- A Letter from “The Boss”
- Read on the air by Glen Meakem on February 28-March 1, 2009
To All My Valued Employees,
There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, the future of your job. As you know, the economy has recently changed for the worse and now presents many new challenges. The good news is, the economy doesn’t pose a threat to your job. However, the changing political landscape in this country does.
(Let me explain)
While it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a Back Story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see.
Sure, you see me park my Mercedes outside.
You’ve also seen my big home at last year’s Christmas party.
All of these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life.
But let me tell you what you don’t see:
I started this company 28 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living space was converted into an office so I could put forth a 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.
My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. Instead of hitting Nordstrom’s for the latest hot item, I rifled through the racks at the discount store extracting any clothing item that didn’t make a 1970s fashion statement. I stayed home and worked on weekends. I didn’t have time to date and in fact, I was married to my business. There was no “off” button for me. I ate, and breathed this company every minute of the day. There was no rest. There was no weekend. There was no happy hour.
Meanwhile, my friends worked at jobs with a limited, 40 hour work week. They arrived at the office at 9am and left at 5 pm. When they did leave, they were “done” and had a weekend all to themselves. They made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, would be able to afford these luxuries.
You, of course, only see the fruits of my labor and sacrifice — the nice house, the Mercedes, the vacations…you never realize the Back Story. Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail-out all the people who didn’t. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for.
Yes, business ownership has its benefits but the price I’ve paid is steep and not without wounds.
Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why:
I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don’t pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers compensation taxes. Unemployment taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates & regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes.
The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Is it me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2.2 million people per year with a flourishing business? (The guy who in part financed stimulus checks sent out in February 2008?)
Or, is it the government who through high tax rates limits my ability to grow the company further? Yes, they create some government paying jobs with my tax revenue, but as a result I can’t give you a raise or higher additional help.
Here is what many of you don’t understand … to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. If the government had instituted a tax holiday, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth. My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.
The power brokers in Washington believe the poor of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth-and this is the type of change you can keep.
So where am I going with all this? It’s quite simple.
If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I’ll fire you. I’ll fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child’s future. Frankly, it isn’t my problem any more.
Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I’m done. I’m done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship.
So, if you lose your job, it won’t be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about….
Signed, THE BOSS