I thought it time we had a little talk. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…
I suppose you’re wondering why I’ve called you here this evening. Well, you see, I’m not entirely satisfied with your performance lately. I’m afraid your work’s been slipping and…
…and, well, I’m afraid we’ve been thinking about letting you go.
Oh, I know, I know, you’ve been with the company a long time now. Almost… let me see. Almost ten thousand years! My word, doesn’t time fly? It seems like only yesterday… I remember the day you commenced your employment, swinging down from the trees, fresh-faced and nervous, a bone clasped in your bristling fist…
“Where do I start, sir?” you asked, plaintively.
Well we’ve certainly come a long way since then, haven’t we? And yes, yes, you’re right, in all that time you haven’t missed a day. Well done thou good and faithful servant. Also please don’t think I’ve forgotten about your outstanding service record or about all of the invaluable contributions you’ve made to the company…. fire, the wheel, agriculture… it’s an impressive list, old-timer. A jolly impressive list, don’t get me wrong.
But… well… to be frank, we’ve had our problems too. There’s no getting away from it. Do you know what I think a lot of it stems from? I’ll tell you… It’s your basic unwillingness to get on within the company. You don’t seem to wan to face up to any real responsibility or be your own boss. Lord knows you’ve been given plenty of opportunities. We’ve offered you promotion time and time again, and each time you’ve turn us down. “I couldn’t handle the work, Guv’nor” you wheedled, “I know my place.”
To be frank, you’re not trying, are you?
You see, you’ve been standing still for far too long and it’s starting to show in your work. And I might add, in your general standard of behavior. The constant bickering on the factory floor has not escaped our attention. Nor recent bouts of rowdiness in the staff canteen. Then of course there’s… hmm, well, I really didn’t want to have to bring his up but I’ve been hearing some disturbing rumors about your personal life. No, never mind who told me. I understand that you are unable to get on with your spouse. I hear that you argue, I am told that you shout. Violence has been mentioned. I am reliably informed that you always hurt the one you love. The one you shouldn’t hurt at all.
And what about he children? It’s always the children who suffer, as you’re well aware. Poor little mites. What are they to make of it?
It’s no good blaming the drop in work standards on bad management either, though to be sure the management is very bad. In fact let’s not mince words: The management is terrible. We’ve had a string of embezzlers, frauds, liars, and lunatics making a string of catastrophic decisions. This is a plain fact.
But who elected them?
It was you. You who appointed these people. You who gave them the power to make your decisions for you. While I’ll admit that anyone can make a mistake once, to go on making the same lethal errors century after century seems to me nothing short of deliberate. You have encouraged these malicious incompetents who have made your working life a shambles. You have accepted without question their senseless orders. You could have stopped them. All you had to say was “No”.
You have no spine. You have no pride.
You are no longer an asset to the company.
From V For Vendetta, by Alan Moore and David Lloyd.