Employer of the Year

We use task as a verb, and learn as a noun,

we encourage the turning of frowns upside-down

and, to improve your relationship-building technique,

we’re constantly policing the way that you speak.


We’ve read every book going about NLP,

but we’re not sure quite how you spell Psychology...

Does that worry us? Heck no! That’s small stuff! Don’t sweat it!

It takes guts to believe what researchers discredit!


We’re proud that we’ve got an above-average team

(but don’t ask if that’s median, modal, or mean):

above-average girls and above-average guys,

above-average straights, homosexuals and bis,


above-average blacks and above-average Asians

– though it has to be said that we’re mostly Caucasian,

but we’d love some more gays! And...what’s that you say? Cis?

No...I’m sorry...I’m not really sure what that is...


Look: I object to you telling me we’re not diverse!

There’s a box on the survey! We went on a course!

I fail to imagine what more we could do.

We bend over backwards for people like you!


What do you mean? How can that be offensive?

That wasn’t the sense in which bend was intended!

Privilege? What? Just because I’m Team Leader?

You don’t understand what I went through to be here:


I learned how to swagger, but looked to the meek

and, with perfect due diligence, week after week,

with targeted meetings and structured support,

I reached out to the fragile, and bade them to walk


right back to the dole queue. See, they wouldn’t mix:

wouldn’t go out with us. Wouldn’t get pissed!

Kept saying some crap about ‘not feeling safe’!

As if! I mean, come on! You feel safe, yeah, mate?


Exactly! We’re Number One! We’ve won awards!

(‘cause we watch who comes in – and goes out – of those doors)

So sit with me, bud, and I’ll teach you the words:

‘cause, see, learn is a noun here, and task is a verb...

◄ What are you afraid to say?

Collude 2 Exclude ►


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Adam Fish

Mon 29th Nov 2010 20:00

Chris - very perceptive comments! The piece was actually inspired by a survey at a place where I worked - they tacked on one of those 'diversity' questionnaires on the end so they could show how tolerant they were of staff who weren't heterosexual, cisgender, caucasian or able-bodied, and in the 'sexual orientation' section it asked staff if they were 'straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual OR transgender'! Being as how trans isn't a sexual orientation but a gender identity - and given that trans ppl can be gay, straight, bi or anything else on the sexual spectrum I found this a bit puzzling. It was ALMOST as if they knew they needed to include trans folk somewhere to tick a box, but couldn't be bothered to do any research and educate themselves about trans people...no, I'm *sure* it couldn't be. That's just me being a humourless politically correct harridan... ;)

Janet - thanks for your comments. It's always interesting to see what a poem touches off in people. As to when I perform it I tend to perform it in the voice of the management character who narrates it...I find satire gains an extra edge if you ventriloquize the person or type of person you're satirising.

Janet Ramsden

Mon 29th Nov 2010 17:04

I really enjoyed reading this.
There may well be something i missed but in part, the essence of my own thoughts and feelings are very much well interpreted here but not with consideration to my employers. It made me smile in several parts because i consider myself to be broad minded.

I'd love to hear this as well as read it. Would be interesting to discover if you would deliver it as a rant or allow the listeners to really hear the words full on and in deliberated fashion :-)

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Chris Co

Mon 29th Nov 2010 15:21

Irony and sarcasm unleashed on fitting targets- freedom of expression indeed.

I don't think the poem needs to be specific at all. As it stands it appeals to people because of certain truisms that are found across the board in many workplaces.

It is always good to expose what is hidden under the rocks of semantics, PR spin and political correctness.

In moving forward on all fronts on equality, we have in effect ended up with the same dreaded people and ideas...now just dressed up in layer of lackered language.

The BNP outwardly say things so as to not sound racist. At the same time we have people who would mock the disabled, those with differing sexual orientations...but now again it is hidden in new clothes.

They don't say the same things anymore- that would catch them out. They just think the same way.

And we measure everything and the statistics...nothing is so fallacious as facts..apart from figures.

We can make them sit up and beg just by altering the variables or language.

And in the land of corporate and govermental political speak;

we meet our policy on equality and the facade is barely cracking LOL

Good writing.

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Adam Fish

Mon 29th Nov 2010 09:36

NOTE: This is not a poem about working at any particular workplace, but a poem about the problems facing ALL marginalised people at work in the kyriarchal society of late capitalism. Anyone reading will note that I have not, anywhere in the poem, named any specific employers. I am quite happy to leave it this way. Attempts at censorship may change my mind on this point. Free expression is not a crime.

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