Monday, December 18, 2006
Monday, December 18, 2006
Fear is the real killer
A comment made by new KSL president David E. Whitaker shows that he does not understand what people are feeling - and fearing.
When he said, "We are not obliged to publicly disclose anything," he shows such a lack of understanding that it is amazing that he could hold such an important job.
Yes, he is technically right; KSL is a private company and they are under no obligation to share anything with anybody.
But that is the same kind of arrogance that brought Enron down, as well as many other companies throughout history. When those who work for you really don't matter, then you are in trouble.
How can those at the lab not be concerned with this? How can they not know the fear that is gripping people here who are wondering whom the ax will fall on next?
When people are living - or working - in fear they are not at their best. And right now there is a lot of fear, and few reassurances being given.
Of course, Whitaker said he has been through similar experiences as an employee and knows what the KSL people are going through. He said he loves his employees and won't discuss any particulars out of respect for them.
That is double-speak. The questions he was asked were not ones that would endanger a company; they were basic: How many employees do you have? How many have been let go? How many more do you expect to layoff?
But his response was only this is none of our business. And while he may be technically correct, he is also wrong - as are those at the lab who allow this. What happens at Los Alamos National Laboratory affects each and every one of us - whether we work directly, indirectly or not for them at all.
Those in authority there should not be allowed to say it is none of our business. Sen. Domenici and Rep. Udall should be at the front of this demanding answers and working to lessen the fear that is running around here.
But fear, lack of knowledge and rumors are all we have as concerns about escalating job cuts run rampant.
We understand the need to make a profit, to live within one's means and to make the bottom line. But we also understand that people who work for KSL, the lab and others, deserve better than to live in the fear they are in now.
1. Random drug testing will be used to frame malcontents.
2. The employee handbook will not be published so employees will not have anything in writing describing their benefits other than "substantially equivalent."
3. Sadam Hussein's and Peter Nano's management style of "shared fate" (punishment of the innocent many for the crimes of the guilty few) will continue at LANS.
4. Employee suggestions to solve the budget problem by atrition will be welcomed. Additional punitive measures to get people to resign are urgently needed.
5. LANS managers will receive corporate-provided de-luxe SAABs for the grueling commute to Santa Fe.