A work parable

September 27, 2022

Once, there was an Accountant who could not find an error in his spreadsheet. It was month-end, the numbers were off, and he issue eluded him.

Frustrated, he worked into the night. All others were gone, the office stretched around him in darkness and silence. He hovered over his lit screen, coffee cup at his lips, brow furrowed in concentration.

Hours passed.

Then, a drop of rain. Right onto his forehead. Startled, he looked up, to find a leak in the ceiling, directly above his head! For the first time, he noticed the sound of a heavy rain, and a low rumble, which he now recognized as having been going on for quite some time.

Annoyed at the interruption, he went to the kitchen, found a bucket, returned to his cubicle, placed the bucket under the leak, and moved with his laptop to the conference room.

A half hour later, he felt water again striking his head. There, in the ceiling, was another leak.

His first response was concern. He took a sweep of the office, checking for other leaks. Was the whole roof failing?

Just these two leaks.

This made him angry. Of all the luck! He just happens to sit under the TWO spots that leak, this frustrating night of all nights?

After another bucket, and another move, he returned to his search for the broken Excel formula.

Ten minutes lapsed, then a drop landed on him a third time.

He threw up his hands in exasperation. “If I am to get wet, I might as well get wet!” came the crazy, disordered thought. Why not? Without pausing to think, without reaching for a third bucket, he stood up, walked to the door, and entered the storm.

Immediately, he was soaked to the skin. He stood there, in the rain. He lifted his face to the rain, eyes closed. The storm’s electricity crackled in the air. The thunder rolled in the clouds around him.

A minute passed. Then another, then a third.

Finally, shaking himself, he turned. Slowly he opened the door, and walked – dripping all the way – back to his computer screen.

He sat down.

His cursor was on cell D23.

He examined the cell. And there was the error.

One keystroke fixed it.

The numbers balanced, and he went home.

Subscribe to receive email updates