Skip to main content


Warning: This post is a little bit gross, but that’s just life in the big city.

Did you see Slumdog Millionaire? I saw about 1/2 of it – until I couldn’t take the violence and left. But I did see the part where little Jamal jumps into the crapper to meet his hero. That’s serious dedication. And, it brings up the age old dilemma that I like to call:

Is it worth it?

I live in a house with composting toilets (called a Clivus). They are no where near as disgusting as Jamal’s facilities – in fact, they’re incredibly clean, and I now abhor using water toilets. But, at the end of the day, when you look down the hole, it ain’t pretty.

Last week, I was washing out one of the bowl inserts that we have for our kids’ potties – I dumped the ‘stuff’ into the Clivus, washed the bowl out in the sink and went to toss it back on the potty seat. Unfortunately, my mind was busy writing blog posts or something, and without thinking, I tossed the little white plastic bowl down the Clivus.

Yes, it was one of those slow-motion moments…where my ‘Noooooooo’ came out sounding like a Borg or some such thing.

And, I had to decide. Is it worth it? Am I going in to get it? Or am I willing to let it go?

Of course the scenario made me think of my work.

How often does this question come up in business?

  • When you see a freelance job posted…
  • When someone blogs or tweets about an issue that enrages you…
  • When a client doesn’t understand the brilliance of what you’ve written…
  • When you lose a whole day because your internet goes down…

Each of these scenarios offers choices – do you you go after the job or not? speak up or not? defend yourself or not? freak out or find another way to get the work done?

How do you determine whether or not it’s worth it?

For me, the determination usually comes from trying out each option and seeing how I really feel. I trust my gut. Sometimes, I need to step away from the situation or check in with a trusted colleague. And then sometimes…sometimes…the answer is so crystal clear that it needs no thought whatsoever. For instance, there is no way I’m going to get that little white plastic bowl.

Your turn…

Image courtesy of Corey Ann

Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • Great post! I’m thinking it’s easier to let things go when you aren’t in a stressful time in your life. For instance, I just read a rant where someone accused all of “group” of something — which was such a hypocritical thing to say when you’re doing the same thing — but I backed away. It’s not worth it.

    But if I were having many bad days, I wonder if I’d have found it worth it then?

  • Julianne says:

    LOL! I am known as the tosser in this house. I throw away EVERYTHING! My kids don’t ask if something is lost…they ask if I threw it out. Nice, huh? Anyway…because of my obsession of keeping things neat and orderly…I have found myself many a time picking through the garbage seeking that important paper that just had to be signed for the field trip, or the check that I thought I had taken from the envelope and so on. I just got really great U2 tickets for their show in September. An envelope came in just yesterday that looked a little like junk mail. I paused for a moment and decided to open it….thank god I did as it was the U2 TICKETS! Will I ever learn???? Probably not.

  • Emma says:

    Brilliant! I’ll be bookmarking this post…

  • Debra Snider says:

    I think one of the hardest life lessons to learn is discernment – whether we are choosing among opportunities, deciding which battles to fight or even simply keeping hold of our knee-jerk tendencies to fly off the handle (aloud or internally).

    Like you, I trust my instincts, and I rarely misjudge opportunities or battles. But I continue to work on quelling that internal leap of desire to take on things I know I shouldn’t. I’ve told myself a zillion times that just because I *can* do something doesn’t mean I have to or should do it. While I’ve gotten pretty good at not taking actions that will embroil me in unbalanced cost/benefit situations, it sometimes takes a huge and very concentrated effort to restrain myself from offering (or showing off) my expertise or going after something that enrages me. And even when I’m certain I’ve made the right choice by deciding against accepting an opportunity or fighting a battle or having a fit about something, the path not taken occasionally lingers in my thoughts and emotions, taking up psychic energy for longer than it should.

    The impulse to do what we can is, I think, a very strong one. Applying intellect to temper that impulse and make the right judgments and decisions for ourselves requires a lot of effort as well as clear thought and good instincts.

  • As I age (yes, I am now admitting it), I find that it is easier to let things go. When my now 24 year old daughter was small, she loved playing in the sandbox and making a big mess. I would be at the park with her and had a box of baby wipes with me. Not for her bum…but for her hands. I would wipe them every minute that she had sand or dirt on them. Never wanted to appear to have a “dirty” child–even if she was just playing.
    Now, years later, my 8 year old (youngest) daughter loves to dig for worms and bugs outside. She often comes inside looking like she put her face in the ground, rather than her hands. I take pictures, giggle with her and say, “I guess that will come off in the bath. Want something to eat first?”

    It’s all a matter of “is it really worth flipping out over”……and often, it’s not.

    LOVE this post.

  • Liz Jenkins says:

    Ok – I am completely amazed at how you took dropping the part in the toilet (I can actually hear you in slo mo) to a coherent transition into a real business dilemma – one that is faced daily for many of us.
    On that note, I’ve often come up against the decision whether to comment or not – I just did about American Idol and the scantily clad hootchie mamas that my 7 year old was watching with me. I had to hesitate – do I post it and risk the wrath of others? I did. So there. Minor in the overall scheme of things but then – what if you don’t do something – what’s the worst that could happen – things could go in the crapper, I guess.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Liz…classic – yes, they could go straight into the crapper. Your amazement is my bafflement – I mean, really, making this connection either makes me brilliant or extremely twisted. The jury’s still out!

Leave a Reply