Metaphors Gone Wild: Bees and Workplace Relationships

In “The Life of the Bee,” author Maurice Maeterlinck asserts that “if the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.” Given the importance of the bee to our survival, we can make metaphoric applications of bee life to women in the workplace. ROYAL JELLY The […]



In “The Life of the Bee,” author Maurice Maeterlinck asserts that “if the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.” Given the importance of the bee to our survival, we can make metaphoric applications of bee life to women in the workplace.

ROYAL JELLY
The larva that will become a queen is fed only royal jelly for the entire grub stage. This nutritional intake is a significant factor in determining whether a larva becomes a worker or a queen. Initially, all larvae get royal jelly, but then the diet is changed to bee bread for anyone who is not a queen in the making.

If you see yourself destined to “rule” your workplace, you should probably be considering right now what royal jelly you are ingesting in order to advance up the career ladder.

STINGERS
They have a negative metaphorical image, but if the barbed stinger is removed from a bee, it will tear the bee's body apart. Viewing a stinger as a less-ferocious weapon, determine what weapons you have in your toolkit, weapons that will help you, perhaps, emerge victorious in the battle of the sexes. Or weapons that will enable you to duel with a difficult co-worker. Rather than viewing stingers as a way to decimate others, view them as ways to protect yourself and your ideas in the daily attacks that life makes upon us emotionally,

SISTER BEES
Worker bees, all of whom are female, carry out a complex dance on the honeycomb to provide their sisters with cues about the direction and distance to nectar and pollen sources. The intensity of the dance performance is relative to the abundance of food. Apply this bit of bee-knowledge to your own workplace: To what extent are you sharing knowledge with your co-workers? Are you willing to help them advance their own careers? If you believe that what goes around is destined to come around, there is every reason to act in mutually beneficial ways with your colleagues. And, if you don't belief in the karma categories that include individual and collective results, you will perhaps by guided by your own religious beliefs. Helping others is a familiar concept in most faiths.

POLLEN PRO's and CON's
Pollen is packed into a hollow on the hind leg of bees. That hollow is called a pollen basket. The basket, bought, can be so loaded with nutrients that it makes the bee weighted down, causing flying difficulty if the golden ball in her leg is too large. Think about the things that may be weighing you down and yes, knowledge can be one of then. Analyze at least once a year the burdens you are carrying and determine which can be lightened.

WHAT ABOUT BROTHER BEES?
June Singer, analytical psychologist and found of the Jung Institute of Chicago, had this to say about androgyny, the combination of male and female characteristics; “Androgyny is not trying to manage the relationship between the opposites; it is simply flowing between them.” If you are someone who is able to “flow” among the various kinds of relationships in the typical workplace, you will no doubt apply the lessons to be learned from bees to your own personal and professional lives.

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