If you would like to increase the happiness in your life, get a tube of toothpaste. Or of strawberry jam, haemorrhoid cream, or any other semi-solid commodity. The actual contents are not important – it is the delivery system.
Take the top off and squeeze a little – and a little useful product comes out. Whether you spread it on your teeth, toast, or tush is up to you, but observe that after you squeeze, the tube gets a little smaller and a little wrinkled. Continue squeezing and eventually it is all out.
And at this point the company that sold you that tube is not required under any law of the universe to refill it at their expense. You go buy another tube.
So it is with employers, acquaintances, friends, and relations. They can squeeze you like that tube – and out comes money, work, possessions, attention, praise, and any other useful thing that you might contain. And just like the toothpaste tube, one day they will squish the last drop of whatever out of you.
And you’re not required by law to instantly refill yourself for them.
If you’re a wise toothpaste tube you’ll have noticed what was going on long before this point – and you might decide that you don’t want to be flat and empty. That’s the time to clog your nozzle. Then you can preserve some of your self-esteem for yourself. And the user can go out looking for another toothpaste tube.
And at that point you are entitled to insist that they put the cap back on.