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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Lessons from Uncle Milton

A small colony of ants taught me a thing or two about job-hunting. Indeed, I jump-started my search thanks to Uncle Milton and his ants.

The ant farm was a birthday gift for one of my boys back in 2005. It took me a year to warm to the idea of inviting ants into my house because usually we pay people to spread poison around in an effort to keep them out. The type of ants Uncle Milt supplies for the farms were in short supply this year and we had to wait a few extra weeks for the ants to arrive. First lesson learned: stop procrastinating!

I was out working a temp job when the tiny vial of ants arrived. My husband unceremoniously dumped the contents into the sand-filled habitat whereas I would have made it an event--think Steve Martin in The Jerk: The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here! As a stay-at-home mom, I am all about messy and disgusting science projects with my boys.

It turns out that ant farms and neither messy nor disgusting. They are oddly captivating. Mesmerizing. Inspiring.

Week 1: The ants work tirelessly digging tunnels in the fresh sand. They are incredibly driven and task-oriented. I pull myself away from the Plexiglas farm and grab a notepad. I furiously start making lists: call temp agencies, update resume, review wardrobe. I am too high up on the food chain to be shamed by these ants.

Week 2: The main tunnels are complete, yet they continue moving grains of sand and tiny seeds that are many times their own weight. Not to be outdone, I decide to get more serious about my exercise routine.

Week 3: They maintain their frenetic pace expanding their maze of trails. They even establish a small burial ground behind the plastic barn. They cross one another on the paths sending secret messages of encouragement with their antennae. Or maybe they are just tickling each other, who knows? I am busy checking items off my to-do list and exercising; I cannot be sidetracked by picayune matters like the fundamentals of ant communication.

Week 4: The entire colony is dead. The ants, so inspiring in life, are now but specks in my compost heap. I grab a candy bar and go surf YouTube. I have not yet found a job, but I have learned an important lesson about work-life balance.

posted by Kim Moldofsky @ 9:06 AM  


At 10:29 AM, tumpover said...

heh heh heh, a much more positive spin on this:

At 2:19 PM, Kim said...

Ack! Why did the colony die? You can't just leave us hanging like that! :)


At 2:19 PM, Kim said...

Ack! Why did the colony die? You can't just leave us hanging like that! :)


At 6:54 AM, hobbledog said...

that post was delightful! hooray! funny! perfect!


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