In John Engman's poem "Aluminum Folding Chairs", the narrator masters the art of being invisible after realizing that all of the members of his therapy session aren't really listening to him, and because of that he's allowed to go through the motions of saying what's expected of him, playing the act that he is listening, and even saying things out of the ordinary without a blink of an eye from those to which he's speaking. It shows the lack of individuality in not only his work, but also work life in general, because neither his true voice nor his true thoughts come through in his work. The poem shows through the eyes of the narrator how the individuality is lost more and more as he leads each session. He was able to nod in the right places and say the things that were expected of him and still get by, such as "tell me how that makes you feel", and no one notices because it's what his job was - to ask what they were feeling and to look concerned. As the poem goes on, the narrator's comments become more out of the ordinary and more random. "After a few years when I realized that no one was listening, I began to improvise with harmless asides like "Keep your head down and swing through the ball,' or 'Red sky at morning sailors take warning.' Or 'bake at 350 and cool before serving.' Brown ii The 'harmless asides' go by with out much response from his session group.
The reader can clearly see that it is becoming more apparent to the narrator that they aren't listening to him, and one could say it was his way of rebelling against just saying what was expected. Moreover, it gave him a small bit of his individuality back, and even then he couldn't hold on to it because those around him weren't hearing him. The fact he could get away with such statements during the therapy session didn't mean those around him were crazy, it meant that he had no real voice, really. He was seen as just 'the therapist' and maybe no one was really expecting him to say anything, which is why he could say anything he wanted. Essentially, he was incapable to 'be' himself in the workplace, but yet he could say whatever he wanted.
But what's the point of saying something if it isn't being heard? It ties in to many situations that exist on the workplace. Those who are in lesser positions, or who are paid to be ignored and ignore those around them actually could say anything they wanted, but wouldn't be heard or acknowledged because among all the aspects of the workplace that makes one hundred employees look identical and unrecognizable, their voices are gone, too.