by Kyle SUNDBY

If we watched him, as our section manager announced the results of the company wide survey, we would have seen that slight shake, side to side, of his head. An undeserved gesture, that’s what it was. We would have seen his display of disgust and disdain for his fellow worker, if we were looking his way.

Of course we weren’t. Of course we were watching the section manager. It was the quarterly all-employee meeting and our attention was necessary.

Earlier, taking the survey was not required. But just over 50 percent of us took it anyway. That’s what the section manager revealed. Because we were paying attention at the meeting we found that we had, more so than not, filled out that survey. Finding out made it fine that we did not see him shaking his head so.

The section manager let us know that 85 percent of us felt that we were working at a pace and level above what was required to simply earn a paycheck. We were concerned about the welfare of our company. Next it was announced that only 23 percent believed that our coworkers put in that same high effort.

We didn’t need to look to hear him scoff. But we did because that’s what we do when we hear an unexpected sound. That’s when we noticed his head was shaking—probably had been in motion since well before the scoff. Maybe the scoff had been the result of the constant motion of his head. A release of the energy stored from the ratcheting process of moving left to right, right to left. Maybe he scoffed at the reported results of the survey.

We didn’t really care. Actually, it annoyed us to some degree. He was most likely one of us workers who didn’t really care about the company. We were about 77 percent sure of that. What right did he have to scoff?

Our attention turned back to the section manager. We wanted to hear what else we had to say in the survey. The section manager resumed where he had left off, if he had ever left. We learned that for the most part we did not believe our hard work would provide any opportunity for pay raises or promotions. We learned that we had little faith in our company’s loyalty toward us We learned that we felt we would go the extra yard even though our company and our peers would not. We learned that the survey we took revealed what we already believed—we worked hard while those among us hardly worked.

We looked around the cafeteria to examine our faces. The cafeteria is where all our all-employee meetings occur. We were disgusted with some of us. We occasionally shook our heads, side to side. We may have produced sounds.

They resembled scoffs. Deservedly so.

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