April 23rd, 2004


heal thyself

My coworkers were bitching because our CEO got like this four million dollar bonus last year because he just did such a darn good job. We were threatened with layoffs four times, but it looks like the company turned a profit so, ataboy, CEO!

They were bitching about the excess, how no one needs four million dollars, blah blah blah and you know what? It pissed me off. I've been watching these public television documentaries where they show, say, a family of six kenyans living together in a corrugated shack the size of my dining area, looking around my apartment, and thinking about my own excesses.

A person can live just fine in this country on like $30,000 a year. Many even support families on that. So here we have engineers, the ones bitching about the CEO, who I'm sure make twice that amount. So I asked them, "Do you really need every penny you make? What if you were offered a bonus, would you say, 'No, I don't want it, that's wrong and excessive'? In fact, I'm willing to bet that if the whole corporation decided to do the right thing and just pay everybody just what they needed, you'd go work for another company."

Nobody understood. "Well, glad you're happy with where you're at," was all they said. They couldn't get over the jealousy of the fact that some guy makes millions and they just make thousands.

I've come to realize that time and money are both relative. In college, I'd study for hours, and then track season would start and I'd train for hours, and did the time feel all that different? What was I cutting? I didn't really notice. I just made time for it all. Same with money - you budget, you account, you get a raise, it's great. And nobody ever has time or money for everything, but we deal.

So I think the engineers are just like the CEOs. They were offended by this notion, but hey, we're both taking more than what we need, we're all living in excess. If I could, I'd give up my excess... give more money to my church, and amnesty international, and people who take care of kenyan orphans or whatever. But it's hard to give it up. It's hard for me, and I know I should do it, it's something I struggle with.

I get the feeling there are a lot of people in America who don't struggle with it, they just take. And then turn and criticize the CEOs for taking, as well. What the hell for?