great excuse to post that lovely picture of the miller’s cat.  Every home* should have a copy of Mouse Trouble.

*or library. Fit in into your collections policy any way you can…


1 Comment

  1. that’s great, well done. I enjoy Oliver’s articles in the Guardian but seem to have missed this one. We have to manage expectations of receiving gratitude too or we’d get depressed. As well as Mouse Trouble every home should have the Hermit and the Bear – strangely neglected masterpieces. Remember the masonry repairs assistant?

    love from Mum xxx >

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