December 27, 2009 Leave a comment
Back in June, when I was writing a blog for Harvard Business, I was thinking a lot about folks (including my former colleagues) who were waiting to hear whether they’d “get the axe” at work. Eight months earlier, I had quit my full-time job to pursue some long-neglected passions, but most people I knew were still plugging away in full-time positions that they needed to keep. For some of them, the almost-certain prospect of layoffs had been looming for what seemed like an eternity. So I submitted a blog post that attempted to give a voice to people forced to play this all-too-familiar waiting game.
The post was a little unconventional because, well, it featured an original poem of mine. I do write a fair amount of poetry, but this was something of a parody of my own style, even though I thought it kind of fit the bill. Not surprisingly, my editor didn’t go for it, as it was off-brand for the website. Not to mention that Harvard Business was gearing up to announce its own layoffs as June (and the end of the fiscal year) wound down, and the timing would have been a bit too perfect.
Now, with the calendar year winding down and some people (perhaps not as many) still awaiting news about layoffs, I offer up that odd little poem from June. It is what it is. Happy new year.
Lay Me Off
As the end of your fiscal year
approaches, your hands are nearing
my neck, your knife in reach
of my knees. Because I cannot walk
on my own, I am stiff
for the sound of your severance —
crisp for the snap
of executive fingers. A clean break
will not crack me — my skull
has already quit this corporation.
Let me go now, I urge you. But please
do not thank me for my labor, give lip
to my service. Platitudes fall
flatter than a pink slip,
slice rougher than any across-the-board
decision. You have slowly taken
my years, but — please —
lay off my ears.