Sunday, February 1, 2009

Missing the Point

Just finished reading a piece by Andrea McCarren in today's Washington Post. She was recently laid-off after a long stint on local television news. She wrote that now she could more clearly understanding feelings of folks she had interviewed following their losses of employment. I was surprised she did not mention the loss of one's mission. Not everyone feels their work is a mission, but I did. Thirteen years after being laid-off from a nonprofit organization, I still cannot shake feelings of anger and disillusionment. Having survived four previous purges, when my time came I was somewhat relieved to leave the tension and drama behind. That feeling faded as I thought about the programs and services I had developed and run that allowed hundreds to help thousands of people. They were callously eliminated. I had mixed feelings about colleagues who kept their positions. I was happy that they could continue to do their work and receive a salary. I was equally concerned that they had to work with the axe figuratively hanging over their heads. Business failures, whether profit-making or nonprofit, are due to poor leadership. In a logical world, rewards are withheld for substandard work. Why do companies justify and pay huge bonuses to retain bad leaders?! Is new blood just too scary?? Fear and greed keep C.E.O.s of failing companies in their positions. Words of warning: Boards of directors had better take more responsibility or they could lose far more than their cushy perqs.

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