Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Tale of Two Videos

Last night on Facebook I saw a video my friend's mother shared. It was lettuce harvesters working at blazing speed in a field. One guy picked the heads of lettuce and placed them in front of another guy, who threw three in a bag (literally threw, so that the first one in the bag would force the bag open) and then filled a tray.

Today on Facebook I saw a video a former coworker shared. It was of three guys making rolls. One guy cut off a strip of dough, pulled it out, then cut off segments at blazing speed, throwing them in a continuous stream to the other two guys, who placed them on sheets for baking.

I felt bad after watching the first video, but not the second. Why?

Because in the first video, you could tell that the device holding the lettuce-receiving trays was motorized, slowly driving forward. The workers were fast because they had to be fast; someone else determined the optimum speed for the rolling apparatus. If the workers didn't appear harried enough, that probably means the machine isn't rolling fast enough.

In the second video, the workers were fast because they chose to be fast. At any moment, one of the guys could say, "Wait a minute; I've got something in my eye." Their speed was a skill, not a survival mechanism.

The things we choose to do take on a different character when we're forced to do them.

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