Don’t Go Bananas

Our bodies need potassium to help maintain normal blood pressure and heart function.  The good news is that a banana supplies about 10% of the potassium we need each day.  The bad news: potassium is toxic.  Potassium poisoning is called hyperkalemia, not a pleasant condition.  Before throwing out all your bananas, read on.

Tenure made it possible for university professors to teach without fear of being fired regardless of prevailing politics.  Making it impossible to terminate a teacher seemed a good idea.  Yet, tenure has allowed professors to indoctrinate students with their own prejudices and beliefs rather than teach them.  Some tenured professors also get sloppy about teaching, seeing no need to engage with their material or students.

Unions once served a vital need. However, many have told of gaining a union job where it is almost impossible to be fired and being sternly warned by fellow workers to slow down productivity. After all, one hard worker highlights the lack of industry of others. He or she also makes it harder for the department to demand more employees.

Slow is the operative word.  Have you noticed how slowly some post office clerks saunter to serve you?  How about Department of Motor Vehicles workers? In Washington DC most of the people rushing are on their way to lunch.  In fact, few government workers exhibit the slightest urgency about their work.

If you’re trying to obtain a job, a promotion or a raise, never meander. Stride purposefully even if you’re going to the washroom.  Few behaviors irritate the person paying your salary more than seeing you amble around as if on a seaside promenade. 

Always act as if there is a shortage of time.  You know why? Because there really is a shortage of time.  Here’s a bonus: acting with urgency brings professional advancement.  As the wise King Solomon put it:

See a man urgent about his work—he will stand among kings.
(Proverbs 22:29)

It is bad enough that dawdling makes you look listless and lethargic to others.  Far worse, that is also how you begin to appear to yourself. Drifting through your day makes you feel complacent and fills you with an illusion of security.  Few of us do our best work while feeling overly secure.

When your boss says, “I want you to feel at home here,” he doesn’t mean he wants to see you draped lazily over a couch for the afternoon.

For best results, even in our homes, husbands and wives shouldn’t feel too much at home! Taking the most important relationships in our lives for granted is a recipe for disaster.

God’s wisdom ensures that even on your own land in Israel, you shouldn’t feel too laid-back and over-secure. You thought it was your own land? Well, guess what! You can’t sell it completely.

The land shall not be sold in perpetuity for the land is mine and
you shall be strangers and temporary residents with me.
(Leviticus 25:23)

God wants us always to feel like strangers?  Right! He doesn’t want us ever to feel too secure because excessive security destroys drive, annihilates ambition, and kills creativity.  Being a stranger means not feeling at home and thus it means putting your best foot forward, and doing so swiftly not slowly. Tenure? Unions that make it impossible for anyone to lose their job regardless of malfeasance?  Well, when they create a sense of excessive security, they are not so good. Not for the people who can’t be fired and not for the people who depend on their work.

A certain amount of security allows us to sleep at night; too much security encourages us to sleep during the day.  A little potassium — just what the doctor ordered.  Too much — danger. And those bananas?  Yes, eating about 10,000 in half an hour could be perilous.

12 thoughts on “Don’t Go Bananas”

  1. My takeaway here is ” an amount of security…good sleep but too much of security…bad sleep “.
    Thanks, Lapin.

  2. Alessandro Mecle

    Dear Rabbi, thank you! The following words will be with me: “A certain amount of security allows us to sleep at night; too much security encourages us to sleep during the day”.

    1. Thank you for posting, Rabbi Lapin. I have worked as a nurse for over 18 years and have lived in a world of urgency. The worst service I have ever delivered were during periods of low patient census – the pace slows down and complacency sets in swiftly. Performance suffers and patients notice, can be treacherous, for the patient and the spirit. If I’m not feeling slightly overwhelmed, I’m in danger of allowing moss to grow – I get busy.

  3. My Rabbi and Susan, of course, I strongly agree with your comments. In the past, I’ve worked for companies that had unions and noted that least energetic workers were the union stewards or strong union supporters. I don’t hurry much anymore, at 82 using a walker, except when taking my Furosemide and rushing to the rest room,but not to rest.

  4. Dear Rabbi; Spot on! I like to see myself as a steward of God. I don’t even get comfortable in the cars I own. Lol! Some of my peers unfortunately disliked me but it could have been for their benefit because my intentions are always to please my Heavenly Father.

  5. Great article and you hit it on the head!! I worked for a government hospital for over 20 years and I saw the abuse. I even worked as a union representative to counsel employees in need of reprimand to protect their jobs. It was rewarding because I had an opportunity to help employees to develop a positive work ethic. I talked with them about the exact thing you’re speaking of to not take the job for granted. How being in an environment that doesn’t micromanage over you can cause you to become slack. When instead it should inspire and boost your level of responsibility to know that you’re a trusted employee. I understand exactly what you mean and looking back in the Bible at the scripture made me think a little bit more.
    Thanks Rabbi Lapin!

  6. Potassium is also slightly radioactive. Our cleanup workers at Fukushima demanded that they be supplied potassium-iodine tablets to protect them from the radioactive iodine. After a little computation, we showed them that they would get more radioactivity from the potassium in the potassium-iodine tablet than they would get from the quantity of radioactive iodine in the area. They then relented their demands.

  7. Deborah Poland

    Thank you for this. I have been wondering why it bugs me so much to see my employees with no sense of urgency. With the labor shortage, it feels like my employees belong to a union. If you say anything to them, they quit.
    Appreciate the perspective.

  8. Once, several years ago, I was told I was dangerously low on Potassium. I went out and got some, No Salt(Potassium Chloride)and sprinkle it on my oatmeal in the morning. Praying for you and your wonderful ministry.

  9. Excellent article Rabbi Lapin! I worked for a government agency and my office was next to the EEO and Labor Relations offices for a large geographical area. It infuriated me to see how much time, money and manpower was used to protect employees with ridiculous demands, who felt secure enough to under perform and then demand the agency reward/accommodate them. On the flip side, people who have a good work ethic will work. 99% of the people in our office were very committed to doing their job to the absolute best of their ability. Coming in early, staying late, meeting deadlines. Their moral compass pointed them toward productivity and an honest day’s work.

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