Compensating Ghosts

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The Gestalt of a Lost Decade — a Collection

(to be read aloud with a vigorous rhythm and where possible with a pot of tea on steep)


The attic is empty now. The ghosts’ eviction uneventful, likely just a fiction of stupendous gullibility as they are surely waylaying in their subterranean caverns waiting to pounce again and throw their nets, forcing a new custom-made hell deforming us all over again. Their charm, always overachieving because of their fetish beyond all mortal form, waits patiently to unleash its demons again when the pressure is perfect and the moon is poor, to steal our peace and leave us in a hospice bleak before last rites are prayed. All of those signals that went unanswered, the courage you could not summon, the nagging feeling in your gut that waked you every dawn, next time promise yourself you will listen and obey the call, which you will know, unlike your integrity, it will ring clear like a bell. Suspended over all your dread the gremlin attached to the voices in your head will haunt you still, enchanting and conspiring new chicanery to mock the truth again.



Fly as high as thought will bear
Weight will lose its greed and share
Faith to sail beyond imagined walls
Distracting memory’s focus, the wind it stalls
Look back to see how far you’ve climbed
Gravity will win unless the mind’s inclined
To feel your wish, a zeppelin fat with magic air
Glides beyond mere mortal bounds, off to see the fair.

Sweet dreams of the ogress are sugary enough until the potion’s mists can drift away. Confession is a moral choice in the way it disrupts the interior life with reality, like a brilliant beam of light in the dark, not unlike how that distant droning sound hypnotizes before it re-settles dreams into their dreary monotony of lost  colors which must be re-imagined constantly, lest they disappear forever. Of course its penalty like the thorny grip of a heavy crown, atop a grating voice from out of the beneath of uncertain provenance amidst the fuzzy fumes of the netherworld, is no dream can be forgot.


The Red Queen

going into a relationship in anticipation of everything, leads to an excitement and adrenaline charge that opens you to all that is possible. after all this is the reason for your hire, the possibilities you represent for the organization if they can obtain your services, their investment in you.

and so it goes, you are oriented, invigorated, they’re just doing their job, by the endless accomplishment and history the organization has negotiated in its existence, and now you are a part of it. who can say it does not heighten the senses to be a part of something new, at least something that seems new, to you?

days turn to weeks and weeks turn into more of the same, an agenda of compliant monotony and a set of norms that seemingly creeped out of the ooze from the open drain in the cafeteria. how is it that an organization’s banality is so easily missed amidst the smiling vacuousness of the introductions? europeans are trained to spot these things. we americans are prone to the promises of presidents.

soon you discover welcome does not signal an invitation to participate. informed that if your opinion is desired, you will be informed, with feigned delicacy effected with such exceedingly polite and ingenious dark arts of deception even the board carries no sway with this queen? are there really two boards? one to keep her entertained, another one pretending, for society’s sake of course? so clever.

meanwhile, real experience is actually not all that exciting it seems. after all, anyone can learn a new language, just try talking a little louder? and of course, we are all experts, surely you will agree? I mean how hard can it be? just circle some wagons, bring snacks? quarterly, we do need the cash?

transition comes with question marks lined with hyphens and back slashes, and naturally, periods. its call is of the Serengeti less the natural beauty. still the painted faces, the massive haunches of the sedentary, the red-maned, bloody fangs and snaggled teeth of beasts once wild, the wonder of evolution. how will it pay?

she has no interest in discovery and anyone can tell you they don’t come cheap, so when the world turns upside down, it’s not a shock she blushes white and empties all our pockets, dumping assets like the world has changed for good? how could she know? her creation has neither sense nor compass, nor does she care, this is just a game and so we lose ourselves. we lose.

cash earns no interest makes it simple? volunteers take time, surrender to the pimps? keep the offerings current, so much work, can’t we sleep? intellectual capital we can rent? take Fridays off, we needn’t worry? besides the red queen smart, never mind her aged dulling chops, covets this her discharge, the honored decree by specious subcommittee, hear ye this, she cannot be trifled with work; except on exception. we can’t have the castle dank?

don’t forget the trophies, making marks for fun, dislike, bully targets? her sport is oratory, a one way art that let’s her toss her darts, trained under strict protocol of inebriety, quite sharp we fear? and those kicked to the curb, she regales us all? the bad heart she promises to cash in and spend the tragedy on us, we’re crushed? weakness she creeps behind and stalks the herd in search of strays, they must be made to pay? so many dead we can’t or won’t remember. their words be not quiet.

hostage to a tyrant with a trigger, alas we could not know. numbers fixed on higher prices levitated, divide domain in to romaine just like a caesar, sells so easy, just add extra oil. somehow the same few customers keep finding a way, fewer and fewer until we change the numbers? and those assets, barely half of what they were, a quarter of what they might have been just now? perhaps the red is a sign? ask the office implements if they have need of paperclip?

then, get ready. there’s M street now, a capitol folly, the spleen of the fake economy, monopoly rules invention praised as heaven-sent? monkeys trained expressly to educate the aides, they did once ask? an excuse for a library stands empty waiting for the United Nations maybe? and miracle of miracle you can do all this for the rock bottom price of a mere, wait for it, millions plus expenses; derp! this would be every year? flush we must be? flush again to get it all.

maybe it’s me, but the stench a gasp too far, least when the gambit’s stolen nuts, salted abroad and fancy, those dates Mano a Mano with them wankers from Levant? demurring factotums, frazzled by the crown, spun around they scurry, lunch flushed down parts of private plastic, totes? tickling her it seems as she exclaims another exit sign.

now alone with peace, happy thrill her load shorn short, sheer boredom does no work for most. still shake my head on days there is rumor, a whorl of what, maybe national with some graphic? because it’s proved, there never was nor could there ever be such a muddled thought, it’s proof the nil set lives. least not able to function outside of an institution, kinda like a fresh dug grave the dirt clods letting go reaching back to find their depth, will never be forgot, but no one’s going to visit, pretty sure.

now new brand old charter reblown fat redone with pith and love, it’s the Skills Reduction Institute, in memory of  a good old head trained in the real magic, an institution of special note from which no one may escape their skills intact, a happy land for those who hold a doctor’s note, cuz truly that is what it takes travailing dread and treading clear of Red some say a Queen. take another, doctor’s orders, the only question matters is how did she keep going?


There were consequences, as the piper picked up the fiddle again after marching the children into the sea, and against all odds a new regime was picked, dislodged finally with an handkerchief folded neatly after, so we waited patiently until another beak did bark and and a baker could be summoned. This is how the gingerbread house in the deep dark forest found its mystery out, yet still it has no sway over what we of sound mind and quiet souls decide to love. This is why we repeat again and again and still our echoes find no ears. Now the victories won we must sing loud to spoil the demons’ insides lest they escape out from under there, where they lurk waiting. Beware. There are always consequences.

No More Nonsense

No more nonsense,
Did you pay your rents?

Keep our meeting short in fashion
Fine tuned to your entomological challenge
Microscopic attention span caked and popped probiscus puss
Impaled on lips inflamed, just infected love don’t make a fuss.

No more nonsense,
Our recompense.

Opinions emanate penumbra like diseased goo
Trailing the ex outside her chambermaid, calls it poo
Enfeebled in a cinched up strip mall’s cost free nonsense
See her cherubim drunk on grog, sleep it off in tents.

No more nonsense,
Easy worth two pence.

Leans her cleavage in, sentence of death
Smothering thoughts before first breath
Hers is not so sweet, cuts like a poisoned torch
Pretending to be boss reveals her bones a scourge.

No more nonsense,
So intense.

Wandering in the darkest silence
Father tried magic doctors even common sense
Laid down to comprehend her preternaturalness
Sacrificed himself instead of live with her repulse.

No more nonsense,
Burn the incense.

Now her past is his ten feet deep
A shoe size familiar with her reek
There was comfort she kept hidden down her throat
When god decided we would suffer she did gloat.

No more nonsense,
Makes no sense.

Sabotage the life of nature’s pluck
Where did you live before your lost gave up?
Came out to play, your inner demons gave you suck
Feelings long suppressed til now, like piss in a communion cup.

No more nonsense,
Makes you tense.

Cannot be helped compulsions of the skull
Painted face and lifted cuts
Bribe the mirror to lie and carve that ass a ball
The vise turns screaming crack deez nuts.

No more nonsense,
A modest defense.

Her nostrils flared, her lips dripped blood
Laughing she destroyed the shrine to our redbud
Stealing silence deadly winds her belches hint dissent
This Aphrodite of the darkness unbidden cannot pay her rent.

No more nonsense,
Send for common sense.

We learn to cower as she begs egypt for a date
Loneliness strangled her doubting frozen pearl could not sate
Refusing to come a wrestler calls her out
The crowd cracks salty snickers, cheering up her spite.

No more nonsense
Pray, vas deferens.

That’s the way, conclusion cold as witches’ tits?
Robbing identities, strangling servants, matching half wits
Executed by committee in deceit? Fakery designed by a glove
Carved a legacy, her trophy made of waste and gotten rid of.

No more nonsense,
Makes no difference.


Seriously, no matter your stripe this much is clear to see. Even the blind turn towards its roar, the acoustic wave of a snarl and a fang, a shake of the head and the snot wings straight for your face, such foolishness consumes, but first you must wipe yourself clean and extract your sanity from the daycare of snakes, lost in their coils chasing their tails. Eschews leadership they say, eschew this and don’t forget to wash.  Surely you know how this ends? Beginning with nonsense such as this, one wonders what the lower bound might be for such insanity.   


The Lady or the Tiger

Burdensome Regulations Or Hubris

Seatbelts, stop signs, childproof caps, and warning signs for gasoline containers are a small price. Or, if you prefer fertilizer plant explosions taking lives and destroying homes for miles around, or lead in the blood of your children, you are free to adjust your personal price point and set a lower budget.  Use your savings for job creation of course. Burdensome regulations are one of those ‘eye of the beholder’ tropes, a ‘where you stand depends on where you sit’ kind of thing. So wherever you sit, consider this.

For instance, it might be considered burdensome if an organization were to agree to an exorbitant lease in prime DC right off K street and 14th, presumably to do business in the capitol where little evidence suggested any real business is possible, at least not cost effectively, or sustainably either, so they say now? Seriously renting an entire floor of a building under a 10-year lease? Can you be serious? With annual revenue in free fall, submission to a long-term DC real estate liability must have made an horrendous sound, like the soft thud of an obese old man with a red coif falling flat on his puffy face? What was wrong with a strip mall in Fredericksburg, again? Let’s just call it Hubris. Hubris is what is wrong. And she can be very burdensome, at least for dues-paying members; you know the ones stuck trying to pay the rent?

Proceeding with Hubris on your arm, it’s a short step to recruit an inexpensive legal beagle, there’s rent to pay, so anyone with papers and a simple DC bar chevron will do. Then gavel in hand, consorting with the usual suspects, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Chamber of Commerce, and others of that ilk, protests are joined against imagined “burdensome regulations”, referenced where in the mission? What is in the heart is a private matter for Hubris alone to contemplate in the dark bizarro depths of  the Trumpian mind. Compounding insults with injury, lashes are thrown with spite and spittle at any brave enough to protest this as the proper direction, or a prudent investment of a membership organization with scant resources depending on and representing members’ interests, with the putdown “you would not understand because you are not a lawyer”. Ouch, Hubris has a tongue! Here’s a handkerchief to wipe off the, what is that?  Spit?

Burdensome regulations are what the New Deal is all about, and the Civil Rights 60’s era too. Indeed, they are the single most salient characteristic of the last century, excepting forever wars. The Wagner Act, the Taft Hartley Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and other pieces of progressive legislation I am presently misremembering can fly the credential proudly attesting to their being burdensome regulations! Well, this answer causes heads to spin. Indeed, those of a certain political mania too often actually lose their heads over this fact. So we remind you, these are the law of the land. Have a little respect, please. I know you are impatient, my dear Hubris. Oh dear, are you frothing again?

My monthly bills are burdensome regulations. Hell the compensation function is one big burdensome regulation; considering that pay ranges, pay scales, job requirements, essential job functions, merit budgets, career ladders, don’t forget performance appraisals, and don’t even get me started on exec comp or benefits, are one giant morass of burden. Am I right? Were it not for the widespread practice and acceptance of these burdensome regulations there might be no compensation function in organizations – costing and budgeting would be managed by Finance, HR would concede that maths are hard and proceed to barter with line managers for ‘surrender with honor’ terms in the way employees are hired, promoted and compensated. And it would probably work ok, for the few, because bosses are often on a first name basis with Hubris. Let the others eat cake.

Borders are burdensome, so are speedlimits and zoning requirements, even taxes, but they are the price we pay for freedom in a sovereign land. So tell me again what is burdensome about adding aggregate pay data to the EEO-1 report? How many comp people even have anything to do with the EEO-1 prep? I mean really? I have never seen it mentioned on a comp resume, ever. The EEO-1 report is little mentioned as an essential job function by WorldatWork’s self-adulated practice analysis. But try getting your hands on that? Protected like a museum piece, this document, to the extent that it exists, is guarded by scriveners in the shadows cutting and pasting furiously to gild the fact that there no longer is even a certification competency in this membership credentialing organization? Naw that would be burdensome to have a practice analysis conducted by experts, someone credentialed, and to make it transparent as a resource to membership would be — wait for it — too burdensome. What do the members need to know about a job model describing their own livelihood? The members pay their dues, and Hubris keeps their secrets. That’s the deal.

And speaking of credentials, why are there so so many many credentials, redundancy intended, most of us have lost count. Whereas big brother, it’s good to have family to fall back on in the end, SHRM has maybe two credentials managed by a third-party credentialing expert, HRCI, and they seem to be winning for the 20th+ year in a row as the premier HR membership and credentialing association. So how does it cost $10,000 to get credentialed, just once mind you, by WorldatWork consultant instructors looking to slip their card in your pocket and for what? How many initials will even fit on your resume? The printer’s out of toner, again.

As for me, give me burdensome regulations all day – the New Deal, Civil Rights, the compensation function and generations of compensation experts have created an occupation that has added value and created a culture of reward, at least in these United States, for these past many decades. Of course, past trends may not be indicative of future results.

So I give thanks, err, I should say I pray for equal pay, a workplace free of pay discrimination, and health care for all while we are at it, and all the other burdensome regulations that have given us the modern and uber successful workplace of these United States. We are already great, and getting greater bigly, thank you very much.

These burdensome regulations that WorldatWork preens about having defeated are not, they just are not. This is what we do for our organizations, for our careers. We manage compliance with the essential elements and norms of a civilized workplace, one that has been hard won by Americans, organized and at-will both, for the past 100 years. And if the National Association of Manufacturers or the Chamber of Commerce or anyone else does not like it, well then, it is their right to protest. They can suckle their cherished infatuation with their monied gallery of corporate thieves like Wells Fargo and Volkswagen and Countrywide to their hearts’ content. Tomorrow there will be others, it’s a fact. In this age of the ‘corporation as person’, can there be a stronger argument for burdensome regulations?

WorldatWork however should part company with Hubris and after the last 10 years this is painfully obvious. Just because membership is dwindling with the organization is no reason those left standing can be allowed to stand idly by, enabling further imprudential leadership to continue spending down diminishing capital, financial and membership both. WorldatWork would do well to drive a stake through the heart of Hubris and focus all their energies on the learning and affiliation needs of their membership. You don’t have to be a lawyer to understand this.


There is a moment after the fire, or if you prefer an earthquake or hurricane, not the eye of the storm but the quiet that follows a disaster as if the earth is taking inventory of what is left, finally realizing the beginning requires an ending and now it’s time for a blessing, perhaps for a shiny new sports car too, one that can fly like an old time circus pony, can you see it in the picture? 


 An Old Clunker

An anachronism
Meets a cliche for dinner
Laugh at an old joke

Cough up a chuckle
Reminiscing forgotten
Old cars and muscle

Posing together
Nothing to part anymore
Fell out long ago

In compensation
Emotionally gulling
Sand pours through the clock

No picture required
To fête a proud obsession
Just take the money

Remember that joke
You earned it, everyone knows
Pretending polite.

Speaking of pictures, there is so much to learn simply by standing back from the surveys, taking the long view and asking, imploring really, if there’s something, anything to be said, anyone who might have something to say? Take your ears by the whorl, consider how remiss you were to have missed the miracle in a discussion of demise kept hidden, now lost in the wax of a recording of mistakes, dictates and ridicule, the answers are whatever you can say in the dark, but after awhile the light, maybe the truth too, will come home to roost, singing the mourning song, crying that you took so long.

stock market crash

 Twork – a Decennial Report

Twork is the name, we can guess its game, perchance it is germane? Twork’s claim as an organization of members, an outfit of associates, of whom and about what is a question, is in the wind as so many are forever clueless as to the mystery of a career. Twork has been around for some 60 years and I have some affinity with that. So, what to make of this Twork nonsense?

After a long career, filled with mostly success and accolades too, Twork seemed content to continue its mission in the customary, if quaint, way of providing value to members. Until one day, the grounding of a value proposition was uprooted in favor of a professional property manager, acquired to sustain, perhaps to devour the tastier bits, but only for awhile. Such was the grand idea coughed up by a board of purported business partners, apparently in aspiration only, on leave from their roles as trolls of the Fortune 500.

It would not last, this trip down the yellow brick road of bright shiny objects. Most certainly it would not, as one day a cleft did open, it nearly swallowed the earth, and a demon sprang from deep within to infest the One with delusion, leaving the rest in a dither. A deal was cut, the terms were rich, the end a fantasy distant, and the good times rolled as marketing arrived to save the day with instructions special ordered by design.

Now some days in the future, this careen off course of a decade or more, is it past time for a decennial report? It seems someone should care, no matter their impair, results such as these are ripe to declare. All the numbers are here, such as they are, from before the fall right up to the stumble. Though many are dead the unburied remain. These past ten years a scar on us all, their dimly lit tombstones now sag in a drab, shabby reddish malaise. The numbers indelible, tell a tale of demise, the remuneration of competence’ absence, a riddle of design less instruction and marketing less product.

First the strategy, a vintage gambit if ever, as hype hurled cryptically in language of old, precisely it would seem ten years ago the new ‘clear business strategy’ was pronounced. The components so curious, just read them and behold. It will gobsmack you today, knowing as we do. Imagine our fright just then at the sight, before the decade could even decay, these planks beaten boorishly by a frightful loudspeaker:

  • Virtual product. All product would be virtual in the future –  instructors, manuals, even classrooms all will be on-line. With excitement resembling a nervous disorder with a twitchy trigger finger the announcement was hailed in a shout overwhelming dissent. In fact, the hammer was set to mock any naysayers, prepared before the ink was dry.  “Get Blended”, was the retort to any who would oppose. Tellingly, there were more than a few.
  • Certification proliferation.  Certification would be deconstructed into a patchwork of revenue generating tolls. Thus, the primary certification becomes now several new certifications each requiring its own tuition. Further, even more new certifications would be hatched, enabling brand new tuition programs for junior, mid-career, and even mastery level marks. Imagine all the new revenue. Members will be so excited? We did ask? Bells and tolls.
  • New Headquarters. Finally, as if to welcome the Great Recession, Twork boldly announced the grand opening of new headquarters in real estate posh! Twork’s new D.C. Office and Conference Center, just off K-Street, a few blocks from a big House, was unveiled as its DC beachhead, a gateway to the globe. Celebrations with knowing board members and select insiders, who must have known something, touted this new twist. Due diligence and leadership came to play.

Yes, it really does seem some warped miracle, almost like being alive to witness a meteor crash to the earth only to watch helplessly. So too as this organization boldly declared in a single pronouncement its intent to simultaneously replace all product, to dismantle the new product into myriad more new products while at the same time opening a new headquarters, a second headquarters at that. Truly is there a more deserving candidate for strategic make-over of the century? If only the candidate survives?

Of course, the curious may wonder at the outcomes. After all, ten years have passed so what would a score card show? Here are some projections, we can hope they are better.

                          Ten Years Ago              ~~Today(Est)~~

Revenue (Ms)                27.3                            21.0

Profit                       +                              (1.0)

Investment Fund (Ms)        18.0                             8.0

Membership                  23,400                         16,000

Oh what a decade a strategy can break. The genie was blessed to escape with its breath, stealing any magic remaining in trade. The air in the fortress evacuated in a belch as the madness of this strategy pervaded, hopelessly befouled by the grim results. You can do the math, but the numbers are not good, and the prospects are no better. The only question is if the remaining members have a mandate? Do they see the numbers? What can they say about their experience with an organization in free fall? Perhaps they are busy and can’t take time to notice? It would be unwise to mistake indifference for satisfaction. And those price increases Twork has relied on? They may not be available to right the ship from this yaw. On the other hand?

There is power in a decennial report. It offers perspective for an organization, a waterfall of consequences, polishing the ultimate return of a leader’s bequest. The results are stunning to be sure, but they are clear. Was there ever a gift from this leader to pass on? Now, the future is here with an answer. The silence echoes with uncertainty.

Toward that end, with curtains looming, layoffs have reduced organization census by a third. The lease on the second headquarters should be terminated, whatever the penalty, as it is long past time to cut out this distraction. Leadership has been replaced, finally. Work has surely been commissioned to listen to members to discern their needs. All of which is necessary if needlessly tardy in effect. Thus, the more likely endgame must also be explored – solicitation of an appropriate acquisition partner with the goal of preserving some of Twork’s legacy.

These are challenging times for Twork as they continue to guess at their game. Patience and prayer too are in order as the challenging path ahead is comprehended and a realistic course is plotted. A decennial review can recall the legacy of past success, before it is forgotten, and this can serve as a beacon for renewal and a recommitment to foundational values of transparency, inclusion, and a relentless focus on members.

It could happen?


In business it seems mandatory, like a custom moneychangers would invent, to ask for feedback when nobody cares and the cutting and pasting are preceded by more cutting until you are bled and the way is clear for more of the same until the next year and new best practices have grown old enough that they are no longer best and we are asked once again about our strengths and weaknesses and if they are good enough for the corporatists on top or if they have a yen for something new today?


A Sharp Appraisal

Yawning blanks her line of sight
Warps her thoughts before they’re thunk
She half-hearted, tries to force a truth from light
Parts the robes of her good monk.

Collects her thoughts, these curious stone
Illuminated special by a cosmic being
When she landed, gathered her feet in a brand new zone
Blinked and rubbed her eyes of what they were seeing.

Pondered why good fortune scarred her sky
As if to frame her unusual masterpiece
Without which reason should not waste a try
Divining judgement or logic in life’s disease?

Life of deception, accounts she could not settle
Confusion’s taint in each and every breath
Marching, hiding from a conscience she would trammel
Resenting those that did bequeath.

Their parachute twirling gracefully
From a story far above
Now ending rather fitfully
It’s over! Finally gotten rid of!

Turn a page? There are no more.
You know her ways, no gratitude
Ripped clean out, her spoils of war
Take it till it’s gone. The blade, her attitude.

Flunked out of chemistry, seemed it took a committee, one August so hot and long ago, we went to the river instead. Too bad, because I never learned the formula to immunize myself against the madness of self-annointed experts perched on top. Still laughing through the tears. The biggest surprise was discovering how much misery a single fool can calculate.



greetings O_,

no sense to be made of this paragraph, it’s on the non-agenda, did you not receive it? sorry to be late again, déjà vu meets Ground Hog Day, deva doubles down network’s blown resend the meeting notice, remind me why we’re here again? stations of adoration beneath hallowed ego’s alter, stirring sisters three, burning incense in ritual, mad the cauldron boils no more, gas cutoff to the corner office, may the holy ghost be with you, and with you, trolling vacant smiles conning vanity, mentored scriveners dithering blather on of landscapes altered dreams of pines exploding life, dripping drama of design sweet gossip’s sticky resin fuels juries judging absent others, swooning over shiny objects, misconceiving questions blinded by reflection, another meeting falters since bullet points have been denounced, and foolish puffins dazed flailing at the air,

Peroxide, does anybody wonder what it really is and if the damage can be undone? 

bleaching, oxidizing, unstable, hazardous, harsh chemistry in any exhibit hall, oxygen atoms set up a booth with circles, ribbons, cheap champagne at the door, locked in darkness else their effect is nil, reactive and organic chemicals corrosive thankfully short lived their nastiness is toxic, friendless to all human issue, sterilized and replaced with no discrimination whatsoever, repeats whatever all day long grazing in bovinity, big eyes dumb, lashing all the while they tease the lies,

is it true or blonde it surely isn’t pure so old, glowing like Jameson neat, frightened even Rocco’s standing down, remembers being robbed, held up blank by eyes lined false, eyelashes a scaffold for an empty mind, an open pit, in case of an implosion its gaping maw may Mt. St. Helens, have faith a new day breaks, beware the soot take care the fragile flame, never lit in a generation but with a spark, a fresh start might reclaim the name behind the false facade, could it be time this jig is up? we’ll need more incense please,

now a swamp of wasted idled minds, unsavory evidence of life past, fumes neglected to their own devices disappear in air once pristine and pure, now posted Danger! bring a breathing apparatus, no one can see through mists and molds creeping in secret C inflagrante with peroxide do the dirty see the lattice? shoulders bared and rusted greenish copper tarnished stained reaction, oxidants are chemicals of darkness, leeches, parasites their tools,

bleeding life banal with sharp remarks the sphincters all salute discharging their harpoons, someone call the EPA, already time is short this meeting stole another hour disheveling disrespected schedules, hardly matters considering cleavage like a chasm twixt the gas and epitaph devoid of color’s originality, just peroxide towel dried addicted to empty striver prater, subordinated witless plodders obliging always chattering through their chapeaux,

now the lines are forming again resuming in arrears, stealing from grifters’ samples opinions now in vogue to render as their own, with neon satisfaction safe in the vacancy of thought, some call it marketing, it’s true they really do, confined to prison in a petri dish, a culture of disease enthralled to crawl around el jefa’s throne rewarded with treats of fruits and ripe bananas very ripe and brownish, like super bugs in training from the boss, until some escaped ran wild across the Mister’s bum, which must have been weird even for a bacterium,

just the facts, the way this warning blared, should have been an emergency broadcast, when the painted lady cackled through a forked beak and shrieking smile so hideous the lizard brains went lit, only later waking to the too late premonition at this assault on life itself, the virgin sacrifices continue to this very day corroding in a salted cavity of worship without question, neither probes nor audits have any standing, as innocents bow down affiliating, filling books with knowledge, ink and bytes of fact before there were alternatives, coerced substitutions these medieval incantations of diluted dreams of work life drawn and quartered in the corner office darkened, recall the bible disappeared, an humiliating disappointment worse than fraud, unconscious it’s incompetent,

staffed with Rasputins, and a Merlin with a mystery language, and Marlena too who lay with our Czarina, her coterie played coy for all to see performing presentations, behind the boards it was a private matter seeding clouds with drivel of delusion, drama and dysfunction souped up on hyperdrive the future surely prayed, for it needed a more than perfect inflection, wishing on a star before its fall, and when it fell wishes were heard mumbled, for what no one really knows,

somehow this chemical, this solvent like a bleach to choke all souls, this disinfectant did infect with ignorance a consummation of the vapid and the ignorant disgorging plastic tchotchke flotsam, whales cry tears of joy when justice finally comes displaced by generations with a sentence so divine, a lifetime subjugated to Island in the Sun,

bronzed and blonde, a statue to a blank blank mind’s deserved dereliction, two atoms enthralled to a chief, one O plus another, imagine a title with two O’s and three in charge, a Chief, an Officer and her Pwned counsel out to sea adrift in a doldrum of chaos, at home in a miasma of ineptitude in a cloud of nothing knowing even less, just acid’s expertise at destruction and decay disappearing assets into nothing,

just so peroxide, there is no need to wonder, of course it can do harm and the damage leaves a scar never to be forgot, it is an answer and a riddle both, revealing atomic structures and a framework of life exquisite, an ultimate choice so finite, all would do well to take the time, consider carefully the two from which you choose, the apothecary where chemists value and are valued for expertise? or the meat market where butchery is practiced with knives out everyday?

what’s the over/under on the tenure of peroxide? check the periodic table, maybe cut your losses? and study chemistry, where expertise is free and clear and honest too, whereas peroxide accelerates depreciation with all its extra costs like a recurring stomach virus or chronic wasting disease and so corrosive, requires hazmat for recycling and disposal, no doubt other hazards too, don’t pour it down our sink, think of quarantine, safety first, check the MSDS.




Searching through old appraisals to improve the exchange, attempting to follow doctor’s orders, taking inventory of every interaction to see if the source code has been hacked, until you discover there never was any code, just the eyes-averted fear and the stooped-over spine of servants carrying the lady’s satchel and her as well, those slouching hacks of a supine board. Oh the gratuitous ways of the appointed ones snatching success, re-naming it theirs, bearding it as truth when their recipe goes sour and it’s too late to plot their escape. They tried just the same, before they cut us deep, tattooed us for life but the worst was needlessly leaving the ink to run well down the street.


Suffering Fools

What a waste is a fool with power desperate for a thought

The yawn of tools’ sound bites churlish notes of naught

Nothing is the price of fraud with power

It buys you less and leaves you sour

Like a weed growing out from ‘neath the eves

So starved for light it crowds the others’ leaves

Just so, ideas held hostage struggle languish

Midst their vapid weakling speckled grayish

Each a torturer one day at judgment they will say?

Right now there is a catharsis in our society, at least out west, which would be us and though it does cut both ways to be sure, there truly are favorites that bear the brunt of the brash, those with their jewels all scrambled, some runny some rubbery each prance across our next nightly news leaving us to wonder as it all blurs together, can we leave our bubble without permission, it feels crazy out there, and the past never ends never ends never ends.


#METOO too

In an early meeting, after X had moved me to a more favorable position in closer proximity, I asked X how I could help, what X needed from me? X gave me a long, leering toothy smile and drawled, “now that would depend”, lingering on the final syllable in a tease. I shrugged and asked X what that meant, and X replied, “it depends on what you can do for me”, with the emphasis on the “you” and, of course, the “me”. My stomach tightened. I left our meeting, my worry a knot that would not release for some time.

The first occurrence at this firm, happened during a meeting with half a dozen people preparing for a conference. X pops in and volunteers a response to a quick summary of the meeting, “just have them take their shirts off”. Of course, the two of us to whom X was referring were taken aback, but X laughed it off in a practiced, “just kidding” kind of way.  So went my introduction to X in an actual work setting. It would not bode well. Just “X being X” is a crutch on which this organization relies to explain away X’s boorish behaviors. What few appreciated or understood, it was really “X being Z”. Yes, the perverse reality that there were two of them, a good one and the other one, went undetected by some. Yet all understood survival required obeisance to both, and a learned indifference. Some still were doomed to suffer X’s harassment in public humiliations, contrived putdowns, and even private abasement for the special occasion. The performance and tenure of many, many talented people went unfulfilled. Yet behaviors that would easily have earned opprobrium in the daylight of due diligence were ignored and masked as invisible by the handful of those in authority, with the obligation, to act.

To be sure, following the “take their shirts off” comment, X was revealed to be the glib, charismatic, facile, bullying organizational head infamous in workplaces large and small. There were the random droppings of pornography on desks accompanied by doltish exclamations “whoa will you look at that”, and similar juvenile chatter. X was the ringleader in distributing materials around the office for cheap jokes and daft innuendo. Familiar references were used as X called out cues to tokens of past prurience. It was a game. Who can say if this was appropriate for work? Is that the point, if the prime intention is to cause discomfort? No one can escape the sinister fallout of an office cretin, especially one inhabiting the corner.

And these were my concerns as X arranged to have me as a direct report. It was calculated ostensibly to give X a closer perspective, but if there was any question, after all the new arrangement did jump two levels of management, it’s real intent would be clear soon enough. The first meeting under the new gambit removed any doubt. Her behaviors continued unrelenting, uninhibited in the privacy of X’s corner office. No matter where I would sit, X would find a way to creep closer. Each meeting came replete with staged positioning to enable X to edge closer, brushing against me, placing an arm around me, standing closer as I sat, requiring me to contort to look up and make space. It could not possibly have been a simple matter of different tolerances for personal space as it came replete with X’s spray of syrupy innuendo like “bring that in here”, “what a dream you are”, “what a sexy voice”, or “hmmm, so sexy” as X appraised your entrance.

I would come to learn such behavior is characteristic of the abuser, a form of grooming. Abusive personalities gradually normalize inappropriate behavior and condition subordinates to accept the aberrant as standard, a form of deviancy that can apparently negotiate corporate hiring processes with ease.   In this case, the harassing behaviors continued wherever opportunity presented. The pattern would continue outside X’s office, in ill-timed hallway passages, wherever X could get away with it. X’s invasions of personal space were the physical manifestation of X’s verbal teases. Attempts to put space between us were futile. X was too skilled a predator.

It all culminated in a final one on one. After a sleepless night, the norm on the eve of an X meeting, the last one began in the normal fashion. We engaged in small talk about some trivial topic, as X maneuvered a chair to be closer before suddenly blurting, “wow, you’re a fun conversationalist, you’re really fun”. I blinked, wondering what I had said. There was hardly time to register discomfort, before X continued,  “you would be fun to go out on a date with, would you go out with me?” X quickly pulled up, but continued,  “no I can’t say that, but you must be something special on a date”.  I went numb. I don’t recall how I responded to the expectant maw of this would-be summons. We were finished though.  X took the lead and retreated, walking back to the desk, the meeting over. I walked away, shaken. These behaviors, careening out of control as they had until this moment, were now in their denouement. Termination would come within weeks.

Stripped of the pronouns, the perversion and predation remain. Or as it’s known at the top, power; the capacity to control, manipulate, and ultimately humiliate are only a few of the odious perquisites of position power. Ironically it is weakness that causes some to yield to their base appetites – perhaps to bring relief to secret affliction, to feed a personal addiction, to indulge an inner barrenness. Any of these seem sufficient as catalysts for the leader’s transformation to corrupt monster; one capable of making sport of the socialization of their victims who are made to submit to the leader’s own gratuitous dominance. Thousands of threads over time tell of the malign effect of enablers who look the other way, deluded in the complacency of cowardice. Their silence, a red carpet on which the powerful are free to flaunt their abuse to their world.

What to do? Who will believe? What can be done? Nothing? Forgive? Forget? Heal? I will let you know.

#MeToo too.


In the end your breath is stolen, ripped from your soul like a fuse firing thunder. You see too late what your heart told you at the start, something is not right. Indeed, something is not right. And then you’re almost dead?


Consulting Gueras

Seduction your name I blame
Secrets that we fear to tell
Baring inner desires tinder dry to flame
Her slightest spark fans egos under spell
Like whispers cross the cirrus skies
Teasing heat her faintest praise with bluest eyes
Expertly exposing leaders see their blindness
Taking what she craves, leaving just a haze of graves
Bending deep her breasts to show
Her potent potion steals their keys
The cleavage ‘tween her word, not what they know
Renders suits in chains and on their knees.

After spitting it out and rinsing copiously, still the taste persists. Eventually it came up while we were hiding in the infirmary, pretending all was right and in a way it was. You see, we were cut for something else. In a secret ceremony  with an  amulet they brought they tied us to a post all muzzled, pretending we were mad since no results could be so sad. Somehow it ended more bizarrely still, bankrupted and corrupted with no money in the till, in a goofy mess by a design you can surely guess. All that’s left are these silly commercials on made up regulations, that should have been against the regulations? Go figure. Again? It is almost over, that’s what they say, but decay takes its own sweet time to go away. This for certain is substantiated everyday now the boss is gone — again, it won’t affect her pay. Watch your step, beware the insincere and glib, the drive to dominate pretending until too very late, when all along the only escape is to ignore and go the other way and fast, before as they are wont to do, they come again, those silly compensating ghosts.


When Is Newsline not News?

As much as I would like to be hiking, or dreaming poetry, or playing some zany game with my kids, I cannot get this WorldatWork “Newsline” article, or is it the Kronos Newsline, out of my mind. It literally has been making me crazy. I doubt I am the only one confused, disappointed, this once professional membership organization has transformed itself into a blatantly “pay for play” mouthpiece for whatever cockamamie sponsors pay them to publish. When is Newsline not news? Pretty sure you can answer this yourself with a single visit to their website.

Here is the lede that got me going, ‘More than half of HR and payroll professionals (54%) say that, on average, it costs their organization between $40,000 and $100,000 to prepare for each labor-related regulatory change, regardless of whether that’s at the federal, state or local level’, from their post on September 6 this month entitled, Labor-Related Regulations Take a Financial Toll. Kronos actually suggested a different title, The $100,000 Bill. The survey link is here, Kronos Workforce Institute research. Don’t expect research though; you will be sorely disappointed. All they wanted was the headline, as inflammatory as a Chump tweet, with patented psuedo-factuality.

Takes you back to those Highlights Magazine pictures when you were a kid challenging you to find all the embedded images; in this case it’s find all the red herrings. See how many you can find? Here’s a little help to get you started.

Regulations continue as an obsession with WorldatWork, despite the fact that in their countless surveys of membership about the top issues for HR and Compensation and Benefits, regulation has never been in the top 3, never even in the top 10? I cannot recall it ever making the list. Ever. So why this fantastical devotion to a topic more political than professional? First, their loyal obsession with the EEO-1 Report, where they align their thought followership meekly with the most anti-president in our history, to chime in from the peanut gallery on an issue about which they simply do not have a dog in the hunt. But ok, it’s natural for them throw their hand in with the rest of their DC shill neighbors. It’s who they spend their time with, to say nothing of rent, so it is no wonder they are so easily duped into pretending this is what members want.

The headline tag alone, “The $100,000 Bill,” is patently misleading if not false. Yep, it’s simply a hyperbolic marketing headline that distorts the source survey finding beyond even a tenuous connection to reality. In fact, the survey of “812 HR and payroll professionals” found that ‘More than half of HR and payroll professionals (54%) say that, on average, it costs their organization between $40,000 and $100,000 to prepare for each labor-related regulatory change, regardless of whether that’s at the federal, state or local level’. And if you read further, some 20% of respondents have no clue? So there is a wide distribution of confusion concealed behind this headline. All we can be sure of is that some say the number is less than $100,000 and some say it is more than $40,000, and others do not know, and perhaps do not care? Oh, on average too.

The assumption implicit in the marketing copy WorldatWork shamelessly promoted as news is not news at all. It is marketing fiction thinly disguised as myth to portray regulations as bad by asking HR people if compliance is important and what they do to remain compliant. Their responses are just what you would expect.  The survey reports they, consult with legal counsel on internal policies, train HR and payroll employees, educate leaders and managers, and do employee communications on compliance. Seems like standard due diligence for any HR department. Seems farfetched to “blame” this behavior on regulations. When I teach my kids to drive I don’t blame the Department of Motor Vehicles.

There is also some very curious data, portrayed as information in the release, that compliance had become more expensive in the past year (68%) yet almost three-quarters say it’s more expensive than 10 years ago. It is hard to reconcile these data points. It is harder still to call it information. The last 10 years have been brutal on all of us, and the last year has been especially so. I can agree with that. But is there a nugget in here that you can use to indict the big bad compliance bogeyman as the culprit? I think not.

812 HR and payroll professionals were surveyed. OK. Sounds like a lot. But there are north of 500,000 HR professionals in the U.S., according to WorldatWork’s own data, and this does not even include payroll. So what is the validity of this much smaller survey data set, we’re talking tenths of a percent of the target population here. Do we know the surveyed population’s affiliation with WorldatWork? With Kronos? No, but you can be sure that WorldatWork’s membership are a desirable target for Kronos marketing? Of course. So regulations = bad, and Kronos = good. This is the Newsline headline, shorter.

Which brings us to the obvious point. Kronos is the sponsor of this Newsline placement. Their line of questions is directed at the SMB market with various nods to overworked people in this segment being too busy, perhaps cutting corners, and simply being overwhelmed by the challenge of compliance. All of which may be true, but it’s a stretch to diagnose the cause as regulations. Compliance has been one of the five planks of the profession since Adam. Of course compliance is an uber important responsibility requiring resources and focus. It is a task requiring professional rigor. I am sure Kronos wants the business, and they cannot be faulted for offering to share their competence for a fee. Is this what you call scaring up business? Seems like. And by the way, you have to wonder if WorldatWork gets a commission beyond the advert placement fee?

In the embarrassing quote category, the study cites Dan Schawbel,partner and research director at Kronos’ Future Workplace initiative, “Businesses are having trouble keeping up with all the new regulations and feel that we are now at an unsustainable pace of change; As the government becomes more regulated, the costs to business will increase and the workforce will suffer as a result.” This “sky is falling” statement would be hilarious if it were not so cravenly self-serving. Seems Ivanka Trump-Kushner and Mitch McConnell have collaborated to write his alarmist talking points? We are always left to wonder which regulations they want to eliminate? Equal Pay, Age Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity, and that oppressive EEO-1 report? Perhaps Child Labor Laws too, let’s start with a clean slate! Please feel free to complete the list yourself. Bottom line, it is hard to govern and manage the largest GDP on the planet, yet we seem to be doing a decent job, winning in fact. Regulations notwithstanding, or perhaps because of regulations. A survey is simply not going to answer this question. If it could, it would have been done already, and it would indeed be news.

On the plus side, Kronos’ survey was kind enough to recognize the inherent virtues of our Compensation profession in citing the near universal agreement confirmed by the survey that respondents overwhelmingly report compliance remains a guiding principal in their organizations and that their organizations do recognize the value in training employees to better handle compliance. WorldatWork apparently could not be troubled to read this far down in the survey. Or perhaps they are simply complying with Kronos’ terms?  We would have to read the contract.

Call me confused, misguided even, believing that news, rather than marketing, should be the sole focus of a segment called Newsline. And if you are going to insist on putting marketing in my feed, at least make it factual and less the political shill and the marketing hyperbole. Compensation people tend to be nerds, obsessed with facts and data. Our bullshit detectors are more sensitive than a Geiger counter. Your market research might confirm this for you if you took the time to listen.

WorldatWork is a once-proud professional membership organization. If it wishes to be proud again, and viable too, it would do well to turn a page back, prior to its devolution into a blatantly “pay for play” mouthpiece and errand boy for sponsors coveting its members’ share of wallet.  I know journalism is a hard way to go nowadays, but Newsline should remain solely the province of news, not commercials.


Survival for the few is an exercise from finishing school at flirting on the clock in private tête-à-têtes to entertain the distraction of a boy with a pretty smile, his daughters fawning, a family mystery confounding a hole in the wall, and hiding from the claw poised to take it all back, reversing losses which might as well have been a needle in a vein, still they would want more. Some say if you wait the north wind will blow a comet and tales of another generation will have a cigar on us, and who can blame the miller for the grim grain that makes the fairy’s tail a dream.


Swamp Gas

Is the Servìce Comprìs?
A tribute to a working wasteland
Orange and carpets for the walking dead
Poor Pete the tragic hero magic dragon flies.

Manipulating the paper clip
Its brain of chrome all twisted up its ass
Boss lady like a golf ball through the garden hose
Clean sucked dry of chrome and polished to the tip.

One fine day she had a head, red as blood
All the villains played, surrendered theirs as ransom
Some say she’s God, just not as great which makes her mad
Mothered brother runaway the orphanage destroyed.

Gonads confused and angry sad since birth
The little red pearl, not Steinbeck’s ink
Adjusted by the knife ordered by another
Dreaming of a man not cursed with dearth.

Business if it happened had to hide away
Confessing confusion, Daddy told her not today.
Numbers never mattered Mondays hiding from the minds
Business in the modern era, clowns climbed down to play.

Men surprised fall down dead soldier
Their sperm extracted then redacted
Nitro is the process of the bully way
Render the unwanted leave the smell for Omaha.

Her and flying demons share the strap
In batteries they do rust so they scheme ahead
Fearing toothless snaggleteeth the frenzy of it all
Breaks the corner glass with Davie’s sleezy tap.

She steals the keys and squeezes bullocks tight
What story clothes the mistress dancing Nancy?
Is it the softer tell beneath the mossy stone
Sticky slime so sly reveals its reeking rotten riot.

Betrays the crowd leading loud a world berserk
When at last the end relents, her scissors dull
Totes the breast and face how heavy was the lift?
One thing now tight her might to spread her dirty smirk.

We scrub the mud, can’t touch the filth that feed her blood
Make believing world of falsity, punch bowls full of acid sluice
Tongues trained to wag by dogs hawk toilet paper survey data
Wild tails blow grimy air so dank, soiled by heaven’s flood.

Nothing pays the bills, hidden from our view, who knew?
Instant panting saying please and thank you now you know
What she really wants, our blood all of ours to spill
Her thirst is never slaked even as she laps another stew.

Investigation circles downward dogs with evil witches
Insubstantiated incantations, cannot turn the muck to blonde
We curse her ruddy moon drinking Jenna’s Jameson
She conquered by a tit gone dry, then she sneaked away in britches.

Facade betrays deceit, its secret has no guarantee
Its burden, stolen treasure worse the crime it’s wasted
Our blood’s dead journey flows into a sea of laughing
Jokers sadly tell, service such as this is never free.

In the darkness of deserving, she will never find a rest.
Pardon monsieur, Servìce non Comprìs.



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