About the Poem
This poem was a bitter cry to the corporate world on "downsizing" and the changing world of employment.
It was a way of working through the devastating feelings and questions that a dedicated employee is faced with.
When the rumors begin to fly, and the corporate secrecy begins to take it's toll on the lives of those in the midst of chaos and uncertainty, all the employees wanted ... were some honest answers.
Just One In 10,000
|by Kit McCallum|
|ONE IN 10,000 ... nameless, faceless numbers
That run through an endless list of castaways.
There was a time when initiative and dedication meant something;
Not only to the employee ... but to the employer.
"Come join our team", they said;
"Here is security ... here you will find a home";
"A place where you can give your all,
And get something in return".
Beyond paychecks, beyond pensions,
Beyond benefits and corporate policy,
... There was pride.
Pride in a job well done;
Pride in the knowledge that we gave our all.
We did all that you asked;
We gave ... and gave ... and gave...
And still you asked for more.
We gave again unconditionally;
Our time; our knowledge and our skills.
We promoted the company we cared for when
The competition arrived;
We were proud in our knowledge that we made a difference;
... A better team, a better product, a better way.
We convinced our families, our friends and ourselves ...
That "this company" was different;
That "this company" was special;
That "this company" cared...
What we did not realize is that "this company" cared indeed,
... About the bottom line.
What of your clients; their want for distinct service?
What of your employees; the very heart of your profits?
What say you now ... to the rumors, the innuendoes, and
The never-ending stream of uncertainty that we constantly hear?
Do you think that this goes unnoticed?
Do you think that we are unintelligent and
Do not see the forest for the trees?
We are the people who have created your profits;
We are the workers who cared ... who gave their all;
Who made this company what it is today.
Your choices are many, for you are a corporate giant;
Our choices are few, for we are merely employees.
Are we so insignificant that we can be cast aside
At the wave of the White Tower wand?
... I think not.
We are the heart; the meat; the bottom line of your profits;
... Do you care?
I ask the shareholders;
... Do YOU care?
What will you do when anonymous, uncaring contractors
Replace those who have dedicated their lives to you?
What will you do when the phones start ringing with
Client complaints and dissatisfaction over poor service?
I ask you ... What say you then?
This company always had the edge ... regardless of competition;
This company was about service
About pride; about commitment.
That was your edge ...
The one area the competition could never rival;
Service and commitment from
Caring and devoted employees.
Who dealt with your day to day tasks?
Who kept you on top; kept your clients satisfied?
Who made you what you are?
Do not forget where you were born;
... We have paid for your salaries and created your profits.
As you sit quietly behind large desks, with uncaring pens
And make the first cut ... the second cut ... the third cut ...
I ask you ... "Who came up with these plans?"
"Where did these decisions come from?"
"What were you thinking?"
Who will be left to keep this company afloat
With dedication, pride and commitment, while they watch
Experienced co-workers fall by the wayside
With each swing of the axe?
Will contractors fill these shoes?
Will sister companies step in to shadow the process?
Is there room for us in these secretive, lofty plans?
You may ask us ...
"What do we want?"
"What is the point of this outcry?"
We ask for honesty ... for we have integrity;
We ask for forthrightness ... for we have families to provide for;
We ask for straightforwardness ... for we have decisions to make.
These are life-long, career-altering decisions;
And yet you ask us to make them based on
Uncertainty, apprehension and lack of foreknowledge.
We ask that you acknowledge this fact;
And then ... as you struggle to explain your plans further
While we lay in limbo and uncertainty
Over the next month; the next year; the next decade ...
Do not toy with us ... for we are not children;
Do not placate us ... for we have dignity;
Do not pity us ... for we have pride.
And do not take us for granted ... for we have been your
Bottom line profits and deserve respect.
For in the future ... when all the dust settles;
We, as individuals ... WILL survive;
But again, I ask you;
Unless you take a good hard look NOW ...
... Will "this company" survive?