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Chip Ecktonのプロフィール
「企画」の現実と希望についてのMEMO あるいはその他のことについて思ったこと

青い人生相談 by Chip Eckton #06


Scrubbing shit stains didn't clean my soul.




  1. 心を磨く
  2. 謙虚な人になる
  3. 無駄に気づく人になる
  4. 感動できる人になる
  5. 感謝の心を持つ人になる


A few days ago, I was forced by my company to attend a "lavatory cleaning" seminar on my day off as a self-enlightenment training exercise for salarymen and students.

We went to a park, which was about a 15 min. walk from my company and where most of us had never been before, to clean a dirty public lavatory. The trainer did not permit us to wear gloves, a mask, or water-resistant clothes, nor were we permitted to use cleaning brushes with long handles. Therefore I was worried about getting an infection through a scratch or a cut and then passing it on to my family, which includes a small baby.

According to the trainer, the purposes of this exercise are:

  1. to clean your mind
  2. to learn humility
  3. to be observant of waste
  4. to become less apathetic
  5. to get a feeling of thankfulness

Although I made no complaint, I think this sort of thing is wrong and something of a joke. It seems to me that this kind of exercise is exploitative and potentially harmful. What do you think?







For the most part, I agree with you. I understand the purposes behind the exercise. Although the first stated purpose ("to clean your mind") can be achieved through any dull, repetitious activity. Chances are you experience that every day at the office. Also, if you are a normal human being, you probably use the bathroom on a fairly regular basis, so I'd imagine that you are already observant of waste.

But I do think that all 5 of these goals are good and noble - laudable even. Who could argue against learning humility, thankfulness, etc.? If you had signed up for such a seminar and gone through with it on your own, I think it would speak highly of you as a person. However, as you pointed out, you were forced to do it. Because this was a company seminar, you had no choice but to acquiesce and go through with it.

To have refused would have put you in a very awkward position and may even have lost you your job. I do think that it is completely unacceptable for anyone to be asked to do this sort of thing without protection of any kind, regardless of whether they were willing or not. Your concerns about infection are entirely justified. You should have had the right to refuse to participate in this exercise or have been given an alternative exercise.

I don't think that the idea behind this activity is wrong in and of itself. That you were forced to do it is wrong. Clearly the exercise failed in your case if you view the whole experience as a joke.

I'd imagine that there are janitors employed by the park service to clean those public lavatories. Since you were doing work that others are paid to do, you most certainly are being exploited. No doubt the salaries of those janitors (who probably wear protective gear) are paid for by your taxes, so not only is your labor being exploited, but your taxes are going to waste as well.

I think that the trainers should be ashamed to ask someone to participate in this exercise without allowing for proper hygiene. No doubt the trainers were well-paid for their services. I think it very arrogant of them to presume to make a better person of you by asking you to do something for free that they themselves are getting paid to do. What they have done has had the opposite of the intended effect upon you, since it resulted in resentment on your part.



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  1. 傲慢な振る舞いを通して謙虚さを教えることはできない。
  2. 無感動は、憤りを与えて直るものではない。
  3. 搾取から、感謝する心は生まれない。


Unfortunately there is little you can do about this kind of thing under these circumstances. I think that you would do well to find another job; one where the employees are treated with some consideration for their health and well-being. This may be unrealistic though, considering how difficult it is to find decent employment.

Perhaps you ought to give some consideration to devising and conducting seminars of your own. I would suggest that you start with a seminar targeted to CEOs and Company Presidents. The purposes of this seminar would be to learn that:

  1. Humility cannot be taught through arrogance
  2. Apathy is not reduced by increasing resentment
  3. Exploitation does not result in gratitude

On the other hand, you could always apply for a position as janitor with the park service. With salarymen and students out there scrubbing down the public lavatories, you probably wouldn't have to work very hard for your salary. That would leave you plenty of time to meditate on your personal failings and discover ways to better yourself without the help of overpaid trainers and time-wasting seminars.


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