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Employee or Restricted Modern Slavery?

By Jesse Lopez 

The COVID-19 pandemic reveals CEOs and the rich getting wealthier while the rest of us are going broke. Someone recently asked me, "Jesse, what do you think is the best way to change that?"

That's a tough one. Where do I begin?... 

First of all, CEOs already receive an excessive wage to do their job. They should not receive bonuses when their pay is much larger than the rest of their teams' and employees' pay.  A better way is to reinvest those bonuses into the company's human resource - the employees. Let's base the bonus structure on quarterly, biannual, and annual revenue gains that can be redistributed evenly throughout the organization's employees, and based on tenure or seniority. The longer you work for the company, the larger your bonuses will be. Employees can then compete for incentives purchased with other additional corporate funds. This approach will keep employees loyal longer than companies that don't provide these benefits and services. 

Most companies fail due to bad hiring practices, which leads to excessive employee turnover without notice. Without notice given, other team members must step up and train new hires. This type of redundancy prevents the trainer from doing their regular work and hurts the company's overall productivity. Using the suggestions above, companies will retain employees longer, guaranteeing consistency in their standard operational procedures. These small changes can minimize new hire turnaround for those positions that people frequently quit without giving notice or resignation. 

A CEO is not the company. I argue the employees are what make up the company. CEOs merely supervise those employees and company operations to make sure the organization is making money while creating growth opportunities. Their job is definitely not to steal the organization's bonus money for themselves and their lavish lifestyles. Most companies put the CEO on a pedestal that they don't deserve without provability or a track record of successes. Chief operations officers, chief marketing officers, chief financial officers, board members, and possibly advisory board members surround most CEOs. So, it's not like they alone are running the organization. Or that only their minds and physical presence alone can do the job. 

The individual employee is the heartbeat of the workforce in any company. Treating the entry-level employee in the same way as a mid-level or upper-level employee creates a camaraderie that will benefit the organizational flow.  Staff members would create fewer hiccups and diversions due to their desire to work in unity. Everyone working together to make the gains necessary to increase their financial sustenance. That sounds like a winning strategy.

This slave owner living in the big house mentality that most big corporate CEOs possess is wrong, dated, and must change. But, the CEO isn't always solely who's to blame. Suppose the CEO does not own the company. In that case, their position is no different than Samuel L. Jackson's character played in Django. 

Have you ever called out of work for a personal day, only to be asked: "what for"? It's a question that leaves you wondering, "do these people think they own me"? They may indeed think they do. They pay you from the money made by their company. The money you need to pay your bills and survive. Monies they control. When you take that perspective, it becomes easy to understand how so many people in power could misconstrue employees as their personal modern-day slaves. There is a saying, "a good employee is hard to come by." I honestly think it's that "a good company is hard to come by." A good company values its employees, puts its faith and trust into its employees, and backs and protects those employees with benefits, services, or personal and mental health evaluations. I used to work for AOL way back in the day, and they had a putting green. At the time, I couldn't understand why. I never saw anyone use it during my employment there, so I thought it was a waste. I've heard Google has a kick-ass cafeteria. It sure sucks that Googlers are all working from home, unable to eat their company provided buffet service. Because I get it now; if a company's most valuable resource is the human resource, why not offer services that keep that resource happy and healthy. 

How can any employee do their job accurately when their personal lives or health are in turmoil? Technically it is the company that keeps the employee away from their families for an agreed-upon wage. But these organizations do nothing to repair or replace family or personal time away from our lives and loved ones. Do you know of any company that pays for counseling or couples therapy? Allowing for an employee benefit that includes weekly or monthly counseling sessions for all employees can significantly reduce tension and establish a better working environment. For that matter, top-level employees should have to complete weekly mandatory counseling since their heavy stress could damage the company due to negligence.

Have you worked on your birthday, or maybe an anniversary? If you have kids, have you had to go in on their birthday? Have you wanted to stay a little later at a party, but knew you had to wake up early to go to work the next day? That sure is a lot of your life sacrificed for an organization that barely knows who you are. Have you heard of a corporation that buys gifts for newly expecting parents or a house warming gift for a new homeowner? How about a free night out, like a paid dinner and movie to share with your loved ones? I don't see these big corporations making the same sacrifices to keep you employed there. Maybe that's why Americans only seem to keep a job for an average of 4.6 years. 

A lot of us are currently working from home during the pandemic. Can I ask, have you gotten any bonuses while working from home using your electricity, water, and WIFI? A reward for getting the job done while playing mom/dad, teacher, and school nurse for at-home students? At least some of us are saving some money on the commute; only I can guarantee we aren't saving as much as your employer is. They've cut their cleaning staff, stopped running the AC around the clock, and stopped paying for security. They've saved millions while you are staying home and working on your dime. Did you get your cut? How much was your bonus? If not, maybe it's time you start thinking about finding a company that gives a fuck about you. 

If you like your job and don't want to quit, encourage your company to implement these philosophies to create your ideal workplace. Get them to start team-building exercise or company-wide events like employee appreciation days, catered family picnics, or family movie nights. If employees have children, get them involved by having art or drawing contest for small prizes. A great team-building exercise is a company fundraiser benefitting a local nonprofit organization. This exercise allows the team to see their results, so they better understand their strengths and what they can accomplish together.

Capitalism is an economic and political system in which a country's industry and trade are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. In this country, big corporations own politicians through PACs (political action committee), Super PACs, special interest groups, and lobbyists. This corporate army prepares legislation aimed exclusively at benefitting corporations and not the people employed by these organizations. Why is this happening? Because our country's idea of capitalism isn't real capitalism, it's restricted modern-day slavery.

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