The night before.

Written by Handley.

Concern and anxiety can permeate an organisation rapidly once the odour seeps out the MD's door. The scent of trouble percolates throughout. The call for an urgent meeting and you're on parade causes the disquiet to grow. 'Got to do well'.

'The night before.' The board meeting has been called,

An extra one rushed in. The order book is falling, Decisions can no longer be stalled.

The meeting starts with the guidance from Group. We must take action “Cut our cloth to suit”.

In almost buoyant mood we set about our task with care. By honing our knife on the inanimate business floss. The dawning reality soon creates a sombre air As dissecting this alone will never soften the projected loss.

There must be cuts to staff. We must “let people go”. Such innocuous words for so savage an action. A sinking feeling to the pit of the stomach As spreadsheet numbers translate to people’s names for sanction.

With clinical precision we examine the bones of the business. If we cut out this, will the patient still stand? If we cut out that, will the business blood still flow? Will arteries become clogged with the additional pressure?

Judgements are made. Fates are sealed.

As incisions are concluded the overhead resolves. The spreadsheet is happy as balance is restored. However, it’s a high price for those poor souls. The meeting closes with sombre accord.

The night before as you lay in bed. You know what must be done. You see the faces of those condemned. In their shadows the spouses of those men.

Those who you had congratulated. Shared in their happiness at the birth of their child; Those who had shared their children’s stories of successes and scrapes. Those who had shared the intimacy of a parents’ passing.

In the morning, it is my role to make that come to an end. The news must be relayed that their job is no more. The devastation that sends reverberates deep in their core.

The balance sheet will be happy but I feel the weight of failure. We have failed them one and all. A shaky, hollow voice, “I’m sorry” and ‘thank you’,

They fall like autumn leaves upon the meeting room floor.

Handley, 2019


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