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.
Self-Portrait as Aerialist
I’ve always been afraid to fall—the rough embrace of the net, the crowd’s shocked gasp, my mother’s disapproval. She loves me best when I can fly, when I trust the bar, the leap, the air and all my training. From far away, every catch, release and tumble looks as effortless as breath. Up close, we grunt and cry, hands sweat and slip, wires creak and nearly tangle. I’d rather be the girl the magician disappears, the lovely target spinning for the knives, assistant who holds the hoops the cats jump through—anything to avoid the long climb and quick launch into space where only light will catch me every time. Every landing comes as a relief, the platform trembling beneath my feet, ache in my chest easing. If I crash into the net I have to wave and smile, pretend it doesn’t hurt to fall so far.