"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
-Oscar Wilde
Brilliant at Breakfast title banner "The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
"...you have a choice: be a fighting liberal or sit quietly. I know what I am, what are you?" -- Steve Gilliard, 1964 - 2007

"For straight up monster-stomping goodness, nothing makes smoke shoot out my ears like Brilliant@Breakfast" -- Tata

"...the best bleacher bum since Pete Axthelm" -- Randy K.

"I came here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubblegum." -- "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (1954-2015), They Live
Tuesday, April 09, 2013

"I didn't want a 28-year-old brat from Wall Street telling me how to run my company"
Posted by Jill | 4:59 AM
Would that all CEOs where like Howdy Holmes of Jiffy (the baking mix company:

Not only does the CEO know most of his 350 employees on a first-name basis, he also has compensated them well, including giving some stock-ownership in the company. With an average salary for a production worker of $47,000 per year, the median family income in the little town where Jiffy mix is $72,266, which is $20,000 more per year than the median U.S. family income. While a Wall Street investor would want to lower this "unnecessary" labor expense, Holmes believes caring for his community and workers is what good business is all about.

When I commented on Holmes' decision not to sell off even part of his multi-million dollar company, he said "What would I do if I sold-out? Spend my life vacationing somewhere?!" The CEO of Jiffy has the right attitude. Our occupations, in balance with our relationships, give our lives meaning. To work a job just for money or to escape from community and family responsibilities is shallow at best. A visiting reporter from Fortune magazine described Jiffy mix as "a decidedly chipper workplace, with friendly employees who seem to be genuinely enjoying their jobs. They greet Holmes warmly, he appears to know virtually all of them by name, and none of it feels phony."

One of the saddest trends in American culture today is the growing disconnect between making money and producing value. Many of our best and brightest minds shuffle paper and money for financial institutions to earn big salaries, while the real creators of wealth — bakers, builders, farmers, inventors, teachers, designers, and doctors are loaded down by debt. Jiffy mix is a welcome trend-breaker. According to CEO Holmes, "Our staff puts more emphasis on internal and external relationships than we do on completing tasks. This is very different from most companies ... Our dedication to strong family business values, combined with real world professionalism has us uniquely situated for the 21st Century."
Holmes reminds me of the late Aaron Feuerstein, who continued to pay his employees after his PolarTec factory was destroyed by a fire. I wonder how long a society can survive when a rotating Board of Directors of the same guys keeps voting themselves and their hand-picked "leaders" huge pay packages while treating employees cheap pens to be discarded at the earliest opportunity.
Bookmark and Share
Blogger The New York Crank said...
There was a time when a substantial portion of American companies were like this. I worked for one. Our clients were others. The typical American corporation back then stood on four legs: duty to their stockholders, duty their customers, duty their employees, and duty their communities. The CEO lived better than his employees, but everyone made a reasonable living and the economy prospered.

The new model has tossed all that down the toilet. As a semi-retiree who lives partially on stock dividends, I've been besieged by proxies asking my v9.5 million a year, that one's to $20 million -- not including toys, ranging from "financial counseling" in case the poor bastard doesn't know what to do with all that money, to a corporate jet.

It's winner-steal-all, an outgrowth of the national corruptocracy in which we live, where politicians are bought by people who can't feel rich enough no matter how much money they make, no matter whose job they export, no matter whose decent life they shitcan, no matter whose bag of dividends they reach into to first grab the most generous share for themselves.

In France, this ended in 1789 with the guillotine in the public square.

I dread to think how it will end here.

Very crankily yours,
The New York Crank

Blogger Comrade Misfit said...
My first job was in a factory owned by a Fortune 100-level company. Every worker in the plant earned enough to afford to own a modest house and a late-model car. It was hard to get a job there as their turnover was very low.

Those days are gone. Companies treat workers as disposable

The New York Crank is right. It's going to end badly.

Blogger jurassicpork said...
This Holmes guy also reminds me of the owner of the Marston Mills right here in Massachusetts who also paid his employees' salaries, and even their Christmas bonuses, after the mill burned down and during the rebuilding. Even closer to home, about 13 years ago, the owner of Butcher's Wax in Marlborough, Massachusetts (the next town south of me), when he sold the company for tens of millions turned around and gave much of it to every one of his employees from the executives down to the janitor. Some of the checks were so big, he'd actually hired a nurse to stand by in case anyone had a coronary. The envelopes came with notes attached to the outside advising the recipients they'd best hire a tax attorney before cashing the checks. Many of them were 5 and 6 figures.

Guys like this used to be almost common. Sadly, they're the exception and hardly the rule. Now. we're seeing these punks coming up who cut peoples' hours so they can't even qualify for legally mandated meal breaks let alone health care and a person scheduled for 5 1/2 hours a shift (like my kid at KFC/Taco bell) is essentially kept in perpetual motion for all but ten minutes. And his shifts routinely run long past the 5.5 scheduled hours, sometimes lasting as long as 7 hours with hardly any down time (the other night I showed up at 12:15 to drive him home because he said he was getting out at 12:30. He didn't leave until almost 2 AM).

Business owners and corporate types historically have loathed their workforce but used to be bound by laws and good sense to do the right thing. Now, with the unemployment rate permanently high, they're showing their true colors and the depth and intensity of their unbridled loathing for their own workforce that put them where they are.

And they treat applicants like me even worse, sometimes thinking nothing of making people drive 20 miles or more in their cattle calls and then refusing to give us an interview, essentially making us drive 40-45 miles just to drop off a few sheets of paper with gas going for close to $4 a gallon.

This is a nasty, nasty country in which we're fighting each other for scraps and believing this austerity is a logical outcome and the way things are or should be. But the fact is, we're not broke, we're still the wealthiest nation on earth and we shouldn't be fighting each other like closely confined sewer rats over scraps and crumbs as long as there are people spending $1000 on gold-flecked muffins and $400,000 on inedible black truffles.

This Holmes guy is someone who could make me happy to work in a factory and we desperately need more people like him.

Anonymous Woody said...
They don't teach that in MBA programs.

Dad worked at GM, with their 30&Out program. He never really hated to go to work. And he had taken advantage of the post-WWII G.I.Bill, becoming a "skilled tradesman". Instead of working on the assembly line, he had a pale-blue-collar position. He only ventured to the floor when something broke down. His role was to do triage and oversee the machinists.

I feel like I'm getting a taste of what women have put up with, all these years. Corporatists use us up like a tampon and then throw us away.

Yeah, it feels like this ain't gonna end well.