I was recently sitting in a massive rented room with a large contingent of my fellow employees when fearless leader of the week walked up on stage. We had all been taken out of our daily grind to meet, mix, learn and prepare for the year ahead. As way of energizing us for the upcoming week he talks about the aspirations of the company both for ourselves as well as our contribution to mankind as a whole and then asks the question “What do you believe in?” He means it and wants us to email him our responses. I know mine but I don’t email it to him. I’m pretty sure it’s not what he wants.
I believe in the paycheck.
I believe in my ability to leave my house in the morning and provide my skills in trade for compensation with which I care for my family.
While the people up the corporate food chain may not like to hear it, while the company may actually do good things, while I may enjoy my work with them, my goal while working there is to feed my family. I am not there for them. I am not there for you. I am there for me. If they didn't pay me I would simply find someone who would. And I know that if they can replace me with truly equivalent someone who is cheaper, they will. It’s the reason the whole system works.
I have no illusions about the arrangement. I also have no qualms with it. It seems perfectly fair to me. The problem comes along when someone else decides to take my money by force and give it to someone else without my consent or input. I will and do help out my fellow man, but I do it at my discretion – not according to some nameless bureaucrat whose salary I also have to pay.
Let me earn my money, then let me spend it as I see fit.
Later, when sitting in the same massive room, the same fearless leader steps up on stage (its still the same week) he displays the responses on a screen for all to see. Mine isn’t among them – nor is any of them even close.
NOTE: in all fairness the question posed was not just self aggrandizing as my employer has and does make substantial impacts on the daily life of our fellow man. We do what we do. We make stuff that people buy. It makes their life easier and our pockets heavier. Capitalism works!