The Gate

Written By Michael C Kelly

In retirement, I reflect on the less healthy moments of my career to remember my starter rule for organizational survival and growth:

Never leave anyone worse off than you found them, including yourself.

Every time I violated this rule, and every time I was called on to deal with related situations, I was made aware of the consequences – especially in how I had created sleepless nights, job insecurity, the anxieties of possible escalations and the potential for deep depression in others and in myself. When in violation, I was never enriched by it, and I never gave the lives of others a chance.

Ignoring this rule also reminds me of a poem my mentor wrote back in 1993 (presented as is). It can be adjusted for the social and cultural sensitivities of people in all cultures and in too many unhealthy work environments. It is how destroyers come to be created …

THE GATE (1993)


Are these men and women Workers of the world?

Or is it an overgrown nursery with children – goosing, slapping, boys giggling, snotty girls?

What is it about that entranceway?

Is it the guards, the showing of the badge – the smell?

Is there some invisible eye that pierces you through and transforms your being?

Some aura or ether, that brain and spirit washes and commands, “for twelve hours, you shall be different!”

What is it that instantaneously makes a child out of a man?

Moments before, he was a Father, a Husband, an owner of property,

A voter, a lover, and an adult.

When he spoke, at least some listened

Salesmen courted his favour

Insurance men appealed to his family

Responsibility, and by chance, the Church sought his help.

But that was before he shuffled past the gate

Climbed the step

Hung up his coat and

Took his place along the line.