We take care of failed CEOs, so why not everyone else?

How is it that so many failed CEOs somehow land on their feet, while average folks who lose their jobs are not so fortunate?

As Rick Newman, writing for U.S. News & World Report (via Yahoo! News, link here), observes:

Yet a number of disgraced CEOs and other grounded high-flyers have fared surprisingly well, either landing plum jobs with new employers or securing golden parachutes that guarantee a luxurious retirement–or both.

By contrast, regular folks who face a layoff or termination often must scramble to make ends meet and find comparable positions. We’ve seen the figures about the growing length of time it takes to find a new job in this recessionary economy, and we’re well aware of the special challenges that confront older, mid-career workers trying to rebound from a layoff.

Most people are one job loss away from a potential free fall with only a thin safety net below. The laid-off retail store worker, assembly line worker, or even mid-level manager is not going to be handed that golden parachute on the way out the door.

Perhaps if those in power faced the same dire fears and uncertainties in the midst of a cruel economy — or at least could summon some empathy for those who do — we’d see a different attitude coming from Wall Street and Washington D.C. when it comes to unemployment benefits, Social Security, medical care, student financial aid, and the like. But on this July 4th weekend, I’m afraid that plutocracy remains a term for our times.

7 responses

  1. I have whined about this disparity many times in posts and in conversations with friends. You have written it very professionally and I appreciate your post.

    Unfortunately, our current system is doomed to repeat this disparity for the simple reason that the people who are in positions to change the rules are the very ones who are relying on the rules staying the same.

    Many times I’ve had to watch environmental and food service workers be laid off from jobs paying $8.00 an hour because the CEO couldn’t think of another way to save money — like perhaps just REDUCING his annual bonus from $3,000,000 to $2,000,000. This wouldn’t even touch his actual million dollar income.

    But that would require his realizing that the minions under him are real people and these real people may have even helped him get where he is.

  2. Ironically, companies would not exist without those dedicated hard working employees that are in the trenches for their employers yet are tossed asside without regard.

  3. So very true,I was recently terminated for
    a scenario H.R. concocted while I was on vacation
    the CEO initiated it,what I do not understand
    is how can they fabricate something so ridiculous
    that is completely false, and I am accused of
    lying, I was so angry that I sent OBAMA a letter
    in regards to work place bullying.

  4. David, I am not sure what this has to do with workplace bullying. But who cares. An important message Wonderfully stated. Keep up the good work. Rich PS: I read every Blog!

    • Rich, thanks much! There’s a lot on this blog about workplace bullying, obviously, but I also write a lot about employment law & policy, labor relations, and the overall state of the economy.

  5. Today’s NYT has an article on CEO pay raises going up by 20% or more this year. July 2, 2011
    We Knew They Got Raises. But This?
    By PRADNYA JOSHI

    We have the vote but we won’t use it. The middle and working classes allow the rich to pit us against each other, a strategy thast seems to work all the time. That is why we have a plutocracy.

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