As a taxpayer here in the Ocean State, it caught my attention a couple of years ago to read that Betsy Wall, marketing fall gal for the state’s “Cooler and Warmer” debacle, breezed out of the governor's office having served a back-breaking four months, with a severance package worth approximately $67,500. Whew!
Looking more closely, that is just one more example, in a growing list of them, that firmly cements for me the goal I have of being fired. I am actively seeking, searching, and praying for my pink slip. There is, however, a caveat here. I want a golden parachute. And not the usual one either with two weeks severance and health insurance for a couple of months. Uh-uh. I want what they had.
And who's "they?"
The name Stanley O'Neal comes to mind. He the former president, CEO, and chairman of the board of Merrill Lynch who at his peak fired 24,000 people, demoted 19 major executives, cut out all perks, and brought the company to its highest moment in recorded history. Then the sub-prime mortgage crisis hit globally, and Merrill Lynch began to lose and lose big-time. When the figure reached a staggering $8 billion loss, O’Neal was shown the door.
But he didn’t get a severance package and a few months of health insurance. Not at all. However don’t feel too bad for the guy. Old Stanley wound up with $161.5 million in cash, stock, and options. They call it a “golden parachute.” I call it “my goal for 2018.”
In 2005, Syracuse University nabbed Greg Robinson as their new head football coach and patted themselves on the back for their great good fortune in acquiring him. Robinson had two Super Bowl rings to his credit as a defensive coach with the Denver Broncos. But history was not to repeat itself. By the end of the 2008 Syracuse University football season, Robinson had racked up a 9-36 overall record, 3-24 in the Big East.
No one gave him a ring.
Instead they gave him a pink slip, but it came attached to something else. A golden parachute. Robinson, who had accrued the worst four-year run in the 127-year history of the Syracuse University football program, strolled out of snowy Central New York, having to make do on $1.3 million and benefits since that occurred during the year of the great recession, some 10 years ago.
It has even been reported that the now-defunct investment bankers Lehman Brothers had cleverly arranged millions in bonuses for soon-to-be fired executives even as they were whining and pleading for a federal bailout!
Indeed the sweetest sound heard on Wall Street in the past few years for those in the upper echelon have been the words “You’re fired!” Those guys never walk out with a modest pension and their belongings stuffed in a cardboard box they got from the local liquor store … they float out, blissfully tethered to the billowing satin cord of that shiny parachute.
Consider this example: the 2016 one-week vice presidential candidate, Carly Fiorina, forced to resign as head of Hewlett-Packard, was also forced to accept a $42 million golden handshake. I imagine she’s shopping at Savers these days.
So I’ve decided I’m going to stop writing right now and get my resume in order. Make sure it’s neatly done on plover bond 100 weight paper as well as professionally designed and posted on social media. I’ll buy a few smart business suits, have my hair cut and styled, grab a manicure, and have my car detailed till it sparkles.
Then when you’re ready to call me in for an interview with your company, I’ll be ready. I’ll give you my all, show up promptly every day, be ever mindful of your bottom line at all times, work hard, stay late, work overtime with nary a wince, and be creative, successful, and innovative. You may ask all you want of me, and in return I will ask but one thing of you.
When the time is right; and hopefully, that won’t be too long into our relationship, fire me. With cash. With stock options. With health insurance benefits for life. Just let me go.
Rona Mann has been a freelance writer for The Sun for 17 years, including her “In Their Shoes” features. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-539-7762.