We’re not really on the warpath, but The Accountants are on a mission of sorts. We wrote these songs for you, the people of America that get up every day and go to work. Whether you drive your own car, take the train, fly or walk to work, there’s a certain amount of crap we all must put up with before we even get to work. And then the games begin - the things people do that take the enjoyment out of the jobs most of us actually liked doing at one time.
Somebody has to do something. We want to raise our voices through music about what it means to live and work in Corporate America. And depending on where you’re standing, some of it is pretty damn funny. And some of it is pretty damn sad, too. Some of it will make the perpetrators downright mad…or at least we hope so. And for those who don’t like it please be assured, we won’t be laughing with you, we’ll be laughing at you.
Now, understand we are not rebels. But we do have a message we wish to impart. And that message stems from our work as a part of Corporate America working alongside every one of you. We know what it means to hire, fire, mire and retire – and just about everything else in between. There’s a lot we love about Corporate America, but there’s a lot we could do without. We love the fact that there are a few enlightened companies and CEOs out there who know how to treat employees, customers and their stakeholders. But there are far too many companies and CEOs who completely miss the point. Their attitude is strictly “grab all I can while I can and the wake that’s left behind me will be someone else’s problem when I’m gone.” Unfortunately, this seems to have become the rule rather than the exception. And who is ultimately left holding the bag of shit when they’ve killed the goose that laid the golden egg? Who else – you and me. Whatever happened to stewardship – leaving it a little better than you found it?
Most of us have to accept what some manager or executive in their infinite wisdom decides to give us. And the reality is that most boards of directors and executive managers are going to do what ever they want to do whether you and I like it or not. But that shouldn’t stop us from speaking out about what we don’t like. Or should it? Oh yeah, I guess they always have that diabolical lever they can pull to have us fired. That’s fine. Let The Accountants be your spokespersons. We are all too happy to write another song to tell the world your story.
Let’s take the topic of executive compensation for example. How about the spring issue of Forbes magazine where they publish CEO compensation; let us start by saying we will never criticize someone who makes a lot of money – after all, this is America and capitalism rules. But, for God’s sake does anyone really need to make fifty or a hundred or several hundred million dollars for running a successful company? Especially when that success, while often very subjective and questionable, comes at the expense of the employees that toiled for years to get that CEO where they are?
We’re talking about the phenomenon of the mass lay-offs or downsizings or “rightsizings;” these are people’s lives…people who have families...people who worked hard for you, Mr. CEO. And now you show utter indifference to them by offering them an early-out package that makes you feel good about letting them go. And we won’t mention that Wall Street loves those big restructuring charges you take when you lay off all of those employees – the stock almost always goes up, thereby increasing your holdings and whatever bonus arrangement you paid some consultant to tell your board you were worth. How many jobs could have been saved if you took a little less? How many people would you have around to help the organization get stronger and smarter and more efficient and help you manage through the tough times that surely are ahead? Or will you just foist the same work on fewer people and pay yourself another multi-million dollar bonus or stock grant because you’re so smart? Well folks, we’ve got news for you – it doesn’t take brains to do as you’ve done, just pure unadulterated greed.
The other thing we despise about how much you pay yourselves is that there are no adverse consequences for you if you fail. And this is the part where you’ve lied to everyone. It’s about risk. You’ve told everyone that you’re such a great manager and you put part of your compensation “at risk.” But you know exactly what has to be done to get every penny. And no one in his right mind is going to disagree with you because anyone that stands in your way is outta here. There’s no risk to you Mr. CEO. Not when we’re talking about making $ 1 million vs. $ 10 million or $ 100 million. It’s your employees who take all of the risk. You want to understand risk? Try explaining yourself to a single mother of two who just lost her job in one of your so-called restructuring maneuvers. You should try a new concept – it’s called leadership. The employees don’t work for you – you should work for them! Give them everything they need to succeed in carrying out the mission and you’ll succeed too. Set direction and steer the ship – that’s great! But when the ship starts taking on water, you don’t start throwing your employees overboard. Take one for the team for a change instead of showing everyone that you never really cared about anyone but yourself.
So, now you understand a little more about what’s behind The Accountants and the songs we have written. They are for you, the guy who commutes to the office every day. Or the girl shopping for venture funding to launch a great new E-business. Or you over there – the dude who can’t keep his hands off his mouse every time that Email chimes. Or the single mom with two kids who lost her job in another downsizing while the CEO earned a record bonus that year.
And if you view accountants a little differently after all of this, that’s a good thing. Sure we know how to count the beans, but more importantly, we are also keeping score. And this series of songs is intended to put a little more on the left side of your balance sheets (that’s the asset side). SO GET OUT OF THAT CUBICLE AND PLAY IT LOUD!!!
Chief Guitar Officer