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Working at Wisegate

October 5, 2011

Every employee at Wisegate gets a three-day weekend every month. I love this benefit (I made it up and implemented it, so that makes sense). I love it because we work hard; our environment is fun and intense (given that I started and lead this company, this also makes sense). Taking time to recharge on a regular basis is good for all of us – it’s good for problem solving, creativity, vibrant health and getting a fresh perspective. I came across this story and it made me think of the Wisegate three-day weekend:

The Border Guard

There was once a Swiss guard who worked at the border of Austria. He had worked there for many years and took a great deal of pride in his work.

One morning, an Austrian man arrived at the border riding a bicycle. On the front of the bike was a basket filled with sand. Another guard might have simply waved him through, but the Swiss guard did not. Instead, he brought out a special comb he kept for just such a purpose and began to sift through the sand in the basket. You see, he suspected the Austrian might be a smuggler. Finding nothing but sand, however, he waved the man through.

The same thing happened the next day, and the day after that. Though he never found anything, he kept on looking, day after day, for thirty years. Finally, one day, the Swiss guard spoke to the Austrian man. “I must ask you a question,” he said, “that has been on my mind many years. This is my last day of work. Today I shall retire. And all these years, I suspect you have been a smuggler. Now I ask you, for I must know – are you indeed a smuggler?”

The Austrian man hesitated, and the Swiss guard reassured him. “Do not worry – I give you my word of honor that I will not prosecute you. But I must know.”

“Very well,” said the Austrian. “Then I will tell you – I am indeed a smuggler.”

“Ah-ha!” said the guard. “I knew it! But each day I look through your basket and find nothing but sand. Tell me, please, what have you been smuggling?”


We take regular time off so we can see the bicycles.

*Taken from The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness by Joel Ben Izzy.

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