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PART ONE - To tell or not to tellFishing

By James Kraemer

You like your job, you like your employer, you like your fellow employees and you like your community. You love your spouse and your family dearly and all appears well with your chosen career. Than it happens. You discover something at work so bad, so unsafe or so corrupt you're forced to make a decision:

To tell or not to tell.

In this story you're an extraordinary employee and you're working for an extraordinary employer. You know you work for a extraordinary employer because you've read several of your employer's various brochures and listened to executive speeches about your employer's commitment to you, your fellow employees and to the community. You've watched your employer's great television commercials, read impressive newspaper articles concerning your employer and proudly wear your employer's logo. You're an extraordinary employee and your employer says you've got the right stuff!

One day you discover a serious employee or community safety issue or other corruption. Your fellow employees don't seem overly concerned about the same issue, at least not enough to confront it. You decide not to make waves but the issue continues to make waves with you, your common sense, your decency and your honor. Why is that? Why does it continue to bother you and not appear to bother your fellow employees? Your fellow employees are great people too, their intelligent, some perhaps more intelligent than you. Is the issue really that big a deal?

You decide to go fishing. You discover a few have quit over this same issue. Why did they quit rather than confront? Do they understand something you don't about the issue? Your fellow employees continue to work comfortably around the same issue you have a problem with. Maybe you and not the issue is the actual problem.

You continue fishing and realize, after fishing for some time, even the best employers sometimes get a little laxed with safety, become too comfortable with the status quo or make unintentional mistakes. That's what it is ... the issue is just a mistake.

You conclude your employer's executive management just doesn't know the extent of the issue. How can they when so few bring it up and others quit before giving the employer a chance to help solve the issue. Time is money and what employer wants to waste valuable time working with quitters? You decide that's what it is. You decide your employer will take immediate action to permanently correct the problem and perhaps thank you for having brought the issue to their attention. You decide the common sense, decent and honorable thing to do is report the unsafe or otherwise corrupt issue to your employer.

You send a letter to your employer's president or bring the issue up during an important meeting. What happens next doesn't really surprise you. The president calls in the management people responsible for the area in question. The managers openly admit to the unsafe or corrupt issue and explain they haven't been able to solve it. One manager offers to resign, it's accepted and that person quietly leaves the meeting. There's silence for a moment, then as though a light comes on, the remaining mangers look at you. The president speaks, "Will you help us solve this problem?" offers you a higher position, a healthy salary increase, any needed training, additional education and a company car. You're given the remainder of the day off so you and your wife can go pick out your new car.

When you arrive home The Mrs. is ecstatic and repeatedly tells you how proud she is to be the wife of such a wonderful and caring man. You realize a quick phone call was made to your wife. You respond, "It wasn't anything. Let's go pick out our new car." She replies, "I'd love too, but we must be back by five. Mom's meeting me for so&so reason."

You pick out your new car, sign your employer's purchase order and drive away. You stop at the store, pick-up a few fancy snacks and return home just before five. Your wife starts to unlock the front door but drops the keys. You, always a gentleman, pick up the keys and finish unlocking the front door. Just as you enter into your home, you hear,


You're suddenly surrounded by many of your fellow employees, several of your neighbors, some of your relatives and a few good people you haven't met just yet. The president drops by with a case of rare imported wine and again congratulates your willingness to stand up for what's right. A picture is taken of you and the president shaking hands. The president quietly mentions to you he's fully disclosing the details to the press and giving you full credit for solving the problem, then gracefully leaves the celebration.

The gathering continues focused on you and your excellent achievement, what kind of car you chose, what your thoughts are concerning your new position, even a few questions about a possible future in politics. You're embarrassed about all this sudden notoriety but soon get over it. You are an extraordinary employee and you're working for an extraordinary employer.

Eventually the party concludes, the last person departs, but you and your wife are not ready to call it an evening just yet. Too much has happened that day. You're both just too keyed up. You and your lady decide to drive up the hill to your special place: The place where you purposed marriage many years ago.

At your special place the two of you look over the city and gaze at stars high above. There's some reminiscing, then she turns toward you, looks you in the eye and says; "You, my handsome prince, I'm so glad you married me. My Hero ... I love you." Then gives you a kiss greater than perhaps any kiss previous to that moment.

You have arrived!

Safe Schools Note: Be certain to read Whistleblower, Part Two, before making the decision too blow the whistle to or on your extraordinary employer.

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Copyright 1998 James Kraemer. Click on this Copyright
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