F. Scott Fitzgerald said,

"There are no second acts in American lives."

Most people think he was crazy.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Who Put the Poopyheads in Charge?

One of the things I've noticed lately is that there are a whole lot of folks who have their own agendas. (Kind of like our representation in Washington.) While I am a big proponent of goal-setting, I feel as though one's right to extend one's arm stops where that arm would interfere with another's body. Unless, of course, that arm was invited.

There has been a lot of discussion about the economy as of late. We could be moving into a double-dip recession, and times are difficult for a lot of people. And while I'm not suggesting we should all become Communists, I do think that the people who have agendas need to stop, take a breath, and think about how their personal desires might impact other folks.

I hate to admit it, but people my age tend to be a tad soulless when it comes to...well, just about anything. I'm not talking about individuals, but of the collective. "Stuff-worth" has replaced self-worth, and we love our stuff. McMansions, expensive automobiles, Coach handbags, and gourmet meals...we have replaced what should be intrinsic in nature with extrinsic trappings. I'm not saying that we should all live in cold water flats, but we have our priorities skewed.

According to the AFL/CIO (okay--I'm going to get a lot of flak here for using their data, but please hear me out), average total compensation for a CEO in a Standard & Poors top 500 company is over ELEVEN MILLION DOLLARS. That's for ONE YEAR, people! Even if the AFL/CIO has inflated the amount to double the 'real' amount, it's still over $5.5M for a year's employment.

Think about it.

I know that CEOs work hard. Some of them are very well-educated. Some of them give up a 'normal' life in order to get to the top of their respective fields. But many of them are irresponsible, buttholey folks who will think only of themselves and not of the people whose daily lives are impacted by the decisions they make.

Oracle Packaging is one of those companies. The CEO of this small, privately held company has basically used the company as his own personal bank account, taking all profits for himself and not reinvesting or saving it as working capital. Multi-million dollar mansions? Check. Expensive gifts for various cronies? Check. First-class travel? Check. 350 employees who will be out of work when the creditors come knocking? Check.

Where do we find leadership with common sense for the common good? Certainly not in business. Not in Washington, either. And for a lot of us, it's not in our social circles. But we have the power to turn this tide, if we so choose. For some of us, it's time to quit looking outside for our self-esteem, and start looking inside. I think we can do it if we all work together.

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