Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Company that Cried Wolf

There once was a company filled with bosses who took pleasure in making their employees work hard on meaningless documents and tasks that were never really needed. To amuse themselves they would often shout, "Emergency! Work weekends! We have to have this done ASAP! Cancel your vacations! Cancel Christmas! This work needs to get done or we will lose a major client!"

Everyone would jump to attention and do everything they could to help the bosses get the information and documents they needed. But every time people would work late, skip family events, miss holidays and eat out of the vending machine just to get the job done, they found no one actually paid attention to their hard work. The bosses just did not notice or care about how angry the employees were at the emergency just being a false alarm.

"Don't cry 'Emergency'," thought the employees, "when you ignore our work anyway!" They went grumbling back to their cubes feeling very low.

Later, the bosses sang out again, "Emergency! Work Weekends! Our biggest client wants to see these numbers in charts and graphs ASAP!” To their delight, the leaders watched the employees run around to get the work done in an impossible amount of time.

When the employees again saw no signs of their hard work being rewarded or even used, they discussed their anger among themselves, "Save your frightened song for when there is really something wrong! Don't cry 'Emergency' when there is NO Emergency!"

But the bosses just grinned and watched them go back to their cubes not realizing they were looking for new jobs during their lunch breaks.

Later, the leaders realized they had a REAL emergency. Alarmed, they dialed their phones screaming “Emergency! Work weekends! We need this done or we are going to lose a major client! Help!”

But most of the employees had already left the company, and those employees who remained thought the leaders were trying to fool them again with meaningless work that did not align to any long term plans, and so they didn't jump to get the work done.

The next week, everyone wondered why one boss was no longer in the company address book. They went to look for the leader and found him at the local bar crying in a beer.

"There really was an emergency! We lost our biggest client and I lost my job! When I cried out "Emergency,” why didn't you get me everything I needed?"

One employee tried to comfort the leader, ordering another beer handing the ex-boss a copy of the help wanted ads.

"We'll help you look for new job," she said, putting her arm around the jobless ex-boss, “but you need to learn that nobody believes when you shout emergency anymore...even when there is an emergency, you lied so much no one believes you are ever telling the truth.”


husband said...

What a wonderful and thinly veiled allegory... :-)

Brian & Becca Davis said...

I liked the Seussian prose myself.