02 May “the one-two punch”
In last week’s episode I talked about the work from home window and I sort of jokingly said it might be more like an Overton Window before everything is said and done. Now here we are. Elon Musk basically blew up the internet because he decided he wasn’t even going to wait for a full tilt recession, a severe market contraction, high unemployment rates, some kind of launching pad, which I personally believe Corporate America will utilize to push hard and heavy for return to 0ffice policies. He didn’t even wait for anything like that to happen. He just decided, “To hell with it. I’m going to cause my own earthquake and say that remote work is no longer acceptable.”
And when I first saw the headline, I thought, Is this a joke or is this serious? But once it became clear that it wasn’t some kind of prank or it wasn’t a leaked email that turned out to not even be authentic, when he stepped up and took credit for sending it, everyone collectively was like, “Oh, boy, here it is. This is reality now.” I wasn’t entirely surprised by it because I’ve been waving this banner for quite some time now of like: Hey, this could happen. If you have enjoyed the ability to work remotely and it’s important to you to continue to do so, you need to read the fine print. And you also need to read the room, you need to get a vibe for whether the managers at the company that you work for are really pushing RTO. If they had their druthers is it sort of like, “OK, we’ve put up with you guys working from home, because you know, pandemic and global death flu that tried to wipe everyone out, but now it’s time to come on back.” You need to read the room, you need to catch the vibe. One of the worst things that you can do is live in a state of denial. Now, I don’t advocate for a state of paranoia and being hypervigilant and anxious all the time. No Chicken Little the sky is falling mentality. But you also don’t want to bury your head in the sand.
-“Well that didn’t take long.” published on June 16, 2022 https://www.buzzsprout.com/1125110/10736331
“A substantial number of employees have grown accustomed to working from home in recent years, but CEOs are increasingly issuing return-to-office mandates. Lyft is the latest example, but what makes its mandate notable is its timing. One day after new CEO David Risher laid off more than 1,000 employees, or about 26% of its corporate workforce, he told remaining workers they must head back to the office. The one-two punch may help the ride-sharing company avoid the problem of employees not taking such mandates seriously.” –https://finance.yahoo.com/news/thursday-lyft-ceo-laid-off-201702238.html emphasis mine
Wow. So essentially it’s: you’re lucky to still be here and if you intend to keep it that way, c’mon back to the office.
“Just a year ago, Lyft announced it was ‘now a fully flexible workplace,’ boasting on its blog that employees would ‘have the choice of where to live and where to work.’ They could ‘work from the office, at home, or any combination of the two,’ it added.
No longer. Risher, who assumed the helm on April 17, will require workers to come in Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, with Tuesdays recommended, beginning after Labor Day, he told the New York Times, adding that he saw the moment as an opportunity to have a ‘cultural reset.'” -Yahoo Finance, Ibid.
Imma say it one more time:
If you don’t hold it, you don’t own it!
If you don’t own the company, you don’t control their RTO decision. And no, it does not matter if they promised and pinky-swore that you could WFH forever.
So here’s the temptation: people look at this information and they go, “Yeah, but that’s not me. I don’t live in New York City. I’m not in finance. I’m not in Big Tech. I’m not in Silicon Valley. So this is not going to impact me.” Are you sure? “Oh, well, I mean, Sara, my manager, like, promised to me, with their fingers crossed behind their back that we would never go back to the office, and so I, like, believe them.” Okay. “The owner of the company said that he wanted everything to stay remote forever. The CEO said that she was committed to remote work.” Okay. Are you sure? Because there have been companies that said they were committed to remote work forever or indefinitely and now they’re telling people to come on back. This is like the financial phrase, if you don’t hold it, you don’t own it. It’s the same thing in the work world. When you are a full-time W2 employee for someone else, you do not own the company. You’re not on the board of directors; you don’t have some voting right in how the company is managed. You don’t have a say. Yes, you can walk with your feet and leave. Or you can put a comment card in the suggestion box. You can complain, you can try to see if everybody will get together and maybe have some kind of walkout or strike. I mean, maybe. But at the end of the day, if the owner or the board of directors – depending on the size of this company we’re talking about – if they say, “RTO or it’s your job,” that’s what they’re going to do. I hate to burst your bubble and I’m not here trying to sound negative. What I’m trying to do is, I hope, help you to contemplate this question. Because it really sucks to be smacked upside the face with a sudden, unhappy surprise.
-“What’s Your RTO Survival Plan?” published on February 2, 2023 https://www.buzzsprout.com/1125110/12125019
IMO, one of the worst things you can do is live in denial. Oh well, this might happen to someone else but it would just neeeeevvvvveerrr happen to me. 😣
“In February, Lyft announced projected earnings that fell well short of estimates, leading to the biggest single-day drop in its stock price in the company’s history. Compared with rival Uber, it has struggled to reach pre-pandemic levels of ridership among its users.
‘At some point, I don’t think of this as just an Uber battle,’ Risher told MarketWatch in late March. ‘It’s a battle against staying at home. How do we get people out? How do we get them playing and working together?’
He was referring to customers, but it seems he wants employees staying home less and working together more, as well.” -Yahoo Finance, Ibid.
“In the last seven deals that I’ve been involved with, there were 2.5 million stockholders who have made a pretax profit of 12 billion dollars. Thank you. I am not a destroyer of companies. I am a liberator of them! The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed — for lack of a better word — is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms — greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge — has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed — you mark my words — will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.”
Clearly, Gekko is appealing to the greed of the stockholders in the room by touting his own track record of generating billions in profits. $12 billion in 1985 dollars would be more than $33 billion today (https://www.dollartimes.com/inflation/inflation.php?amount=12000000&year=1985) One imagines that getting a slice of a pie that size would be pretty appealing.
A liberator of companies LOL. Politicians and their corpo cronies and their controlled mass media like to paint themselves with the same brush, n’est-ce pas?
Will greed save the US? Wall Street was released in 1987 and set in 1985. Did greed save the US then? Has it now?
It’s a battle against staying home! Why? Because America is a consumer economy. About 70% of our GDP comes from consumption. Do you not think Corpo America knows that? It’s time to please the stockholders, the board of directors, the important people. So the peons don’t want to give up WFH. Too bad. Tough luck for them. If we say it’s time to come back, it’s time to come back.
It’s not difficult to imagine the new CEO taking control and imagining himself as a liberator of the company as well. 😒