Friday, 15 February 2013

Talent or exploitation?

Lloyd Blankfein the CEO of Goldman Sachs when asked by the media about the question of high salaries; he responded very unconvincingly that we reward people for their talent. I am aware that people at Goldman Sachs are some of the brightest people around. I have interviewed several of them. They are known for example to have high IQ’s. Having a high IQ (mental intelligence) is one of the more obvious talents (of our many) which employers like to pay for. My question is simple:  If this gift is being utilised for the purposes of more revenue for the firm or for other people’s pockets within the firm higher up the hierarchical chain; then this is exploitation or manipulating people for their own gain instead of maximising a person’s whole potential for the benefit and the needs of others.
 
Earlier in my career at a time when I was somewhat na├»ve, I had made a lot of revenue in a well-known firm. We had a reward system that was so odd and hard to justify.  It was on the basis you take your whole revenue, subtract the costs. The costs included fixed salary, car, phone bills, support staff, office space and general extra costs to the company. (Note a much higher amount was subtracted.) You were still left with considerable revenue. 12% of this total amount was calculated as your bonus. I challenged the hierarchy and asked them where it all went i.e. the rest of the revenue? They did not want to answer. I had no idea where it went but someone out there must have taken it internally or externally. The question was not if I wanted more which was not the issue (I was actually content with my pay) No; but was I being exploited for my contribution? I knew something was not right and I began to feel dissatisfied.
 
In a more recent example, I was once approached for guidance by an honest, intelligent person with very high integrity. He was unhappy, stressed and having difficulty in his career. He had been a short while on the commercial end of a broking firm; together with his knowledge and skill he was doing well and contributing. He had spoken to his boss about his lack of fulfilment and general predicament. His boss responded nicely enough by saying 'perhaps we ought to lower your salary in order to lower your targets and that way you will stress less.'

These are just examples of many. More and more I am getting the impression that within the entire economy, we are being exploited through some of our obvious talents whereupon not only does this affect our morale but it also suppresses our ability to reach out in finding our hidden talent; therein lay unhappiness and dissatisfaction in our work. The problems can start in our very own human nature. It is pulling us apart. This has to stop and it has to change. We need this seismic shift in our culture and mentality. That is what we are looking for. It is not about the Chinese or other nations; forget about them they are simply copy cats. As Europeans we have been there done that a long time ago; plus they have stolen all our old ideas. Not to mention they are destroying their country’s environment to shreds and doing themselves more harm than they realise. We need to worry about ourselves, examine our consciences, our value system, conduct and very own thinking on our very own doorsteps here in Europe and to get ahead. There is little wonder many are all lost perhaps even paid not to think or to be quiet. Many of us have lost a sense of ourselves in the Economic system and moreover we are trapped which weighs us down from our ability to stand up. We have a major problem in our society and some of it is going on inside some of our very own companies and simply affecting people’s careers, private lives and honest aspirations.
 
I always bring up Barclays as a good example. It takes negative publicity and a few inside whistle blowers for people to act which is paradoxical in itself. I am glad the new CEO sees it and understands that we must stop our self-serving culture. Anthony Jenkins requires a lot of courage to change a culture and carry his vision forward. There are many more words we can use. The ‘me’ and my ego sadly not helped by the bills, our comforts and our home pressures. The take, the individualistic, opportunistic, the revenue targets, lack of leadership and the ‘I want’ altogether with a lack of purpose. I could go on. All this causes so much internal unrest, envy, mistrust, loss of conscience and lack of integrity. More so it causes unhappiness with the honest person and we are seeing it more and more. 
 
It is the opposite where we must focus in ourselves. It is about our uniqueness in how we are created to think, to serve or to make or to produce. The offering, service, giving, contribution, value added and real talent. This way our work will be recognised and it will be rewarded. Inspiration will come together with more ideas in our advance forward in humanity. I promise you.
 
We have to free ourselves and I say it again and again. We all and each of us have our talents some more obvious than others. It is up to each and one us to find them, to use them for a purpose and for the benefit of others and our society. Some may want to justify themselves, argue or blame and work very hard to support a family, increase our comforts and in any case our society does not help us as life is very expensive. Yes that may be true but I am not a slave. I am person who is unique in me offering and making a contribution who wants to feel rewarded. That is fairness. That is respect. I do not want to see the reward for my contribution fall into the hands of persons who undeservedly take it. That is exploitation.

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