I am no longer an employee of Acme Tool Company. I thought about re-titling this blog, but I have decided not to do so. It has always been important to this blog to keep myself and the company relatively anonymous – not safe from any true sleuthing, no, but at least not visible on the most straightforward searches.
An ally and friend at Acme almost blew my cover–well, post-humously, I suppose, but the point is that if I want to share what I am doing I can’t very well keep it secret at the same time. Also, nobody is going to find The Career of Chickenman and thank me for having written it. This hasn’t been helpful writing, other than helping me communicate with people who already know me. I have another place for personal writing, and I am thinking I will resurrect my professional commentary publically. It would have to be a more positive account, and thus to some extent less candid, but if you know me, you can find my candid thoughts elsewhere.
This is the time for me to make sweeping statements about Acme and take a few cheap shots. I have a limited repertoire of experiences, so the comparison I will make is not completely appropriate; but if you will allow for the obvious differences, working for Acme after the closure announcement was like living withy my dying grandfather. Everyone generally behaved well, though we all knew how it would end, and when it was over I was both glad to be done with it and glad to have gone through it.
My own personal development is a gradually broadening river, but I will always associate the closure of the tool factory with a shift in my tendency to regard people as resources. How necessary are they? Who are they connected to? How do they react to me? How effective are they? It was during the closure that I began to discuss with my manager the effectiveness of other people in their roles and in the overall organization. When this seed is full grown you become a manager, with the diabolical reputation of treating everyone like business and nobody like a person.
The other side of the Manager’s Wall is the Good Ol’ Boy’s Club. That is, the manager type usually does have friends, but there is an entire class of people that don’t qualify. The difference is that one group of people have learned to treat bad things like a plant closure as neutral fact, the way a surgeon might the amputation of a limb; while the other set regards the same thing as an outrage and an offense. There is a fine line in there somewhere, between dehumanizing the human and making a useful concession to a necessary fact. Once we accept all evil as necessary we are lost; but when we try to own the overthrow of every evil we are equally lost, and have the inconsquential distinction of falling off of the other side of the bridge.
I am glad to have left Acme; the nurses were too few and the patients were too many. But I begrudge neither the nurses nor the patients. Some of them could be objectionable in their time, but the real problems were higher up than I could ever go. Many of the problems were also further in the past than I had ever touched. One of the tragedies of our existence is that we do live with the sins of our fathers; not that we do not add so many of our own, and more for our progeny, but often the problems we live with cannot be solved in terms of what we control. Sometimes the mistake is in the past. Sometimes it is too late to speak of restoring balance and you must speak of seeking grace.
Corporations do not hire penitents, so the day of reckoning is an awful thing when it comes.