Fresh in the news is a story about a business owner warning his employees they might be fired if Obama is re-elected. This story cannot be let go without commentary.
Here’s the summary: the business is profitable despite the bad economy, but if taxes are raised or levied on him or his business, CEO will cut jobs or just flat-out close the business.
Included in the lengthy email is a story about how CEO grew up modestly and sacrificed to build his company. More words describe how he lives and breathes his company. More words about how he never takes time off work because he is constantly running his business. This passionate essay is hard to ignore, after all, who doesn’t appreciate hard work? But, as he even admits, a lot of his employees work hard also. But, the message is pretty clear. His ego is well in charge.
Let’s address the issue of taxes. If taxes are raised on him or his business, he’s quitting. If his taxes go up, he’s going to punish his 5,000 workers and the economy by closing the business. First, this is arrogant, selfish, and childish. Second, it’s unnecessary since he could sell the business without hurting anyone. Now, if taxes go up on his company, he’s cutting back or closing the business. The greatest thing I learned from the FairTax book is that taxes are nothing but an expense to a company and they will pass that expense on to the consumer. So if taxes/expenses go up, either prices go up or profit margins fall. If CEO is threatening to fire people, it’s because he wants to preserve his profit margin. Additionally, it shows that CEO feels the best course to efficiency is by eliminating people. Of all the possible way to increase efficiency, less people is the route he takes.
Let’s address the issue of compensation. The whole letter is supposed to make you feel like CEO is just like you, and in the early days of the company, I’m not going to argue, he probably worked side-by-side and was just like the other workers. Then, things grew and CEO elevates higher and higher, leaving the rank and file behind. I don’t argue this; this is how business operates. But a business owner has technically two sources of equity: the salary and expenses he costs the company, and the intrinsic value of the company itself. But to say you sacrificed and continue to pour all your money back into the business is somewhat egregious since obviously some money goes to living expenses and the value of the company is a safety net other employees don’t have.
And the touting of sacrifice brings me to the final and most important point. Why are there people like CEO? Why isn’t everyone like CEO? CEO and others like him would like you to believe that you are either not capable of operating at their level or that you are lazy and worthless. And that’s not true. The fact is, the majority of people don’t enjoy building and running companies. It’s a lot of work. But so is manufacturing, so is farming, so is digging a ditch. And people do these things because they enjoy doing them. Damn you if you think you are somehow more valuable to society because your enjoyment is building a business and having others make money for you. You are doing what you do because you like doing it and presumably you are good at it.
That’s why this CEO letter is so pathetic. If he truly loved his job and enjoyed what he did, there would be no stopping him. He would absorb the changes and continue. But where are his thoughts? They are not focused on the success of his business or even on his personal success, they are focused on what he feels he is losing. He wants more. Are these the people we should be respecting?
The bottom line is this. If you are not enjoying your job anymore, quit, and shut the hell up. Otherwise, you are acting like a baby. Grow up and do the right thing. Life will go on without you.