Appropriate Channels

Appropriate Channels

It has come to our attention that
Some of you have been commenting
On working conditions
And other matters best left private
On social media and other channels
Clearly inappropriate

We would like to remind you all
That we care deeply
About our staff and our students
And in no way do we wish to silence criticism
But please make use of the
Appropriate Channels

The Appropriate Channel is tears cried at home
And not in the workplace
Please refrain from crying at your desk
As it might lower the productivity of your colleagues

If crying in the workplace should be unavoidable
Please make sure you do so discreetly
We recommend the restrooms (please make use of a stall)
Or the photocopy room
Please refrain from crying in an open-plan office
Unless you are confident in your ability to weep silently
Please be sensitive to the fact
That crying is not part of your job description
And therefore excessive crying in the workplace
May be considered A Waste Of Company Time.

The Appropriate Channel is to package your grief
To divide it into parcels of a size
Suitable for swift processing
Please do not deliver your grief
In portions unsuitable
For handling

The Appropriate Channel is to manage your anger
Please be aware that an inappropriate amount of anger
Will make it harder
For us to take you seriously
Any strong show of emotion
May cause discomfort to others and
Will therefore make the channel you are using
Inappropriate

Make sure that you do not confuse
The fact that you are feeling hurt
With the idea that someone hurt you
Please be careful about making accusations
Especially heedless ones

Please be aware that Serious Accusations
Are taken extremely seriously by the university
But do be aware
Before making a Serious Accusation
Of the Serious Consequences of your actions

A Serious Accusation might end
A Good Man’s career
Or cause significant inconvenience
And a damage to his reputation
And it may take him months to recover

Surely you must understand
That being subject
To a Serious Accusation
Can be traumatic
Do take into account how much pain
You
Would cause by making a Serious Accusation

The Appropriate Channel is to decide whose comfort counts most
The Appropriate Channel is to measure whose pain counts most
The Appropriate Channel is a broken heart

The Appropriate Channel is a paper trail for your broken heart
Please make sure you have ticked the right boxes
On the appropriate form
And you have filled your broken heart
Into the right section of page 16
In a hundred words or less
Please have the form signed by your line-manager
Before you submit it

For the sake of being appropriate
Please refrain from using inappropriate language
And offensive terms
Like White People
Or cis-gender
We are highly committed to equality and diversity
So please be sensitive to your colleagues’ values and needs
And accept that those whom you would describe as
White or cis-gender
Identify as not having a specific identity
And would like to be known simply as people
Please be aware that using such terms is inappropriate
As they imply
That these people are only a subsection of humanity
Only equal to all other subsections
And it might be offensive
To those who have always considered themselves to be the default human
To imply that all identities
Are equally valid

The Appropriate Channel is compliance
The Appropriate Channel is knowing your place

The Appropriate Channel is a consultation
Scheduled in three months’ time
For which we will select participants
And which will not be minuted

The consultation will give everyone
A chance to feel that their voice has been heard
And please be assured
That we will take your Depth Of Feeling into account
When we decide on what further action to take
And if we feel the issues are serious
We will take action on them
And schedule another consultation for next term

The Appropriate Channel is patience
The Appropriate Channel is an abyss

We hope you find these guidelines helpful
In managing your negative feelings
And that they will enable you
To develop your capacity
In stifling the primal scream you feel rising in you
Successfully

We would like to reinforce
How deeply we care
For our staff and our students
And the excellence they produce

Please do not think
That we
In any way
Are trying to silence
Your Criticism

Grace Krause, Cardiff, April 2018

Picture (and embroidery done by) the author

Follow me on Twitter for more “clearly inappropriate” complaining about working conditions at @theGraceK

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