And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I may not be a business major, but....

Ok. I am "confusticated". I went back to work last night as planned, had to go in early for a meeting. The focus eventually turned to the new health insurance plan the company is implimenting July 1st. Basically, the new plan is so bad it would be cheaper to have no insurance and just pay for everything out of pocket. What a mess. Anyway, the reason the company says they are doing this is because with the rising costs of health care and their belief that employees on their ins. program have been "over-using" their health plan, the company can no longer afford the plan they have had forever. Just about every company I have ever worked for has done this same thing, so while it is upsetting to be looking a new plan in the face at 18 weeks pregnant I was not surprised or even too angry. I figure it's just the way businesses do things now. Here is what gets my knickers all in a twist. The owner of the company was quoted as saying that the company "only made $500,000 in profit last year. That is all I made. We are all in this together". Ok. Wait. Ummm, did you just say you ONLY made $500,000 last year? Tell me that a huge chunk of that had to go back into the company for something or other. No, that doesn't make sense, profit is profit. You know, the after expenses money. So I am supposed to feel sorry for you with your 3 houses in 3 different states, month long vacations, yearly trips to Disneyland with your kids, and your measly $500,000 a year. What?!!! I made, what, 1/25th of that last year? And I haven't been on a vacation where I actually went anywhere in 10 yrs. And I am supposed to feel sorry for you?

I really keep hoping that my lacking of understanding of the business world is making this sound worse than it is, but I have a sinking feeling that she meant exactly what she said. I don't mean to sound like I am money hungry, because that just isn't true. I still work for peanuts because I choose to do work I find rewarding rather than work that pays well. I have turned down promotions because they take me away from the work I love to do. However, when your employees are working for wages that keep them right around poverty level it seems a little crass to wave your 6 figure salary in their face. It did nothing to reassure me that the company knows anything about their staff or the life choices they have to make. How would someone who has that much money coming in know about worrying about if you can AFFORD to take your kid to the doctor because your insurance sucks? They obviously have never sat up at night praying their children's earache will be gone by morning or that the fever will go down with some Tylenol because one more trip to the doctor is going to put you on the fast track to bankruptcy.

And then I start thinking about what in the world could a person spend that amount of money on. It has to be a wasteful lifestyle. I mean, how big would your house have to be to justify spending all that money? How many designer clothes would you have to have in your closet? How big of an SUV? What would you really have to do to spend that much money? I honestly don't think I could think of ways to spend it all. I remember the first year after my DD was born, I got a huge tax return due to being a single mom, in college, etc. etc. I paid off my bills, my car, and then took the rest shopping. I never even spent $1,000. I just couldn't think of things I needed and would use. At the time I was actually upset I couldn't find ways to spend it all. I had envisioned this glamorous shopping spree and piles of goodies. Instead I got exhausted from fighting crowds, a bellyache from the fast food at the mall, and sore feet. I guess I am just not cut out for the lifestyles of the rich. Heaven help me if I ever do win the lottery.


e4 said...

I guess the significance of that profit depends on how big the company is. If it's a five million dollar company, a half million profit is pretty darn good. If it's a five hundred million dollar company, that's not much better than breaking even.

My company is very open about finances and talks to us about them regularly, so I have a better understanding than I used to. Profit from this year might be invested in new equipment, it might be set aside for future projects, or it might be already spent on next year's increased widget costs.

It's not going into some exective's pocket though. His paycheck and bonuses are treated as expenses, just like yours. Anything after all the expenses are paid is profit. It belongs to the company.

Of course that doesn't mean he's not using 20 dollar bills as wallpaper, but the half million dollar profit isn't sitting in his bank account, it's sitting in the company's bank account. (Figuratively, at least.)

Well, unless you work somewhere like Enron or WorldCom. Then, who knows.

e4 said...

Sorry, change "he" to "she". I missed the gender there...

barefoot gardener said...

Thanks for explaining. While I know the "brass" have to make much more than us grunts, it's reassuring to know that they don't get it all.