One of these initiatives will include discontinuing the snacks and refreshments historically provided by Prodigy. I know you all understand that drastic times calls for drastic measures and will support this initiative.”
– from a leaked internal memo
I don’t know how much the CEO of Prodigy makes, but my guess is it’s in the millions of dollars a year.
A few months ago, I read an article about how the CEO of E-Trade’s salary and compensation totaled over $100 million. That’s surely nauseating enough… and made even more barf-inducing when you realize that, at least as of the time of the article, E-Trade isn’t even profitable!
Compare these obscene amounts of money with the moolah likely required to provide a modicum of snacks for a few hundred or even thousand people. For instance, a super-large pretzel bag at Costco: $2.39. $100 million bucks… that’s a lot of pretzels for hungry and often probably overworked employees.
$2.39 * a hundred or two a month would undoubtedly be a tiny tiny sliver of an executive’s salary. But taking away that seemingly silly perk probably does a hell of a lot more than $2.39*x damage to a company’s morale.
Those that know me are probably chuckling at least a bit, since I’m widely known as a super-snacker… someone indeed obsessed with food and eating overall (in, I think, a good way :-). But I hope my main point here is still taken seriously:
In this age when our politicians are hypocritically railing against “abuses” in our system, no one is daring to raise a peep about how maybe, just possibly we have an more serious problem: leaders of even unprofitable companies are making hundreds of millions of dollars a year while the same companies and even sometimes their employees can barely afford ramen noodles.
It isn’t this way in other countries, at least not in most European countries I know of. I firmly believe that there’d be a huge public outcry in France, for instance, if a company instituted significant cutbacks or layoffs and the CEO was still making more than 100x what the rank and file people of the country earned.
I’m not a communist. I believe in hard work and bootstrapping and the overall American Dream and so on. But I think that something’s gotten way out of (invisible) hand here with our economic and social systems, and I also think that something needs to change. I wish I knew how.