Saturday, July 18, 2009

Letters I'd Like to Receive

As someone who spends a lot of my time - too much time, some would say - stringing words together in interesting and (hopefully) entertaining ways, there are some combinations of words I never seem to see. Here are a few of those combinations in the form of emails or letters that would really appeal to me:

1- "Dear Mr. Leverone,
After reviewing the submission of your full manuscript titled [The Fixer/Paskagankee/Final Vector/Hard Target - any of them would be fine, I'm not that fussy], we here at [take your pick of any reputable literary agency, I've queried most of them and as we've already established, I'm not that fussy] are pleased to offer representation to you. We believe strongly that your work offers nearly unlimited sales potential, and look forward to working closely with you..."

2 - "Dear Mr. Leverone,
We here at the IRS have completed an exhaustive review of our internal record-keeping procedures, and have determined that you have consistently overpaid your income taxes by several thousand dollars per year over the last twenty years. After adding interest and the penalties we are charging ourselves for not catching our record-keeping error, we have determined that we owe you $500,000. We have included a check for the appropriate amount and will be in touch if we discover you are owed more..."

3 - "Dear Mr. Leverone,
As a high-ranking member of FAA management here in Washington, I would like to personally apologize to you and all air traffic controllers in the FAA for our shabby treatment of you over the last three to five years. The way we handled the contract 'negotiations' three years ago - refusing to give in at all on any issue and then imposing the highly restrictive and unfair work rules which we laughingly insisted on calling a 'contract' when we walked away from the table - was insulting and juvenile on our part.

The way we bullied a group of hard-working professionals over the most ridiculous issues (forcing people who work inside a dark room surrounded by barbed-wire fences and protected by armed guards to dress in 'business casual' clothing, refusing to allow controllers to leave their facilities during the work day even to get food or coffee, arbitrarily changing the pay structure and rules on training and time off) was short-sighted and wrong.

We adopted the mantra of 'Run It Like a Business,' even though most of our managers have little to no business training or experience and couldn't be trusted to manage a lemonade stand. Plus, as we all know, air traffic control is not a business but a service enterprise in which safety should be valued above all else, including cost-cutting and bullying employees.

We have learned our lesson and hereby pledge to end the autocratic management style we have employed for the last half-century or so. We will work in a cooperative manner to accomplish the changes this agency so sorely needs to make..."

These are just a few of the emails or letters I would love to receive. Of course, I'm not exactly holding my breath, but you never know, right?

No comments: