As Chief Executive, I am writing to all of
you who work for our organisation to clarify some
misunderstandings that may have taken place due to language
differences between management and staff.
Many of you will know of the historic
voyage the Beagle which took Charles Darwin to the Galapagos
Islands. There he discovered that species separated from their
ancestors could evolve into totally new forms. A similar
phenomenon has occurred in respect of use of English by your
managers which, isolated from the discourse of the everyday
world, has transformed the meanings of many words beyond that
which can be inferred by metaphor.
In earlier times it was possible for the
more literate among you to deduce that terms such as downsizing
meant job losses and rationalisation
meant closing whole offices. Even the least able
understood that restructuring meant poorly
thought-through chaos and that full staff
consultation was the lecture which took place after restructuring.
Now, however, our managers vocabularies have diverged from
common usage in such a relatively short period, and to such an
extent, that it has become apparent their utterances may convey
virtually no meaning at all.
The seriousness of this became very
apparent earlier this year when many of you were told that you
would have huge pay rises, work less hours, have longer holidays
and a job for life. To those few of us who are bilingual in
Standard English and Management Speak this would have alerted us
to the dire condition of the company and the need to become
conversant with the state welfare benefits system. Indeed many
managers were perplexed at the joy with which their doom-laden
message was received. At least, however, most of you believed you
had understood the message, albeit incorrectly.
The subsequent even more rapid evolution of
managerial language, however, has led to a widening gulf between
management and employee comprehension which has staggered even
those of us in the boardroom.
It is now clear that last weeks
urgent announcement that qwetys hywtrgs f hjdho juy kwhhlkk
juegtgsk o kl poysfkal hartstldoyrethsnj losistyhjd ll ja, was
incomprehensible to anyone below senior management level, and
consequently junior staff made no attempt to evacuate the
building until they actually saw the smoke and flames and heard
the sirens of the fire engines.
As I mentioned above, I am one of the few
people who can communicate in both Standard English and
Management Speak and am, sadly, the only one with such skills in
this company. In addition, I have to announce that I will be
retiring in the very near future. This will leave the
organisation in a situation where management and staff will have
no common basis on which to exchange information beyond
rudimentary sign-language or drawing simple images on paper. I
regret therefore that I have informed management that tyuj mys
gahajajk gstheyoau gshy jjuy and I must also inform you all, with
regret, that this business will be closing.