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Sample Letter

The CEO (let's call him Bob) of some huge multinational corporation (hereafter HMNC), just laid off (say) 40,000 workers, including you. Now he's whining about getting roasted in the press when it's announced that he just got a raise to (say) $16 million. This CEO is clearly in dire need of an attitude adjustment. Here's the letter we might write for you, as if from a loyal customer.

Dear Bob,

Cry me a river.

The amount of money you took home last year was obscene. This year it's only four times as obscene. Oh, it's not really that much because you can't get at it for four years? Poor baby. How much will the 40,000 you're laying off be able to get at in four years? Bob, you're not paying attention.

You have empathy for the "painful results" of HMNC's "restructuring"? How are you showing it? By dictating angry press releases protesting the softness of your heart? Anything else?

You justify the size of your pay package by saying it's "in line" with what other CEOs are making? If all those CEOs got "in line" and jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, then, I guess you would too.

And for what do you claim the right to this obscene amount of money? For leading HMNC into the bright sun-shiney day of market dominance? I don't think so, Bob, or else you wouldn't have to be doing all this pesky "restructuring."

Permit me to quote you at length. "Restructuring (i.e., firing a lot of people) to get a strong future (couldn't get a stronger verb, I guess) unfortunately (trying to make it sound like it was fortune, not you, who fired all those people?) does require force reductions (Bob, be a man and own up to what you're doing: firing a lot of people.). I'm not immune to (now there's a dynamic expression!) the emotions they engender (some would argue that the sexual aspect of these layoffs has nothing to do with 'engendering'). I'm deeply saddened by the pain and loss this is causing some of our people and their families. (Oh. Well, that makes it all right then.) But in the end, concern isn't enough."

Right. And this hurts you more than it hurts them. You just better hope that in the end, when you're staring down that dark tunnel you're about to enter, these words don't come back to haunt you.

By the way, I'm not one of your disgruntled employees: I'm a plain American citizen who reads the newspaper. And your sniveling offends me. That's why I'm writing this letter.

Bob, if you can't take a little heat for making a hundred times the amount of money that any person really needs, then give it back. Better yet, give it to the 40,000 you're "restructuring" out of a job. Even better, restructure yourself into that nasty job market out there. Then when you say you feel the pain and sadness of others, someone might believe you.

Otherwise, shut up.



Plain A. Citizen


Last updated: 7/17/2001