In Russia, tasks eat YOU!
There are several business quasi-jargon phrases that I believe warrant further study, such as “to touch base” and “to be on the same page.” Today, however, I’d like to focus on the notion of “having a lot on your plate.” Sometimes one hears that a task is being taken off someone’s plate, but normally the metaphor is limited to having a full, and indeed overfull, plate.
Presumably this plate is full of food, since there is not much else that is normally stacked on a plate. Now you might have a lot on your plate after taking a trip to an all-you-can-eat buffet, for example. In these cases, the plate’s fullness results from an act of will. The implication, however, is that normally your portion size is out of your control. I thus picture a kind of sadistic all-you-can-eat buffet where they don’t just take your word for it — instead, they aggressively push food on you to see for themselves what the true level of “all” you can eat is. You might be able to ask that a particular food item be taken off your plate if there is another diner willing to take it, but that is only a stop-gap measure — the force-feeding will continue, and you will have gained at best a few seconds of breathing room.
Continuing the metaphor, we might think of weekends and vacations as bathroom breaks — though they feel good in the moment, their ultimate purpose is solely to clear out our system sufficiently to allow further force-feedings. (Staying connected to e-mail, etc., on the weekend might then be likened to bringing a snack into the bathroom.)
I leave further extension of the plate metaphor as an exercise for the reader.
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