Chewing It Over

Kenyon Sayler

THE LATE JOHN BOGLE, in his book Enough, tells a wonderful story about Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller. At a dinner party, Vonnegut asks Heller what it was like knowing that another guest made more in a day than Heller had ever made from his bestselling book Catch-22. Heller replied that he had something that the other guest would never have—enough.

I had forgotten my own story of enough, until I was reminded about it recently by my old boss.

Twenty-four years ago, my boss asked me to move to a different state to run a portion of a manufacturing plant. This was the time-honored step necessary to be considered for promotion to director or vice president of manufacturing. Without that plant leadership experience, my career would be severely limited.

I politely turned down the offer to move. My boss reminded me that my career would probably plateau without this additional experience. He wanted to know how I could turn down this wonderful opportunity.

I replied that I love real maple syrup. We seldom had it growing up. But now, every weekend, I made pancakes or waffles and ate them with real maple syrup.

My boss asked me what maple syrup had to do with the job offer. I replied that I was now sufficiently well off that I could afford real maple syrup for the rest of my life—and so, while I appreciated his confidence in my abilities, I was happy with my current career path.

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