Sunday, February 7, 2010

undercover boss

My husband and I just watched a new show on CBS called "Undercover Boss". I honestly don't know what to think. The show takes a CEO of the company and sends him undercover doing entry level positions and shows his (and I'm sure eventually her) reactions to the work. This first show took a CEO from Waste Management and sent him to five different entry level positions through out his waste pick up and recycling company.
Now I guess I have to give him a little credit for admitting that he did have it pretty easy, got lucky though out his career, but the some of what he admits during all the work he does just amazed me. I've never been "rich" and I've never been really hungry but I know that when someone brings me a drink in a restaurant more than one person is involved in bringing me that drink. I also know that no matter what I do or where I go there are many people who are involved in making these things possible. This CEO seemed amazed that he was going to have to clean portable toilets (who did he think did this), that he had employees who were afraid of being even one minute late from lunch for fear of docking their pay, that a secretary had to do the job of four people, or that people can be positive while doing jobs like picking up trash on a hill or cleaning portable toilets.
One of the employees was diabetic and 20yrs on the job, still with a positive attitude. Another one had to pee in a tin can because she wasn't allowed to stop on her route to use the bathroom with out loosing productivity and missing her numbers. Still another one had her father, sister and brother-in-law living with her husband, daughter and herself. He seemed amazed that these people had to endure these situations. What amazes me is that there are still people out there that think if you don't have a six figure salary job that you are just not working hard enough or don't even realize these people exist.
There are millions of us out there right now, and before the economic crisis that most are facing now, that work hard at their current jobs and/or are working to improve their job skills that don't make tons of money and are scrimping and saving to make ends meet. I go to school, work part-time and try and keep my house clean. I have a 7 year old step daughter, a 5 month old baby and a husband that I would like to try and see on a regular basis. I can't work more because if I worked more then we would have to pay for full-time daycare for the baby and possibly part-time daycare for our older one. We make too much money for state help but if I went back to work full time then everything I would be making would be paying for daycare. We watch every penny trying to make sure that the girls have everything they need. Basically every company has 100's or 1000's of these stories and the CEO on today's show seemed amazed that he had 5 struggling families. There are so many families trying to hold on to what they have, or like us doing everything we can to try and buy a house. Trying to make sure our children are taken care of so they can grow up and be successful themselves.
This show is just another in the line of pointless reality shows unless it actually does what this CEO said he wanted to do, improve his employees working conditions. I want to see a follow up that shows whether this and other CEO's that do the show, will do things like redirect their bonus' and the bonus' of their upper level staff and not just fix the few immediate things they find in their week undercover but work to keep improving the lives of it's employees. During the show we saw the inside of this CEO's private gated home and his car service as he drove to work and then watched his surprised reaction as he heard about his employee's homes being foreclosed on. All these big money workers that whine that they can't afford their lifestyles with out their bonus' should take a good hard look at what the people that make those bonus' possible have to do so they can have a yacht, gated home with every damn amenity available, 5 fancy cars and "housewives" that don't know how to operate a stove or a vacuum cleaner.


  1. Great first blog :)

    Very enlightening. I will have to watch it sometime, or maybe not as it sounds depressing.
    As a boss/CEO I do believe these people are entitled to perks, but within reason. To live so beyond everyone elses means and have no clue as to what goes on "below" them is shameful.
    Maybe the show will help in the long run..we can hope.

  2. i think CEO's need the wake up call that is doing the work they expect. I thought that this CEO had the right idea. He changed policy that wasn't right. He also was able to SHOW his leadership team what he expected. He promoted a girl who was doing WAY too much for one person and promoted her. His managers can spot things like this going on, and instead of holding them back because they want to keep them, they can get promoted instead.

    i think this show has more of an impact besides the shock value of a CEO working. I think the reactions he saw were not shock that his people were struggling, but in that one woman's case, that she isn't letting anything going on at home affect her at work. she worked hard despite all the ongoing problems.

    welcome to the blog world, love you!

  3. Great Post!! Look I am a supporter of free markets and capitalism and all the things that make this country great. However, having struggled for over 6 months without a job has put its burdens on me and my ex and my children. I am college educated with a shit load of skills and still I am being forced to beg for consulting work where I can find it and starting my own business. The problem is there are some very greedy and short sighted fucks at the top who don't see it as we are all in it together, and if you are not making it you are lazy or stupid. Trust me I am neither of those not by a fucking long shot.

    The problem really is if the people in the middle keep getting squeezed out and can longer purchase goods and services what is going to support their bloated existence?

    Finally, let me say for the record I don't hate rich people not all of them are asses, but for those who are..Karma's a Bitch!!! Trust me on that one Sunshine.

  4. We recorded it because the local station didn't put it on until midnight to give expanded coverage of the Colts losing. Joy.

    Anyway, you description kinda reminds me of the new Kelsey Grammar show where the CEO of a company gets forced out of his job and he has to go back to his "hometown" unemployed... all in all it was stupid bordering on offensive. He was constantly talking about how hard real life was without his servants and stuff... wah wah wah.

  5. i saw this show previewed on oprah and i agree with everything you said, but all i could focus on was that the guy from WM had the house, the car, and the money, but his money couldn't prevent his daughter's injury/condition and I thought I will keep my little home, old car, etc if I can also keep my perfect daughter from harm forever. Glad to have found you.

  6. I caught a few minutes of the show, and my first thought was that the CEO is either woefully out of the loop, or he's full of shit. His company has a policy of docking an employee two minutes for every one minute they are back from break, and he doesn't know about it?! Yeah, right. He probably approved it at one point. That, or he's just clueless.

    Welcome to Blogland. Enjoy reading your husband's thoughts at RWVM, so it's good to make your acquaintance as well . . .


  7. I really don't think that the 'docking 2 minutes for every minute late' is a company-wide policy... I think it was a managerial decision on that particular site. That's why it surprised the CEO. Hopefully, that site manager was held accountable once the CEO found out.

    Personally, I like the show and think it may help OTHER CEOs that hear about it or see it to stop and take a look at the big picture... the employees that work for them everyday and depend on that paycheck. Not just productivity.

  8. i wasn't going to watch - I was editing pictures when my hubby started watching it. by the end of the show I was beside him on the couch almost in tears. it is now programmed into the DVR - a lesson all bosses should learn....

  9. Saw you over on your husbands blog and love this count me as a new follower!

  10. Saw you over on your husband'snblog and I just loved your blog!!
    I'm your brand new follower!
    Welcome to the blogosphere!!:)

  11. I worked for a company... a small one with fewer than 50 employees... where the CEO was aware of the output of the workers. However, the folks who did the bookkeeping had totally unrealistic expectations. Worse, they did nothing to produce revenue and were clueless as to why they were resented by the rest of us.

  12. Hmmm it sounds interesting actually. Was it at least a little entertaining???

    I think smaller companies in general are more for their employees! :)