Don’t Be Anyone’s “Last Straw”

This post was written by Brett Slater, Chief Social Media Officer at The Latimer Group.

True story: This is my Grandfather’s camel.

Years ago, when my grandfather was in the day-to-day grind, he was in a job that frustrated him. So he bought this little toy camel, and snipped off a number of straws from a whisk broom he had. Each time an incident came up at his job that exasperated him, he took one of the straws and placed it on the camel’s back. Eventually, there was one straw left — the literal “Last Straw” — after which he quit and moved on to other pursuits. (It was never a public thing. He kept the camel at home with his model airplanes and stuff, and his coworkers and bosses never knew about it. He just quietly counted straws.)

I don’t know the specific causes of each of the “straws,” but my guess is that they were problems small enough to overlook individually, but which collectively over time amounted to a burden that was no longer worth shouldering.

The takeaway is, communicate clearly with your co-workers, and practice situational awareness so you don’t end up being someone’s “last straw.” Bring the empathy, and be others-focused. Listen to understand. Practice being the last to speak. And at the very least, just be nice. You don’t know how many straws your colleagues may already be counting.

Wishing you a Happy Hump-Day!

At The Latimer Group, our individual Coaching services are highly customized and designed to help you achieve your specific goals. Typical engagements focus on developing skill sets in Leadership Communications, Public Speaking, and Executive-Level Business Presentations. To learn more, e-mail us at


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Brett Slater

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.