The "book" begins having a Gathering, wherein former classmates have lunch and chat within an incredibly realistic manner about how exactly much their lives have changed since high school. They concur that things have certainly proved differently than they thought, and notice that they often "don't want to improve when things change. "
Carlos said, "I guess we resist changing because we're afraid of change. "
"Carlos, you were Captain of the football team, " Jessica said. "I never thought I'd hear you say anything about being afraid!"
They all laughed. . .
Yes, this is how I talk with my friends.
Then, one of these, Michael, relates the storyplot of Who Moved My Cheese? to the others.
The story revolves around two mice, "Sniff" and "Scurry", and two "littlepeople", "Hem" and "Haw". They stay in a "maze" and spend their time running around, looking for, finding, and eating "Cheese". Cheese, as is stated in the foreword by Kenneth Blanchard, is "a metaphor for what you want to have in life", like a job, a relationship, money, a huge house, or an insulting yet best-selling business book. Cheese could even be ". . . a task like jogging or golf. . . " (rejected title: Who Moved My Jogging?).
Of course, there will vary attitudes taken by those hoping to obtain Cheese. Sniff is proficient at "sniffing out" Cheese, and Scurry excels at "scurrying" after the Cheese once he knows where it is. Have you been with me? Are you currently sure? Because Johnson spends at least a full page trying to get this message across: the two mice don't really think about things, they just react to them.
As for Hem and Haw, well, you might say they are somewhat more complicated. You'd be wrong to state that, nevertheless, you could say it. They use their brains a bit more than the mice do, thinking things through rather than scurrying blindly off into the maze, plus they also talk, which is unfortunate, because when they talk, they have a tendency to use the term "change" in every single sentence, and their dialogue is no more realistic than folks within a Gathering.
Haw, we learn, also has the annoying habit of writing incredibly apparent sayings on the wall, perhaps sensing that they might make good seminar topics or bullet points in a PowerPoint slide presentation. His first saying is:
Having Cheese ENABLES YOU TO Happy
Did everyone get that?
One day, the mice and both losers find a huge mound of Cheese in the maze. Hem and Haw decide that mound of Cheese is so large they do not have to think about finding more. They get comfortable and relax, and thus are caught unaware when: surprise! Their Cheese is gone 1 day.
Sniff and Scurry are ready to handle this, and get back to looking for more Cheese immediately. Hem and Haw, however, mope around, complaining that someone moved their Cheese, and they don't deserve this, and that they don't want to look for more Cheese. They feel they have entitlement to the Cheese they worked hard for.
Boys and girls, do you really start to see the difference between Sniff and Scurry, and Hem and Haw?
Hem and Haw become bitter and irritated, not to mention hungry, and lastly, Hem kills Haw while he's sleeping and dines after his flesh.
What really happens is, Haw goes off in search of new Cheese, while Hem stays stubbornly put, insisting that someone will put his Cheese back. He's eligible for it. In fact, at one point he puts his practical his hips and screams near the top of his voice:
"It isn't fair!"
Hem sure is silly, isn't he? After all, what does he hope to accomplish your?
Meanwhile, Haw runs through the maze, weary and frightened, stopping every single page to write new sayings on the wall, such as:
The Quicker You FORGET ABOUT Old Cheese, THE EARLIER YOU WILL FIND New Cheese
Old Beliefs USUALLY DO NOT Lead You To New Cheese
Movement in a New Direction Helps You Find New Cheese
At no point does Haw seem to be to realize that he's writing the very same message again and again in a slightly different way. He does, however, come to understand that he's enjoying running right through the maze. He realizes he was foolish to be concerned a lot about looking for new Cheese, especially with the Cheese market doing so well these days. Why, everyone should be thrilled to get fired! Er, I mean. . . everyone should be thrilled to go looking for new Cheese!
Haw, following a boringly repetitive struggle, finds new Cheese, and also reunites along with his disease-ridden pals, Sniff and Scurry. Haw vows to change his ways by being ready for things to change next time. He sure learned something from those two mice! Sure, they may only be vermin, but they know something or two about change. Hem then immediately continues his habit of vandalism by scrawling idiotic messages over every available surface, repeating all his wise sayings, and hoping that Hem will someday accept the fact that They EXCERSICE the Cheese.
Once Michael is done telling the storyplot, his friends sit there for a couple moments in thoughtful silence. They pummel him to death for being so incredibly condescending and dine upon his flesh.
Well, not really. They all agree, naturally, to gather later to discuss the storyline further, that leads us to the next portion of the "book": A Discussion (rejected title: Padding the Word Count A LITTLE).
Here, through even more incredibly realistic dialogue, the former classmates discuss the Cheese mythos in great detail. Some of them commence to see the amount of they are really like Hem and Haw or Sniff and Scurry.
Carlos opens his big fat yap again and talks about how his sporting goods store (remember, he was the Captain of the football team) experienced an urgent change:
"I wasn't Sniff -- I didn't sniff out the problem. And I certainly wasn't Scurry -- I didn't get into action immediately. I had been similar to Hem, who wished to stay static in familiar territory. "
Michael. . . asked, "What exactly are we discussing here, buddy?"
"Well, let's just say I didn't want to venture out looking for new Cheese. "
Jessica pipes up with how her 'Cheese' has been moved many times in her personal life, and Nathan pertains to the movement of 'Cheese' in his family. It's basically said aloud: "Golly, it seems like most of us here, who represent a good cross-section of American life and society, can benefit from the wonderful fable of Who Moved My Cheese? and put it to your day-to-day lives!"
The "book" ends, not with an orgy of murder and frenzied cannibalism, but with everyone thanking Michael for his wonderful story.
Yes. Thank you, Michael. Most enlightening. You've taught me that easily come across change, or unfairness, in my own job or life, it doesn't pay to hang in there and make an effort to correct it or complain about it. I will just scurry off to check out something else.
And, I thank you for this.
Oh. Say, Michael. . . I have a tale about change, too.
Did you hear about those temps working for Microsoft some time back? They were what you call "perma-temps", that is, temporary employees who have been with a specific company for a long period of your time, sometimes years, but still get paid through their temp agency and do not receive medical benefits or pension plans from the company. Of all employees at Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Washington, in regards to a third of them were these perma-temps. It's just cheaper to employ individuals who way, and, after all, Microsoft hardly has any money to just throw around.
Well, a few of the temps decided that they deserved stock options, given that they were working equally hard and normally as the standard, long lasting employees, and weren't being hired permanently themselves. In fact, under Washington state law, they were entitled to be looked at "regular" employees, but Microsoft was illegally classifying them as "contract-workers". In conditions you may understand, Michael, Microsoft was denying them their Cheese.
So, these temps put their little practical their hips and screamed at the top of their voices:
"It isn't fair!"
And, do you know what? Nobody heard them.
Well. . . except for the courts, who ruled in the temps' favor, ordering Microsoft to pay over 10, 000 temps possibly approximately $20 million for illegally shutting them out of their stock-purchasing plan. Why, it even applied to temps that worked for Microsoft dating back to 1986! Can you envisage that?
In fact, temps have taken Microsoft to court on numerous occasions, most recently winning an instance granting them the to access any records that Microsoft is wearing them. A few of them have even union representation now!
And isn't Microsoft the biggest, deepest, darkest maze there may be? Filled with winding tunnels, blind alleys, and giant, Cheese-hoarding rats?
But, I assume next time, they ought to just scurry off and look for new Cheese. Right, Michael?
Beyond a lot more evil meanings and implications, the kiddie-talk factor of the "book" is unbelievably high, and the sheer phoniness is beyond imagination. At one point during A Discussion, someone mentions that his job is fast changing, and he might be out of work soon.
"It's MAZE time!" Carlos called out. Everyone laughed, including Jessica.
Right. Okay. At no point in this "book" does anyone look around, stand up and say: "Jesus Christ. Can we speak about something apart from this stupid Cheese story? That is our high-school reunion, for God's sake, shouldn't we all be wanting to score with the chicks who ignored us in high school?"
Rest assured, if they did, the response would be: "Appears like someone requires a change!!!"
And everyone would laugh.