Don’t End Up With Bitter Bread

A couple of weeks ago I bought myself a gift: Paesano bread from my good friends at Zingerman’s Mail Order. I have been enjoying this rare treat immensely, grilled on the Big Green Egg last night and toasted this Labor Day morning. I am reminded of one of my favorite poet philosophers Kahlil Gibran who said, “For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger.” The same is true for chocolate! Or any product or service you provide. Work vocations provide meaning and purpose. Products or services created with intention, by people who feel they’re contributing toward a higher purpose, will undoubtedly be higher quality.

We’ve been working for over two years on one chocolate bar that we will release in mid-September. It’s a collaboration with our friends at Heath Ceramics. They’re a historic, iconic company in the design world. Heath shares similar values to our company. They believe in “human-scale”– they make everything they sell by hand, just like us. Their factory is small and they’re dedicated to true quality and craftsmanship. Their ceramics are most certainly not bitter. Similarly, It took two years to develop this chocolate bar because it needed to be just right. We’re making this chocolate bar with care, not indifference, and thus we aspire to the lofty goal that it feeds not half but “all of man’s [and woman’s] hunger.”

Making something “with care” does not mean the same thing to every employee. For some in our little company it means taking pride in the attention to every detail in the process from roasting the beans to texture of the chocolate. For others it means knowing that cocoa farmers are benefiting from making this chocolate. For others it means having a job. For some it means working with students in our neighborhood. All of the ways we bring care to what we make are inseparable from the finished product. Who we are and how we behave is inextricably linked to our chocolate and the same is true for your product or service.

Digging deeper: Read Chapter 2 of our book, “Meaningful Work: The Quest To Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, And Feed Your Soul,”  and learn why businesses need a vocation in order to survive.