Compromise: Don’t Bring a Zester to the Farmers’ Market

by Patrick McNerthney

Sometimes we accidentally create thick, dense, disorienting fog on the path to where we want to go. Yes, it’s Fall and the gloom is here (for some of us, particularly in Seattle), so prepare for several weeks of weather-related metaphors.  

For example, in 2021, I literally “polished” or customized my resume 85 times (not kidding), in search of the perfect full-time role. (I love freelancing, don’t get me wrong, just keeping my options open…seriously, not insecure; I swear!)

In the course of burnishing up this dreaded document, I (a.) focus on “resume best-practices” so much so, I lose track of what role I’m applying for and whether I really even want it, (b.) rush and make typos, including recently spelling “Education,” “Eduducation,” which is of course ironic, (c.) go insane, (d.) want to tell the hiring manager that resumes are stupid, (e.) waist a ton of time, and (f.) don’t reflect upon what the perfect role actually is, because I’m too busy applying for stuff that feels “close.” 

The result? No change, because I’m bringing a zester to the farmers’ market. Which will make sense in a moment. But ultimately the resume is a distraction, where reflecting on what I’m looking for in a role is the goal.


That’s why I love project managers. Professional project managers map out all the links necessary to get something done and not get pulled off course in the process. They focus on what the goal is, and the mathematical steps it takes to get there. This means flow charts and decision trees and algorithms and other things that make me want to barf. 

Which is not to say it’s not important. It just makes me nauseous for some reason. Kind of like Ryan Seacrest.  

The links necessary to get something done are called dependencies. Managing dependencies is like a maestro leading a world-renown orchestra – although in this metaphor replace classically trained musicians with confusing, multi-layered, yawn-inspiring project management processes. 

The four main types of dependencies (don’t fall asleep on me yet) are:

  • Finish to Start (FS)
  • Start to Start (SS)
  • Start to Finish (SF)
  • Finish to Finish (FF)

Simply riveting isn’t it? 

Here’s a quick, painless example: FS is the most common type of dependency, where one task must finish before the next can begin. E.g. a baker must bake the cake before applying the icing, emptying my wallet and letting me gorge on it. Yum!

(I could eat this in five minutes.)

Sounds simple, right? But oftentimes trouble arises when we work in a group or add unnecessary steps. Let’s say we’re the bakers, it’s Wednesday afternoon, and that previously mentioned cake must be delivered, 100% complete, by Thursday morning. So as the project begins…

  • Bob insists the icing needs to be prototyped and perfected before the baking starts (Bob simply loves icing, and hey, is he wrong?)
  • Sharon agrees and wants to play with unique aromas and flavors to deliver a stunning effect (secretly Sharon is looking to compete on one of those Netflix baking competitions, and thinks this is her ticket in)
  • Meanwhile, Thomas suggests creating show-stopping icing by zesting the peels of various, somewhat rare tropical fruits (Thomas is super trendy and thus into tart, bright flavors over rich, oversweet ones, plus he loves his zester)
  • Lisa insists a visit to the farmers’ market is in order as they have the freshest fruit (and she wants to pick up some of that home-made peanut brittle that one guy sells)

Suddenly we find ourselves at the farmers market at 4:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoon with zesters in hand searching for mangos, papayas, guavas, and passion fruits so we can deliver the cake Thursday morning. 

So what is the mistake here?


Whether shipping a personal project (like my resume) or working as a part of a team, the minute we start walking down a path toward zesting tropical fruits, it’s time to make a compromise. Doing the job  well now is much better than adding a thousand steps that may or may not lead to getting it done in some version of “perfect” later.

That’s right, compromise. That thing we teach children then promptly forget as adults, based on various agendas, concerns, and insecurities. That thing politicians can’t do without making it sound like they’re holier-than-thou superheroes. That thing that our cultures earmarks as a sign of weakness. That thing none of us think to do FIRST.

Alas, this isn’t about us. Compromise ships every time, and leads to doing things well, today, for the benefit of others. 

So we can compromise by using off-the-shelf flavors for that icing. Or juice a lemon or zest an orange. I can compromise by separating my resume from my job search, identifying it as a step to be taken later rather than simultaneously. Both lead to today’s solution. 

Fine Art Miracles (FAM) wants you to help your residents and loved ones today through creative expression. Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Dance & Movement Therapy, and our NEW drama therapy programs allow those you care for who may be suffering from stress, anxiety, depression, and other effects of social isolation to take action now – action that inspires new attitudes

What can you do to accomplish this goal? Examine the many, often complex steps required to help those you care for and decide where you can compromise to make an impact today. Are you willing to try something new, something you’re not sure will work, something that may feel unfamiliar in order to more effectively reach those you care for? 

Creative expression creates feelings of self-worth, confidence, relevance, and mastery. They offer a sense of control over a world that the elderly, children with challenges, or anyone who needs help with daily living, may feel has passed them by. 

It’s worth a shot! Remember, compromise ships every time, and makes an impact today. And we promise our programs aren’t a farmers’ market-type distraction from your goal to help others. If you have any question, please reach out here.  Okay then! If you made it this far, you’re probably hungry like me… Time to run to the farmers’ market for some peanut brittle! Yum. 



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