How many of you here are familiar with the show Undercover Boss? I admit, it was a guilty pleasure of mine. For the uninitiated: Undercover Boss is a show where CEOs of companies such as 7-11 and Roto-Rooter completely change their appearance (with hair dye, a dashing beard, or temporary tattoos) and, under the guise of a trainee, interact with the hourly workers who keep their corporate machine running. There they hear the struggles and hopes of their workers all while participating, some who are living in homeless shelters, who can’t afford to pay for babysitters and college so they can rise up. After prodding they often say things like ‘if our CEO was here I’d say x’. At the end of every show there are three or four people who get called to the corporate headquarters, where the company bestows on them a gift of some sort; a scholarship, luxurious vacation, franchise opportunities, and in one case, $250k to get a family out of a homeless shelter and into a house! Pretty fantastic, yeah? But what if one of these folks who got a huge college scholarship decided a few days later that though the scholarship would help eventually, really a large cash donation would have been better, and that person became embittered and angry? Kind of crazy, isn’t it? Continue reading

DoctorWhen I was 19 I, along with two others, was promoted to the illustrious position of shift manager at the local Hy-Vee food stores. We got a fancy title for what was basically middle management, kind of like stock boys but with salary. Two of us were constantly worried about our performance; making sure things were stocked, organizing pallets in the back, while the other did a lot of showy stuff, parading himself around the upper managers in order to make himself look wonderful and making attempts to set himself above the rest of us. But what he did was alienate himself; he turned the store manager against him in his showmanship. He was so busy promoting himself and basking in his accomplishments that he failed to be aware of his other deficiencies.

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