Paul’s story is used in teaching working/not working
Paul is someone whose great sense of humor and quick wit make visiting with him an enjoyable
adventure. He loves video games and his computer knowledge and his programs have helped many of
us try and learn new things. At the time of this story he was 26 years old who enjoys hanging out with
the guys and visiting his family on weekends. Paul has always wanted to live in his own home and he
does. Another thing that Paul has always wanted to do is have a job, and he does. Paul makes enough
money to support himself, do fun things and buy his family gifts for their birthdays and on holidays.
Paul’s employer is happy with the work Paul does; he gets things done and done right, is dependable
and gets along well with his co-workers. He’s happy with his decision to employ Paul. One of the
requirements for all employees is to wear a clean “uniform”. His uniform consists of a white polo shirt
and a pair of black pants. Paul has two white polo shirts and two pairs of black pants. When asked
about the expectation that he will always come to work in a clean uniform Paul says “no problem, I will
do my laundry every other day”.
Things are rolling along pretty smooth, till one day, Paul’s job becomes at risk, not because he isn’t doing
his job or not getting along with his co-workers, it’s because he’s wearing dirty polo shirts.
Is Paul having a job important to or for him?
– to him, he goes to work, does his work without concerns, and earns money that he want to have
Is Paul wearing a clean uniform important to or important for him?
– for him, he’s not doing it, but he needs to wear a clean uniform to keep his job.
This is a true story. Wearing a clean uniform/doing his laundry became a huge topic of debate. There
were staff members who were saying – “if he won’t do his laundry, than he shouldn’t be employed”.
“He’s not taking responsibility; therefore, he should be fired”. They were serious.
Staff were stuck. To help staff move forward a working/not working was completed.
Perspective What is working/makes sense What is not working/doesn’t
Paul’s Friends at work-co-workers Having a job Having to do my own Laundry
Perspective When staff do my laundry Boss is upset, I might lose my job
Conflict with staff
Mom’s Paul having a job, he’s successful at Paul wearing dirty
Perspective Paul has friends at work uniforms/clothes
Paul has something he feels good about Paul’s job is at risk
Constant conflict between Paul
and staff – all the phone calls.
Staff’s Paul having a job When staff do his laundry
Perspective When Paul does his laundry Having to remind Paul to do his
Not being “responsible”, not
doing he was as hesaid he
Employer’s Paul as an employee – Paul wearing dirty uniforms (he
Perspective – someone who is dependable, doesn’t care who or how the
– does things right, and laundry gets done)
– doesn’t make waves Having to fire Paul if he keeps
showing up with a dirty uniform
Keeping Paul as an employee
Common Ground –something everyone agrees on – Paul having a job.
Ideas that were generated on how to move forward:
Buy more uniforms
Talk to mom, Paul visits his family home every weekend, could she help (wouldn’t be the first
person to take his/her laundry home to mom)
Lots of ideas, the working/not working helped all involved to take a step back and plan together.
Paul bought three more uniforms; he now has five and only has to do laundry once a week. Mom and
Paul do his laundry together on weekends.