They Will Never Tell You – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

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“Balance in work is not better time management, but better boundary management.” Betsy Jacobson

They Will Never Tell You

is that what they told you?
That if you worked hard, 
came in early, had lunch at your desk, 
stayed back, you would be rewarded, 
if you worked sick you'd be respected, 
if you answered your phone out of 
hours you'd be feted, and if you put 
your family last you'd make manager, 
partner, senior, sometime.

That if you did all this and more
and never complained,
you would be part of the vast,
ecstatic experience of making
the anonymous shareholders
so very happy and at the very 
least keep your job.

They never said a word because
they knew you had no boundaries,
you were the workaholic they were
looking for to keep the place afloat,
and to be exactly like them,
they will never tell you,
but they will keep working you
until you don't.

Copyright 2022 ยฉPaul Vincent Cannon
All Rights Reserved ยฎ๏ธ 

Note: Trying to find a quote as epigram to fit the poem was more challenging than usual. So few quotes were critical of workaholism and overwork. Most contemporary quotes about work were about how workaholism is not necessarily bad, or that there is this thing - the work-life balance, a kind of denial culture. Older quotes were either gendered, racist, or colonial. I think it shows how we are incapable of setting work aside for health, leisure, play, pleasure etc.


Filed under awareness, Free Verse, life, poem, quote, Work

19 responses to “They Will Never Tell You – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

  1. Oooohwee!!! This is amazing!! So true, unfortunately. Lack of boundaries truly attracts people with a lack of integrity , unfortunately.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I came perilously close to destroying my health and my marriage by being a workaholic.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bravo Paul – liked all of this – and your quest for a suitable epigram is telling isn’t it ?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Perfect quote and poem … I’ve always said boundaries were vital to my sanity! I’d work to 9pm if a crisis was on hand but come in at noon the next day. Everyone needs a balance, and nobody remembers the sacrifices you made, only you ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, vital indeed, I don’t know how anyone can be without them, but I’ve seen so many just surrender their lives to work. Balance is the critical issue for sure, thank you Kate ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow!! Really loved the post, Paul!! You really nailed the Corporate Culture – You be loyal to them – but find out too late they aren’t loyal or caring about you!!! ๐Ÿ˜โœจ๐Ÿ‘

    Liked by 1 person

  6. lync56

    Sadly so so true – great poem


    Liked by 1 person

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