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Don’t Ask For Opinions If You Don’t Actually Want Them

, , , , , , | Working | October 21, 2021

We have been asked to make a presentation of our department to share with the other factories in other countries. It’s going to be written in the company magazine and translated into different languages. Some people are pretty excited.

I get lumbered with the editing and presenting of employee comments that will make up the majority of the prevention. Even worse, rather than picking the ones that will be chosen for the magazine, my boss wants me to rewrite all of them before he chooses.

I submit the first dozen or so.

Boss: “These are terrible. Half of them don’t make sense.”

Me: “I have corrected the spelling and grammar errors, but I kept to the original intent of the comments.”

Boss: “No, no, no. We can’t have other sites thinking we are all idiots. Can we ask them to write them again?”

Me: “I doubt it. Even then, what would we say? These aren’t professional writers; they are normal people sharing their opinions.”

Boss: “Well, you will need to jazz it up a bit. Send some more over.”

I rewrite the next ones and then rewrite them a little more. I use better descriptions and more complex language.

Boss: “I can see where you’re going, but you’re not quite getting it. Let me show you.”

He takes the next comment and rewrites the first half. He adds a sentence on the back and then deletes the original second half.

Me: “You’ve just replaced that with your own words. That doesn’t even look like the original.”

Boss: “I know, but look how much better it is!”

Me: “You don’t think people will be annoyed when they see what you’ve done?”

Boss: “Well, make some names up! Do I have to think of everything?”

So, we had fake employee opinions with fake names, all in aid of helping employees get their voices heard and promoting “open” communication. My complaints were ignored and the comments were published. People were angry. When they sent the request around again a year or so later, the comments were very different — one or two even got published.

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