Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Two of My Employees Quit

     Two employees walked away from a good job with benefits because they didn't want to be in a group photo for the office website.
     The request to pose for a photo is not unorthodox:  almost every medical clinic has a website, and photos of the staff are de rigeur.  After all, patients may say they come to see "the doctor," but in fact they rely on an entire team of people, all of whom make the experience meaningful, all of whom are essential for healing.
     Furthermore, I don't think I'm a tyrant.  I asked these two employees, privately, why they wouldn't stand--not even at the back of the assemblage--for the photo.
     "I just don't want to," one answered.  The other was silent.  I repeated the question.
     Then, both were silent.  They shuffled items at their work stations
     "Is it something personal?"  Maybe they were feeling unattractive.  Maybe, as one blog commentator suggested, they were being pursued by menacing stalkers--and didn't want to advertise their whereabouts.  I would be sympathetic to such a scenario.  Many women are victims of domestic violence, and when they gather up courage to escape, their lives depend on anonymity.
     But no explanation at all?  I felt a sense of betrayal.  Given the FBI's beleaguerment of my business and the recent spate of new interviews with people associated with me, I had to assume that fear was the operating factor in their refusal--so why not say so, why not talk about it?
     Sometimes government intimidation takes the form of craftily worded threats:  If you don't tell us, we'll--what?  What can the government do?  A lot, I guess.  If you keep working at Colasante's clinic as a sentinel, and if you collect data for us, you'll get--what?  What can the government give?  Rewards?  Bonuses? For subterfuge?  Not a bad idea, especially if you're desperate.
     The atmosphere is thick with suspicion and fear--perhaps my employees want to bolt.  I don't blame them,  but it's not an option for me.  I keep reminding myself that I haven't done anything wrong.  I don't want to be cowed by what psychologists call la participation mystique,  the herd mentality.  When an epidemic of terror infiltrates the atmosphere, it infects everyone, like a terrible virus.  The ones who succumb get ill and drop off, like sensitive birds.
     I mourn them--the loss of these two employees is not insignificant. But I need to look after myself, and the rest of the flock.  There is so much doubt around me that I must take care not to doubt myself, which would be the ultimate betrayal.

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