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One Man’s Ceiling

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Paul Simon could have been singing about most people’s attitude toward corporate mischief.

There’s been some strange goin’s on
And some folks have come and gone
Like the elevator man don’t work no more
I heard a racket in the hall
And I thought I heard a call
But I never opened up my door
It’s just apartment house sense
It’s like apartment rents
Remember: one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor!
one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor! There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, 1973

USA TODAY reporter Jayne O’Donnell explores the life a the corporate whistle-blower

It’s not a pretty song, but it’s a great read.

While corporate whistle- blowers seem to be propelled by “high” values, they are often stomped on by fellow workers.

While a few whistle-blowers gain celebrity status and fortune, many worry if they will ever again be “employable”.

While when asked, people will say they are outraged by corporate scandels, they seem equally as outraged at the people who dare to expose a company’s dirty laundry.

As Jane O’Donnell writes…

Ed Bricker, one of the first nuclear industry whistle-blowers, has nearly made a career out of whistle-blowing. Bricker, 49, says he has faced retaliation since he went undercover for Congress in the 1980s to expose health hazards at a nuclear plant in Hanford, Wash. His crusade has had unwelcome consequences. Bricker’s daughter Debbie Deerwester, now 25, remembers when she and fellow sixth-graders were asked to explain their parents’ careers. She said her father was a whistle-blower at Hanford.

“One boy interrupted and said, ‘Whistle-blowers are tattletales!’ ” she said. “I was devastated, because I was proud of what my dad stood for and thought that everyone else saw it the same way.”

The day Bagdad fell reporters gleefully reported they were finally free of the government’s “minders”…those pesky people who followed them around all the time and censored what they could and couldn’t report.

But minders are Alive and Well and Living in Corporate America.Sometimes they are the people in corporate communications who refuse to talk to the media about stories just because they can refuse.

Sometimes they are the rules that state employees will be fired for talking to the media without corporate approval.

Sometimes the minders are the media themselves who seem more content on reporting about a businesses’ quarterly earnings and whether they met Wall Street’s expectations then looking at the company’s values and culture and how we treat the people who want to make things better.

Funny, isn’t it?

This post also appears at FunnyBusiness

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