IJMC - Asinine Occupational Louts
Who is John Galt?
Does corporate America have a clue? Just one? Anywhere? Among their entire
corporate consciousness, could I find one itty-bitty clue?
Earlier this month America's largest ISP and America's largest media
conglomerate merged. This new company's market capitalization is
stunning. The company's existing clientel is enormous. The combined
revenue stream is almost beyond belief. They announced the plans for a new
headquarters building, estimated at over 1 billion dollars.
Yesterday, I knew four people who worked for a daughter company of this
mega media-internet blunderbuss. You might have heard of this
"daughter" company. The daughter company's name is CNN. Tomorrow, I only
know two people who work for CNN, and I am not even positive they both
still work there. My friends were laid off. Excess within the new company.
AOL announced they were laying off over 2,400 people this month. With the
merger of AOL and Time Warner, AOL wishes to look lean and mean for their
investors meeting later this month. So in a move to eliminate 1 billion
worth of costs, they eliminated 2,400 jobs throughout the new
enterprise. They hope their stock price will go up a couple of dollars.
Lucent announced it will laid off 10,000 people.
The industry I work in, broadband internet, has been hemorrhaging
personnel like a war casualty. Dozens of companies have filed for Chapter
11 or simply closed their doors and disappeared. Numerous other companies
have elminated jobs and people. Tens of thousands of broadband employees
polished their resumes over the past holiday season, hoping that they
could find a new job.
Everyone has heard that the dot.com explosion is over. Yet these recent
developments are outside of such speculative areas of industry. CNN. New
Line Cinema. Lucent. AT&T.
At the company I work for, the CEO earns a tidy $500,000 salary. Yet the
company did not hit its goals for last year. Our merger from last year and
the subsequent acquisition are not complete. Yet the CEO continues to earn
almost $10,000 per week.
A company lays off a significant portion of its workforce, yet its
management remains. Is that management not responsible for having grown to
a bloated size which needs the fat cut off through harsh layoffs? Did
those people not allow the excess to develop? Yet they are the ones who
remain to continue to "lead" their respective organizations to times of
new growth and prosperity?
Where are the leaders in Corporate America? Where are the innovators, the
entrepreneurs, the thinkers, the decision makers? What happenned to the
strength of America? Expense accounts and frequent flier miles?
AOL had a grand opportunity. 2,400 people. A new billion dollar
headquarters, filled with shops, retail space, office space, and living
arrangements. That building alone will take a small army to manage
and operate. 2,400 people could make a small army. That is simply one
idea. A quick one. A poorly thought out idea. Yet probably one that could
have worked incredibly well.
Instead of layoffs, AOL could have found new positions for these
people. New divisions and departments tasked to profitibiliy and
innovation. Instead of firing these people, give them a chance to bring in
new revenue streams, imagine new products, and help take AOL to a new
level. Give these people a hard goal, they have to become profitible
within their new group within six months or else they need to find a new
job. AOL could have given them a chance.
I wonder what would have happenned differently if the people who chose to
lay off these 2,400 people had to fire each one, face-to-face.
Today's corporations appear to almost rule America. They choose what we
watch. What we wear. What we eat. What we drink. These corporations are
run by people with bloated salaries poorly tied to performance. These
"leaders" make more and more arbitrary decisions every day. I never seem
to hear of a corporate leader being laid off when their decisions fail
because the leader took the easy way out. Service deteriorates, prices
rise, power fails.
Yet we continue to fund them. We make them prosper. Anyone want to setup
an AOL chat so we can all decide when to take out our SUV's to get
another Big Mac and a super-sized Coke?
But hey, who is John Galt, anyway? -dave