Getting Cheddared

Some very fine cheese is made by squeezing
Constituent components so hard
That the curds mash together, easing
The way to bandage them up, discard
Residual whey – feed it to the pigs!–
Age it and voilà: an excellent cheese.
But not all cheese is made that way. Cheese gigs
Come with all sorts of different ways to tease
Out milk’s poetry. Cheddaring is just
One approach to making cheese. But maybe
One day you are done with being smashed. Trust
Your gut as much as you trust rennet to be
A catalyst to new life that’s better
Than another round of getting cheddared.
-Allegra Jordan, 2019.

I love cheese. I have met people who impact me like a piquant Roquefort – that is, they are a bracing punch to the mouth. I’ve met people who are all my joy – a delightful aged goat cheese with a geotricum-innoculated rind that…ok, I’m making myself hungry now…back to the metaphor.

Cheddaring is a metaphor for a workplace that crushes. Sometimes we are refined into something wonderful through pressures. I have been.

But other times, we are simply being squeezed by a workplace in ways that is dehumanizing. Those places don’t change me, they just squeeze me into my constituent parts.

If you have the option, try not to work in a workplace where you get smashed. I’ve laughed at such ideas before – as if the non-crushing workplace were a unicorn. That’s cynicism speaking, not knowledge.

Some workplaces do have high ideals, care for stakeholders and folks are treated with respect. (Google “Firms of Endearment” and B Corporations.) These organizations also have superior returns to regular businesses.

And if you can’t find that one, then for God’s sake, be the manager you never had. Create the workplace that other’s haven’t. Create a space that is healthy for the human soul.

This, in itself, heals a multitude of interior wounds.