Friday, January 07, 2005

Karen Pao's letter

Jan. 6, 2005

Unfinished business

Like Anthony Clark, I intend to stay past June 30. Indeed, I confess that I spent much of the winter break contemplating careers outside science. However, I still like what I do right now, in spite of its myriad non-scientific challenges.

I find the paranoid rhetoric expressed in Clark's letter a bit disconcerting. There is not an outside conspiracy to beat us down. Not everyone out there is out to get us. I believe that most of the "attacks," actions that caused many staff members to contemplate leaving, have come from within. These actions, I also believe, have little or nothing to do with the benefits, the salary and/or raise, or even the parking and traffic. These actions have to do with the unfinished business from last summer.

We do not retreat from attacks; however, if the attacks come from within, there can only be retreat: if one senses one's own system is the source of the "attack," how is one to "fight back"? I'm sure I'm not the only one feeling a bit beaten down right now, and it's not by the press or by some congressman from Colorado or Texas.

At least one thing could easily be done to raise the morale: tell us what really happened over at Dynamic Experimentation (DX) Division. Show us the evidence. Acknowledge all system failures. Convince us that the personnel actions are justified. Don't wait 3-4 years to give us the briefing, like what we did with Wen Ho Lee's case. Tell it all now. An emotional event now, that reverses the emotional event last July, will go a long way to restoring employee morale.

I note how timely Anthony Clark's submission was published, as opposed to Doug Roberts's. Here's another way to improve morale: let our concerns all be heard in a timely manner.

--Karen Pao

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