Don’t Quote Me: Hiring A Dog? Don’t Bark.

Sound familiar?

Don’t hire a dog, then bark yourself.

David Ogilvy

Wait, you’ve never hired a dog?

Okay, maybe dog hiring isn’t really the rage anymore…but I bet you’ve asked your teenager to pack their own lunchbox or convinced your co-worker to take the lead on an important project or asked your husband to book plane tickets for spring break.

I love the idea of delegating, but often have a hard time letting go of a sense of control. For instance, I’ll ask my husband to handle switching insurance companies but then check in every few days to get an update: what are the rates, which brokers have you tried, do we have all the temporary paperwork we need, and so forth. Basically, I’ve hired a “dog” (my husband) but I’m still barking.

Sometimes the answer is to not hire a dog at all, and keep right on barking myself. If I can’t fully relinquish control of a task, why bother delegating? I’ll both aggravate the “dog” and add a layer of complexity to the job itself. If it’s important enough to me, I should just do it myself.

But other times, I need to delegate and let go…

Yesterday, after a busy day of work and errands, we capped off the hot afternoon by floating in a friend’s pool. Fun, but then home to a pile of wet towels and bathing suits I didn’t have the energy to deal with.

Then I remembered: over a decade ago I birthed a child that is now perfectly capable of handling this job! Every item ended up askew in ways that defied the basic laws of Physics, but it was done. I didn’t correct or make suggestions (though I may have cringed slightly on the inside). The clothes ended up being perfectly dry after several hours on the line (bonus points: I had her get the clothes off the line, too). And yes, there was huffing from my pint-sized helper. But, from my end, absolutely no barking.

My little porpoise.
My water baby, turned forced-labour laundry guru. Also, cutest watermelon bathing suit, ever.

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