Good for the goose...
One wonders if the remuneration packages of those on the board have automatic 'bonus' arrangements?
Hands up who wants to watch a CEO's mask of sanity crack. OK, roll the tape. Youtube Video While the clip mostly speaks for itself – everyone loves to see a beleaguered bigwig gently abuse their underlings over financial matters – we suppose you'll want some more context. This is Andi Owen, CEO of office furniture giant …
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I’m sitting in my home office at a very nice, very large Herman Miller Abak desk to type this during a brief tea and biscuit break from my now entirely home based job.
I’m quite delighted with it, and even more delighted that having bought it at a bargain price from an office clearance specialist absolutely none of my money will have gone to the delightful Ms Owen…
"even more delighted that having bought it at a bargain price from an office clearance specialist"
After the dotcom bust, I was able to pick up top quality office furniture by showing up with a suitable vehicle. Clear out companies needed the stuff gone and understood that taking it to a warehouse and putting it in storage was a losing proposition. At one point I had a stack of huge white boards, cork boards, metal storage cabinets and heaps of other things that cost me no more then the cost of petrol to go get it.
Even in good times, office furniture is one of those things that's good to acquire second hand. Let the big companies cycle through buildings full of it each time some office interior designer has an idea for a new look.
My apologies for the long post
This is the last 20% of https://annehelen.substack.com/p/the-wages-of-overwork
and yes, I did suffer (?) from that condition / syndrome to the point of burnout a couple of years ago and am heading that way again despite understanding the clear stupidity of what I am doing.
...Now, we see the logical conclusion of that bargain: a society in which overwork is so thoroughly normalized that anything less is interpreted as “lazy,” “lacking hustle,” or “your generation doesn’t want to work.” On Twitter, I’ve seen plenty of self-proclaimed progressives call the protests against changing the French retirement age the actions of an entitled society with no work ethic — instead of understanding that our reaction is deeply colored by the understanding that people should basically work until they die.
Overwork culture is the ideology of the “right” to work at its most perverse. It may monetarily advantage a handful at the top, but the societal damage is tremendous. Most of our acute societal ills are directly tied to poverty, and as numerous studies and pilot programs have shown, could readily be ameliorated by the very simple step of giving people money, whether through programs like the child tax credit (a tremendous success) or UBI (read a great, nuanced explainer here).
But there are second-tier problems that spiderweb around overwork — problems related to community-building, child and eldercare, community wellness, overall health outcomes and plain-out happiness and satisfaction and civic engagement. Turns out it’s incredibly hard to build community, to forge social safety-nets, to agitate for larger social change, to even give and receive care when you’re dedicated, willingly or not, to the culture of overwork.
Maybe this doesn’t sound familiar. Maybe you told overwork culture to fuck off during the pandemic or a decade ago, maybe you live elsewhere and have always considered it a sort of pathology. But maybe some it — the struggle to find the time to do anything but work and raise your kids and recover from work, the philosophical support of unions but a struggle to see the need for one in your workplace, a general inurement to overwork culture — feels comfortably real.
Maybe you feel like you’ve woken up and realized that you’re pretty bad at community, bad at leisure, bad at rest, bad at sustaining friendship….bad at most things, really, that aren’t work. At that, you’re an expert. And in that case, it’s worth asking yourself, again and again, until you can stare the answer straight in the face: at what cost, and for whose benefit?
"Maybe you feel like you’ve woken up and realized that you’re pretty bad at community, bad at leisure, bad at rest, bad at sustaining friendship….bad at most things, really, that aren’t work. "
That was me a decade or two ago ..... big lesson learnt !!!
No matter how good you are, how hard you work and how much the 'COMPANY' loves you ...... it can all go at the drop of a hat ..... when you have served your purpose etc !!!
Loyalty only goes in one direction .... I leave it as an exercise for the reader to guess which direction that is !!!
Look after yourself, not in a Machiavellian way, and always have a exit route on standby for when the axe falls !!!
Indeed! I consider myself fortunate to have learned that lesson right at the end of my first (post-military) job, and in a not too nasty way. Relatively good local MSP, positive leadership, etc, and I gave them two months' notice because I was moving across the country. They immediately zeroed out the training hours I'd earned via sustained high billable hour percentages. I asked my boss about how he was thus effectively encouraging everyone to use up the training hours and then provide the minimum two weeks' notice, and he essentially shrugged and told me 'It's just business'. Message received, and lesson shared with all the teams I've led since then - take care of yourself and your own interests because when push comes to shove, you're just working for a business and usually dollars outweigh sense.
That reminds me of a story my mother told me about her and one of her brothers. She had a fiery temper.
They had an argument and she throw an "offensive bladed weapon" at him (it was a hand axe - quite why she had one to hand, I've no idea) which stuck in a door frame beside him.
When he exlaimed "That could have hit me!" her reply was - and this was in her own words - "I was aiming for your head".
What a lot of these executive types don't seem to understand is that well over half of all American households live paycheck to paycheck so withdrawing an anticipated bonus can have significant effects on a worker's household finances. If you're highly compensated like a CEO and maybe have equity in a company then you're in a much more flexible situation so whether or not you get a bonus (or whether its what you expect or not) doesn't impact you that much.
What's galling here is that current business conditions didn't spring up overnight, they've been around for several years, enough time to gradually adapt the business. Unfortunately a lot of businesses don't work like that, its all about the numbers, and abruptly cutting a bonus directly improves the bottom line (so the executives may be in line for a chunk).
I'm glad I'm retired.
"so withdrawing an anticipated bonus"
I think there has only been one bonus that I counted on getting. The rest of the time I worked for somebody else, if I got one, nice, if not, I didn't over-extend myself where not getting it puts me in a bad position. You don't want to be in a position where you are considering bonuses as an expected part of your compensation. C-level execs will do that, but the bonuses are often contractural and as long as some pretty low bars are cleared, they will get them. I'd much rather get a higher salary and forego bonuses which might be at the company's whim.
In a previous job the CEO (also founder and chairman) was asked how he stayed motivated. His answer was "as soon as i wake up the first thing I think of is how to increase share holder value".
He then went on to tell us why we should use increasing shareholder value as our motivation.
What a twat.
The correct retort is: "Why should I give a toss about shareholder value? My salary won't change, my job won't change, my workload won't change no matter how much "value" (put in the air quotes) I bring." Be prepared to lose your job as these pricks don't usually like getting shown the error in their thinking (or the reality of their lies).
in her own words her employees stopped thinking about their own bonuses an concentrated on making the 26 mil target that would make her 4 mil richer.
That's where the mask slipped. The fact is this whole tirade reduces down to a warmed over version of "stop whining and go back to making me rich"
That's not what she meant to say, or how she indented this to come out, but it IS what she was asking.
Why should she thinks her companies employees should be any less blindly self-interested that she is? Golden Rule.
I still cant quite work out why she went of the deep end there.
It seemed a reasonable question - if people arent going to get bonuses, how can we motivate the staff? You'd think that would be a pretty straight forward question to upper management, with you know something like we'll make extra resources available for team building exercises, or whatever, as the correct sort of answer.
Instead she just made herself the enemy. *Facepalm*
I guess the next team building exercise will be Throwing Darts at the
Donkey's bum CEO's head in the break room.
Because empathy for many people in her position is broken
So it's all about her (reaching her targets gets her, her bonus) and not about you (you should always sacrifice for my set goals).
I've heard similar from a friend who works for a large multinational where staff bonuses were drastically cut for not quite hitting a target, and everyone was made to feel like shit about it. This cut was implemented across all employees, regardless of their individual contributions.
"That's just how it goes" you might say, however my friend works in the finance department and she can see only too clearly that the company made huge profits anyway and the top people were still rewarded handsomely. The money the company saved reducing bonuses went directly into the pocket of the billionaire owner instead. Why do we accept this?
Exactly this. The bigger the company, the more likely they are to use any excuse to squeeze their employees or suppliers. As long as the big wigs get their cash, all is well.
During both the 2008 recession and Covid, almost all of my clients tried to get me to reduce my fees claiming they were struggling and could no longer afford to pay me prices, no matter how well they were actually doing. It was a good excuse to cream a little more profit off the top. From my experience, the better they were weathering the storm, the more they'd try to squeeze their costs down.
It took me a while to realise that more often than not I was the only one struggling, due to lowering my prices, and they were doing perfectly fine thank you very much!
It was sometime in 2009 that I drew a line under it and said "full price or not at all". During Covid I refused to negotiate on price at all. I didn't lose one client, they all just said "fine".
When I worked at a company that remains nameless........
Dye and Durham...
The CEO famously said in a company meeting to the underlings that anyone who didn't like it could leave and find employment elsewhere, despite those same employees putting in all the effort to keep it afloat, improve things.....
That CEO now stands looking out over a desolate wasteland where the techies with business knowledge for the most part did precisely that. Projects have apparently ground to a halt, and now the horse is borderline dead, with a few random twitches.... fighting to stay alive with contractors who don't have the biz knowledge, and probably don't have the sense of belonging, and frankly don't care...
Meanwhile, those who upped sticks on the whole found better paying jobs, with better benefits.
CEOs.... BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR........
This sounds like one of the reddit stories.
You come across so much similar stupidity from so many companies in so many industries.
After that, the goose that laid the golden eggs (to well paid senior managment) suddenly find that they killed their company with their greed / stupidity.
I only heard of one company where the senior managment took a pay cut for a while so that they didn't have to cut the pay /reduce headcount of the lower levels.
Wish more company senior managment is like that.
I'm sure I have put this up on a previous story but some time ago so it is fair to give it another outing.
A sail loft in Cowes on the Isle of Wight was struggling and the manager went round with the accountant and checked every aspect to see how they could save enough to last until the next batch of orders. Eventually the manager announced he was the only spare headcount and he was giving up his job but would be staying on part-time unpaid until things improved. A few months later orders came in and he could start taking a salary again.
Oddly enough the staff would have done anything he asked after that
"...CEOs.... BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR..."
Very much like this sudden push to get everyone back into the office.
I have now been at two companies where they have pushed either a three days in the office and two remote or a four days in the office and one remote. With presentations and packs that all explain why this is good for you and good for the company but nothing whatsoever about why working from home is good for some people.
At both companies they had taken on many new staff with contracts that explicitly stated either remote or home working.
For the latter one, I was involved in a global programme of works that included Australia. So - you want me to drive to an office (one either 15 miles away - not bad in terms of location for me but I'd be the only one from my team actually at that site, or drive 4+ hours to head office and still have c50% of my team remote anyway) to be on Teams calls with my colleagues around the world? Oh and if you expect me to be in an office then forget those 4am or 9pm calls I've done sometimes etc.
Oh and it gets better because the Global CIO said he refused to be in the office four days a week. So... that's leadership by example right there. What a message when you can't even get your own board members on board.
I'm not naïve at all - some jobs really do benefit (or can only be done) by folks being on site. But why shoot yourself in the foot so badly when, when challenged, the answer amounts to "suck it up or leave" and the be surprised when people...leave. So yes, indeed - beware of what you wish for.
" Why do we accept this?"
Because a portion of our society are blind sheep and vote for people that support, and legislate, for these types of behaviours. Anything less is 'socialism' and that's evil if it doesn't help a profit motive, so the capitalist class simply gets empowered to continue their greed and the rest of us are told / legislated simply to follow.
- a MillerKnoll spokesperson said
What he was trying to say in plain English was:
We [as in: 'my management told me to say that, so don't blame me!] at MillerKnoll say is not what she meant, so REALLY it's NOT true, okey?! And as she's in management, whatever she says in social media (shithole) has nothing to do with our business. Unlike our minions WHOM WE WATCH ON SOCIAL MEDIA VERY CLOSELY, AND SHALL TREAT ACCORDINGLY IF WE FIND THEIR VIEWS OF OUR BUSINESS MIGHT CAUSE HAVE NEGATIVE IMPACT ON OUR BOTTOM LINE IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM!
Reminds me of when Ginny Rometty flew into Hurlsey in a chopper
I believe the chopper flew her to/from Southampton airport. And she STILL needed to be driven from the landing site on the lawn behind the main building to the entrance at the front.
It would have been as quick to take the merc from the airport.
And she wondered why the staff hated her...
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Actually, having more context than the clip makes it seem much worse that just an out of touch CEO tripping over her words.
Wonder which side that person is on if the result of listening to them is to find out how much worse it actually is...
do you rape the earth cutting down trees and extracting oil / plastics to achieve that ?
do you feel pity for those that suffer after you ?
maybe just maybe you should consider those that come after you and actually lead... NASDAQ: MLKN needs to be sustainable now not in 2030
I can see why her staff would probably have some concerns if they aren't getting a bonus. Prices are going up, and in my experience, companies that pay their staff bonuses tend not to pay the great salaries. At least at the lower levels (such as where most sales people would be). At the executive level, a lot of these companies pay both generous salaries and bonuses.
She's not sorry for anything she said, just that there's been blowback on her personally. A lot of execs at companies these days are so far out of touch with their employees that, even when their employees literally tell them what they want, they just don't hear it... looking at you Tim Cook, though to be fair, he has plenty of company in that space.
"A Utah tech CEO is facing backlash after a clip of him questioning the capabilities of working mothers and praising an employee for getting rid of her pet to meet a new in-office mandate went viral."
I rather suspect there are plenty more tone dead CEOs out there, but every public missive is edited to within an inch of its life and run through a dozen (each) lawyers, HR reps, and PR consultants to make sure there isn't anything in there that might possibly somehow maybe come back to bite the exec and/or company (too badly). Not sure if that's a good or bad thing really.
I just genuinely do not understand this obsession with in-office working. I rather think the CEOs who are pushing for this haven't actually worked in a cubicle farm for so long they don't remember what it's like. If they had to spend a week working in the same conditions as a brand new entry-level hire, I bet they would have something of a baptism by fire.
“I just genuinely do not understand this obsession with in-office working.”
Don’t you? Really not?
Where do you think your paid work *comes from*? Once upon a time, your whole business was not even a concept, not even one person with a phone. You must realise that to get Here from There, wasn’t just some people who had never met each other randomly set up some Teams calls, right?
To set up a going concern, you must realise this requires humans, meeting each other and customers and suppliers in an *office*. Planning for the future.
You seem to be assuming that “your job” is part of a going concern. You know what you have to do. But this is an illusion. Businesses have lifecycles and lifetimes, for most of them 20-30 years max. In the three years since the pandemic, that’s 10% of its entire life.
The instant the business is no longer a startup, it’s *dying*. No office for three years means you already torched at least 10% (or 20% or 30%) of your business future. You can’t see it, but it’s already happened.
However Goliath your business today, 30 years from now, nobody will even remember when it disappeared. Unless people renew and revitalise it constantly.
Sitting on the end of a Teams call at home, is just burning through your metaphorical savings.
Doesn’t matter how well you “do your job” if you aren’t inventing what your job will be in a decade.
“An earned share in the profits” is the buzzword I think you’re looking for.
I’m a founder-owner employing nearly 30 people. We profit-share, which for most of them was a flat £45k last year on top of base salary. It’s roughly doubling every two years. Profit-share is deliberately flat, everybody is fully clear that they individually are the people shaking the magic money tree, and that is their actual job above all. Only five people total have left over the last eight years. And everyone is in the labs 100%, zero WFH. It does help of course, that we are innovating wildly cool manufacturing technologies, using actual robots with frickin’ lasers.
The one person who wanted to WFH was one of those five leavers. And they were a *line manager* who thought they could manage engineers over email and Zoom from home, while their team was in the lab. In the end, I fired him, the only person I’ve ever fired. It was more complex than that, but it was at least half of it.
At root, this isn’t about WFH, however much people pretend it is. It’s about the fact that real living standards are the same as 1970 and actually fallen in the last two decades. Not surprisingly, if people get taken advantage of, they become work-to-rulers. Mentally absent, now physically absent. The vogue phrase is quiet quitting, but it’s been coming for two decades. True profit share is the way to change this. When I retire in three years time, the full value of the business passes automatically to the employees as a co-op, apart from my employee profit share.
Offices aren't labs.
At least 99% of office-based jobs are suitable for WFH, if the employee so desires and has a suitable physical space at home.
If they work with a computer in a cube, then literally the only benefit of an office is the desk space.
WFH is not for everyone or every job - but neither is working in an office. Lumberjacking is exceedingly hard to do in a cube farm.
I suspect you would find that robots with lasers would be considerably more difficult to work with in an office, instead of a lab.
Had one not too long ago. 30-something year old company acquired by massive corporation. Large number of employees have been there for decades. Less than one-year in, manager for the division (meaning multiple acquired companies) sends an email about how a few years ago "we" were only recently a "startup" (as in that division, the parent is vast), and how far "we" had come in the industry in such a short time. You know, by buying a bunch of people who had basically participated in building said industry from the earliest days of the PC.
Tone-deaf is right, I couldn't believe it. I wasn't even alive when some of these people started working here, I and I was offended.
Has to be especially tough now, especially with all the downsizing of office space for companies that are making WFH the norm going forward for at least a lot of their employees. If I was setting up a new office I'd be looking at auctions where nearly new office furniture was available for a fraction of the price with immediate delivery, instead of messing around paying a lot more for new furniture and then being told I have to wait months for delivery because international shipping while better is still not back to pre-pandemic norms.
'The pandemic was keenly felt by the company, which is well regarded as a manufacturer of terribly ugly office furniture.'
You missed 'overpriced', which means they should have a nice tidy rainy day fund to tide them over a year or two.
Who am I kidding. Of course it all got given it as bonuses.
Am I the only person who assumed "MillerKnoll" was the same company as Parker Knoll- another well-known furniture maker- or some related parent business (since it sounds like one of those most-merger corporate mashup names).
Apparently not. They *are* the parent of an American furniture maker called "Knoll", but completely unrelated to Parker Knoll.
"Am I the only person who assumed "MillerKnoll" was the same company as Parker Knoll- another well-known furniture maker- or some related parent business (since it sounds like one of those most-merger corporate mashup names)."
I didn't assume, but I did wonder if there was some association.
The company the CEO
They do not care about you
They care about themselves
Without the company YOU don’t have a wage never mind a bonus
Pity city is where you should start your job hunting
When you leave pity city it should be to a new job
Reminds me of the meme
Boss standing next to a Lamborghini says
“If you Work hard, next year I can get the upgrade”
the REALLY annoying thing about people is that they don't understand that if the company goes tits up...the CEO and Shareholders will lose their money...
the STAFF will have a hard 2 or 3 months and will get a job somewhere else.
My local Toys R Us & several other firms closed, within 6 months all those stores were open again with other stores/gyms.
THATS the quiet secret that the C-Suite doesn't want people to know...if you work in a retail store, you can EASILY get another job in another retail store when you work out yours is going to the wall...The CEOs? not so much
The worst thing about companies and capitalism as a whole is that the C-level execs are also shareholders. And when they talk about creating value for the shareholders they're really talking about THEMSELVES.
We need to change this. Make execs employees and not interim personnel that only focuses on putting their hands in the money jar and running off with the heist.
Bonuses motivate the CEO class but of course money doesn't motivate the plebs.
When a firm is in trouble...it's not the £million CEO bonus that goes but the biscuits in the office kitchens.
I'll be interested to see how many of the better staff now start looking at moving out.