Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 87 - Business Ethics

          A local recruiter called today about the same juice packing company I discussed with the Colorado recruiter on Friday. When I told her I had already been submitted to the company, she said that I had not. She knew this because she had checked, and my name was not on their list of candidates.
I thought this was more than a little curious. The Colorado guy had seemed quite purposeful and competent. I couldn’t imagine him not doing what he claimed to have done. The local recruiter seemed quite purposeful and competent as well. She also claimed to have a close relationship with the company and to have placed many candidates there in the past. I told her to submit me as well, but to alert the company that I might be submitted twice, and that, should that occur they should deal with the Colorado recruiter who had contacted me first.
I hope I have covered all the bases here. Stuff like this makes me nervous. It’s tough enough trying to attract a potential employer without being undermined by the idiots in the recruiting business. Getting submitted twice for the same job seems to say that I am doing a poor job of managing my own search. Any prospective employer would have to wonder how, failing at that seemingly simple task, I could ever hope to manage their accounting department.

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Interestingly, Henry also came to Albatross a couple of years after Ivan. Like Ivan there was something he wanted from us. Henry wanted to be an Albatross dealer again. Enough of the old regime had transitioned out of the company that Albatross was willing to entertain this idea. I’m sure that Henry thought that my presence there would make the pitch easier for him. I guess that it did because I didn’t have a problem getting on his side in this overture. I thought it would be a good idea. I thought Henry could move some of our boats. He certainly had a lot of credibility amongst our customer base because of his past success as an Albatross dealer.
You have to appreciate that Albatross prides itself on being a moral company. It was founded more than 80 years ago now by a family patriarch and passed down through three generations before being sold off to outside investors. After two such sales, Albatross still retained much of the flavor and character of the original family company. It is the only place I have ever worked that had a chaplain on the payroll and scheduled weekly prayer services for the workforce. This had been the environment in which Henry first became a dealer.
In the beginning he had been wildly successful, and because of this the Albatross management was able to turn a blind eye to some of his less righteous predilections. When he made the newspapers for income tax evasion amid allegations of laundering drug money however, Albatross was suddenly embarrassed by their association and promptly jerked Henry’s ticket. They had refused after that to have anything to do with him, and had even questioned my moral fitness to work there because of my past association with him. Now Henry wanted to be admitted back into the fold, and everyone seemed to think that would be a good idea, especially if Henry could manage to jump start our stalled sales.
Some wag once told me that everyone in the boat business is a whore. They meant by that that there is no genuine loyalty in the business, and they meant to extend that general ethical lack all across the board: from manufacturers to dealers and from sales staff to customer base.
That assessment has certainly been born out by my experience. Customers regularly work two or three deals at the same time with different sales people at different dealers in the hopes of getting a better deal. Sales people regularly change employers, and will happily transfer the lies they used to tell about the boats they now sell to the boats they used to sell and vice versa. Dealers will do the same on a grander scale.
Everyone it seems is on the make—all the time. In this environment you have to be careful what you say because the likelihood is that before long you will want to get into bed with the person or persons or organization that you said it about. Henry’s new association with Albatross was a case in point.
We signed him up, and Albatross looked to me to manage our relationship with him. Once again it seemed I was back in the business of trying to keep Henry honest. Oh well.


  1. It is ashame that the term loyalty is a thing of the past...if people learned how this term can be used in life on a day to day basis, perhaps things wouldn't be so bad. Words like loyalty and integrity seem to be nothing more than pr ploys used in advertising...Verbal contracts no longer apply...the term get it in writing is used more often than not...such a shame...
    I enjoyed your piece your voice was honest and refreshing...

  2. Thanks, Browneyegirl. My point exactly.

    The roots of the 'Great Recession' are not in arcane financial products and excessive risk, but rather the failure of ethical balance at the highest levels that made derivatives and precipitous risk seem attractive.

    The upshot is that the risk was spread through the whole economy, and now that the inevitable collapse is upon us, the cost is being born by hapless saps like you and me while the speculators and their bankers reap enormous bonuses.

    The CEOs, the lawyers, the regulators, and the politicians who live in the limelight are every bit as venal, petty, and stupid as the bottom-feeders I used to work for. They just play for much bigger stakes.

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Comments are always welcome. Tell me what you like and what you don't. Information, encouragement, criticism--I don't care. A day where I don't learn something new is a day lost to me.