Thinking about modern careers in the words of Khalil Gibran
Posted January 25, 2010on:
Fill each other’s cup but not drink from one cup
I am reading Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet. His words on marriage might well be a manifesto for modern day careers and organization.
“Fill each other’s cup but not drink from one cup.”
Careers & work of the future
Switching to contemporary times, if you want to skate to where the puck will be rather than where it is now, find opportunities to work in exchange with others, “to replenish their cup”, rather than subsumine yourself to the goal of a larger institution or one boss or teacher.
Careers & sustainability
But also remember, Khalil Gibran’s words
“When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
In prosaic contemporary terms, think about a wider system that provides enough to drink for everyone. We don’t need to share one cup except when there is only one. When we make many cups and fill each other’s cups, then we we are in a healthy place and we want to strive to make that so.
- Take your cup, allow others to fill it.
- Take your cup, and fill those of others.
- Ponder those who have no cup and no one to fill it.
Using the old wisdom of Khalil Gibran to extend management theory
All this is obvious though not so if you teach management theory. Old management theory charges us with drinking from our line manager’s cup and ultimately from the company’s cup. There are legal reasons (and mainly legal reasons) for this.
We could also train young people to understand the company as a mega-system that must benefit all stakeholders ~ all stakeholders ~ if it is to sustain itself.
We can train young people to understand power, its use and misuse, and how to work thinkingly yet safely with people who deny others their own cup. But never to give up their own cup.
I want to see young people exploring the whole system in their online portfolios. I would like to see youth support systems put youngsters in situations where they must sort out which cup is which, who is filling which cup, and how they can act in small & gentle ways to drink from their own cup, to fill the cups of others, and to influence the wider econ-system. It’s an important skill to learn and many of us lose it along the way.