The title of Ethics Dunce doesn’t do Fort Wayne Newspapers CEO Mike Christman justice.
In order to “celebrate” his employees’ birthdays, and, of course, recognize his loyal staff’s value, hard work, industry and loyalty, he gives each member of his corporate family a small token of his appreciation on his or her birthday, and I do mean small token: a $1.25 token that can be used to buy a soda or a snack at a company vending machine.
How condescending, demeaning, disrespectful, insulting and, of course, cheap: the equivalent of a pat on the head. In the Gilded Age, rich men would occasionally drop nickles on the street for the street urchins to pick up. John D. Rockefeller was the most famous practitioner of this form of low-level charity, though he would use dimes. During the Depression, though he was still a billionaire, he switched to nickels. (Nickels in the Great Depression were worth a lot more than $1.25 today.) His beneficiaries were children, however.
If a lousy token for a soda—not even the cash, so at least a lucky birthday “boy” or “girl” could use it to buy something he or she wanted, but a token—is the measure of esteem my employer holds for me, that information is a lot more valuable than the $1.25. I now know that I am regarded as a pathetic urchin by my employer, who deigns to show his generosity and respect by acting as if I will jump up and down with glee for a snack, like a spaniel. He will get no thanks from me for this equivalent of a dog biscuit, for my loyalty and dedication will not be sold that cheaply to someone so devoid of ethical instincts and decency.That birthday token will find its way back to him in an envelope with an “I quit, you silly, pompous jerk..buy yourself a damn soda!” note, because thrusting that “gift” where it belongs would be illegal, though infinitely more satisfying.
A bit more of this kind of conduct, and Occupy Wall Street may get me yet.
Facts: Jim Romansesko