PART ONE - To tell or not to tell
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
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
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 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
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.
Your comments about this
story. Subject: Whistleblower
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Copyright ©1998 James Kraemer. Click on this
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