Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bidness

When my friend Jackie was getting her MBA, she complained about how they taught that businesses had to keep growing and taking over. It sounded ruthless and predatory, and she hated it and asked why people couldn't just make a living. Watching Donald Trump on The Apprentice and now Celebrity Apprentice reinforces that way of thinking I hate so much. He fired one of the contestants because she offered to go to the boardroom with the project manager. He fired her because he said, "Never volunteer for execution." Apparently, he sees compassion, concern, and helpfulness as weakness. If being a bastard or bitch is required to be successful in some businesses, I want no part of it. They make their own rules and then expect each other to play by them.

I dated a guy ONCE who bragged about finding loopholes that kept people from getting insurance benefits and puffed up with pride about how that helped him climb the ladder to a VP position. Then to make it worse he let me know more than once what he made and asked me what my salary was. I told him, and he said his withholding was more than that and that he made more in less than a month than I did all year. Then he adopted a fake sincerity and said how terrible that was because teaching is so important. I glared at him and agreed by saying that my job is much more important than his but that people in business agreed to pay themselves those salaries and that money doesn't determine how vital a job is even though I didn't expect him to understand that. It still burns me up thinking about him.

The banking and insurance disaster shows what can happen. Executives with some of these companies walked off with severance packages in the hundreds of millions while others scraping by were left with nothing - no retirement, no job, and no hope. How can they live with themselves? Greed got us into the financial disaster we're in now. Some of us haven't been greedy. We've lived within our incomes, bought houses and cars we could afford, paid our bills, and tried to do what was right. We're paying for those robber barons that Teddy Roosevelt curbed. The problem is that they just have to lower their standard of living a bit by not having six houses, a yacht, and such as that. The ones suffering are those with no jobs, no pensions, and no prospects. Some young teacher friends have gotten pink slips (last hired, first fired) and are in a panic to figure out what to do about next year. Other people I know are struggling to stay in their homes by taking any work they can find. They weren't greedy. They thought their companies who have never had to lay anyone off would stay solvent. Middle management had to go. Shops in town are closing. Local restaurants are barely hanging on. It goes on and on with so many! It's scary and could have been avoided.

3 comments:

frogponder said...

My parents went out to dinner with a couple whose son just got a big promotion. Why? Because he designed a container that allowed for more floor cleaning product to spill out than was needed - so more would have to be bought down the road. And they were proud of that. sheesh!

Joy said...

Yeah.

Some companies are not like that like Costco, Fed Ex, Ben & Jerry, and others that treat employees with dignity.

Berry Blog said...

Say it like it is Joy...yay. This last round took the sails right out of my teaching friends who are but a breath away from retirement after countless years and wake up one morning with more than half their retirement funds wiped out. With teaching conditions beyond human toleration these days, they wonder if they can possibly muster enough energy to complete the few years they have left and dare they hope for any recovery? I left in the nick of time and was rescued at the last minute by a young advisor who transferred my funds into more conservative investments just before the bottom dropped out.