We noticed participation has decreased, though whether due to layoffs or malaise we can’t be sure. While the survey is anonymous, if you filled the comment boxes with These questions suck or Stop wasting my time, we probably know who you are, especially if you mentioned your division, duties and job description, and even more so if you signed your name. We’re sorry you’re suffering, but we doubt work caused your divorce. We’re also dismayed by demands for better leadership. While you’re welcome to select Somewhat or Not at all in response to Do you find management effective?, we’d like you to imagine how that makes us feel. Perhaps it was insensitive to ask which of your coworkers are seeking other jobs, but we really need an estimate. If you left that question blank, it’s not too late to pass some names along. The news isn’t all bad. Even with increased co-pays and deductibles, our health plan is a hit, especially for those with anxiety, depression and insomnia. Although we can’t eliminate long waits when contacting HR, you can now turn off the music while on hold. Widespread raises are impossible, but we’ve found funds for better toilet paper, ice cream once a month. In the coming weeks, a new task force will form to brainstorm future questionnaires as well as cost-effective ways to ease— if not eradicate—your pain. (Though we’re aware of some survey fatigue, this instrument was too expensive not to use.) The next window for feedback opens soon. We’ll keep asking what you think until your answers change.
Not because of the hours or the pay, which could be worse. Not because of my commute into this office park, or that no one else appreciates that phrase as much as I do. Not the dim unholy hum of energy-efficient lights, recycled air with hints of garlic and scorched wool, the break room fridge with its mysterious stains, open bottle of rosé no one will drink or claim. Not the thousand bloodless paper cuts, copier that jams in high humidity, the legion e-mails labeled Urgent, their emoticons and useless FYIs. Not the spreadsheets and reports that are assigned, written, revised and never spoken of. Not the tedium of meetings at which nothing is discussed, managers who barely learned my name before they disappeared. Not because of everything that doesn’t function—water fountains, window blinds, the entire marketing department. Not even because of office politics, the gossip and jockeying, spats over power we don’t have. Because the work I love is what I spend the least time doing. Because I jerk awake at 4:00 am, my fists already clenched, have stopped feeling concern for coworkers upset by bad reviews, sick pets or family cancer. Because every shift in policy makes my life slightly worse, and I can’t find the line between caring too much and total apathy. Because ever since I started here I’ve been assured things will improve, but I’m afraid that staying means becoming bitter and entrenched, unhappy but unable to move on.