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A long overdue response to “Uncle Tom’s” Shell Blog Post

By “Jo Blow”

For whatever reason inside me, something compels me to continue revisiting the post made by Uncle Tom

The thing that I find very interesting in this post is the apparent arrogance on certain topics, I will attempt to explain my meaning in using the word “Arrogance” below.

“Good performers who didn’t “dog” the Company still have a job.
Good performers (some) who “dogged” the Company are on the way out, no surprise.
Poor performers (some) are leaving the Company, should be no surprise to them. Some were good people who just couldn’t cut it. Those people sometimes survived in the past, but with this darn economy, no one gets a free pass at times like this.”

Lets examine these few comments directly quoted from “Uncle Toms” post.  If this was authored by Mr. Purves, this is as much as an admission of guilt to the fact that the layoff’s targeted good performers whom Tom singled out that he perceived as not being a loyal employee.
“Perceived” is the key word, One of the cultural attributes that I respected most in this company was cultural expectation to respectfully challenge actions and decisions.  If this post was authored by someone other then Mr. Purves then it certainly makes a clear point that many people know how the “redundancy piece” of the layoffs were really handled.  Uncle Tom, if I am offbase here, please help me understand what you mean in your use of the word “Dog” in the statements above, some specific examples would be great.

“Can you fight it! Let’s be real, who’s got more money?”

This is one of my favorite statements in the post!  Most certainly Shell/Motiva has a vast amount of money and legal resources at their disposal.  But lets take a moment to think about where this scenario would play out.  This kind of big business arrogance would not fare well in the courts of South East Louisiana, and South East Texas where Jury’s are made up of regular guys who only want to receive a fair days pay for a fair days work.  I remember not to long ago, CEO’s and Executives were in front of Congress attempting to explain record profits.  As I recall I don’t believe that Big Oil escaped from that fiasco with a “Shiny Suit of Armor”, so I wonder would money make that much of a difference?  Now lets think about what would happen if the Character of Mr. Purves was drawn into any such lawsuit, how do you think he would fare in that discussion?

“And sometimes good people have to carry out bad actions, or face the music themselves. So who is really to blame?

Which of you would really face termination for not carrying out decisions from upper management that might not be very popular in the people you supervise?”

This Statement and Question is at the backbone of what is wrong.  The code of ethics and other group business principals insist that all employees in Shell/Motiva adhere to them.  Those policies also provide an out to people that are pressured to perform illegal, immoral, or unethical acts.  Again if this post was authored by Mr. Purves then this is another stark and frank admission of his leadership by fear mentality, if not authored by Mr. Purves it certainly infers that his methods are well known.

These were just the thoughts and observations that have occurred to me since this post was originally posted.

Many Thanks,
“Jo Blow” and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

2 Comments on “A long overdue response to “Uncle Tom’s” Shell Blog Post”

  1. #1 Jo Blow
    on Aug 13th, 2009 at 21:33


    Of course you do have some merit in your observation, I suppose that I see the posting perhaps in a different light then you. In my analysis I thought I sufficiently made my point for either case. Just for giggles, I would throw your question back at you, What if Uncle Tom is Tom Purves or some one posting on his behalf? At any rate, I appreciate the feedback, I shall give it some consideration.

    Many Thanks
    Jo Blow

  2. #2 funky_mnky
    on Aug 13th, 2009 at 20:06

    A very interesting response, Jo Blow. There is one question that really puzzles me, however. What if Uncle Tom is not Tom Purves, does not have anything to do with Tom Purves or does not represent Shell in any way? Most of this article seems to deal with the Uncle Tom posting as if Tom Purves is the author, and that is really the only scenario that would give any importance to the posting. Otherwise, it really needs no analysis or response at all.

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