What’s Good for the Company is Good for You

As I was flying to Chicago the other day, I experienced two things that really made me stop and question whether people really understand the economics of the companies that they rely on to provide them a paycheck and a living. I was on an American Airlines flight that had 140 or so seats and only 90 passengers. While this was good for me – I got to move out of the middle seat I was assigned to an aisle – I didn’t think it good for the bankrupt airline.

I then overheard the flight attendant comment that she liked the plane we were on better then the one she would be on during the next leg of her trip. A co-worker commented that he understood her liking the other plan better. Then the disturbing part – she commented that it was a good thing the next flight only had 40 passengers scheduled to fly.  The two employees then agreed that was a good thing.

Now, although I am no expert in the airline industry, I am quite certain that planes that are closer to empty versus those that are closer full make significantly less money for the airlines and the cost of the trip is close to fixed. The fewer seats without paying passengers on each plane that takes off, the less money the airline makes.

Secondly, while I had to wait for approved electronic devises to be allowed before resuming the book I was reading on my Kindle, I browsed through the airline magazine.  There was an article discussing employees’ rights to post negative things about their workplace and employers on social media. The article did a good job of explaining the rights of the workers, but failed to address their wisdom.

One example cited in the article was about a salesperson who made a public post about the poor quality of the food at a BMW customer event. Now, while it may be true that it is a bit tacky to serve hot dogs at a luxury car event, the salesperson’s actions will very likely make it more difficult for the dealership to attract the desired attendance at future events.  This hurts the dealer certainly, and it can directly have an impact on the commission of
the sales person.

Another cited example was of a woman making fun of the mental patients at the facility where she works. What is she thinking? Who would other people want to bring their loved ones to a facility that makes fun on the patients. They won’t. Again, no patients, no revenue.  No revenue and eventually no jobs.

There are two lessons (at least) to take away here:

  1. If you are not busy and inconvenienced at work due to the huge demand for whatever your company is selling, your livelihood is at risk. Instead of celebrating your comfort, try to find a way to drum up some business.
  2. Purchasing decisions these days are increasingly influenced by the opinions, reviews, and recommendations of others. Before you post something negative about your place of business, even when is well within your rights to do so, consider that it might not be on the list of the smartest thing to do support your cause. If the employees don’t even like the product/service, why should customers/  And if customers don’t like it, your livelihood is, as in the lesson above, at risk.

Perhaps we should all remember the old saying that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. As an employee your job is to both make more cake and support the efforts to get paying customers to eat it.


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