Home > Uncategorized > Remote working pay cut?

Remote working pay cut?

from Peter Radford

When a large corporation goes on the hunt for a lower cost base of operations I doubt whether it thinks it will be penalized for what is a rational and frequently made decision.  After all if you can make the same revenue and reduce your costs your profit goes up. Yeah.  Capitalism 101.  If we all go about life in this way, and if we believe Adam Smith, all this pursuit of self-interest will shower society with the glories of social benefits previously unheard of.

I know, that’s twisting things a bit.  But self-interest in a corporation is most often expressed in the endless search for that extra little bit of profit.  So re-locating to a low cost base is a classic move in the well-read CEO playbook.  And who cares if your employees have to uproot themselves and take their families to a less desirable part of the country?  Tough on them.  They need to suck it up and take one for the shareholders.  Or that can quit.

Loyalty, though, is a one way street in corporate life.  Beware the foolish soul who settles in and falls for the human resource department jargon.

The halting departure from the pandemic is showing just how one-way that loyalty is.

I read recently that Facebook is quite happy for its employees to stay and work remotely, although it is trying to limit just how much time people stay away from those expensive offices.  The popular word — presumably more consulting-world jargon — is “guidance”.  Corporations nowadays are issuing guidance.  This seems to be a velvet gloved-yet-firm policy much like herding sheep.  There’s room for some individual expression, but just be sure to end up in the right place.  Zuckerberg doesn’t want to be seen as the dictator he really is, so he issues guidance rather than instructions.  The message is clear though.  Going full-on remote is not acceptable.

Especially, it turns out, if you decide to take your high Silicon Valley wage and re-locate to a low cost of living area.  How dastardly can an employee get?  The outrage!  Moving to a low cost area just to eke out a little extra income.  How gauche.

Yes, it’s true.  Facebook has warned its employees that their pay might get reduced if they have the temerity to move, along with their high-cost area pay, to a low cost area.  Poor Facebook doesn’t want its employees playing fancy life-style games or gaming the system.  Can you imagine the terrible example that would set?  Whatever next?

Facebook, naturally, is not alone.  Apparently there is an epidemic of rational employees.  So many of them have discovered the pleasantries of living away from the cramped and overly expensive districts in which their employers park them, that they have decamped and taken their big wages with them.  They are spreading the wealth into cheaper neighborhoods, living quiet lives, enjoying being home, and generally performing exactly how any sensible person would.

Obviously this won’t do.

Facebook doesn’t want sensible or happy employees.  So all those employees who pursue this horrible strategy of maximizing their income need to be punished.  It’s Zuckerberg’s income they should be maximizing not their own!

Those extra bits of profit rightfully belong to to corporation so it can pay big CEO bonuses and reward its ever-suffering shareholders.  The CEO of Morgan Stanley is quoted in today’s Financial Times as agreeing.  He’s clear: maximize your income at Morgan’s expense and you can expect a pay cut.  There is a rash of impoverished Silicon Valley corporations lining up to do the same thing.  The problem with employees nowadays is that they seem to have paid attention too much to what the big people do.  Only the wealthy and the corporations are allowed to cheat, squeeze, and connive.  Employees are employees for a reason: they are the squeezees not the squeezers.  They are a cost to be managed down wherever possible.  This idea that they might get a real wage increase simply by re-locating is plainly wrong.  It sounds almost socialist.  And that’s as bad as it gets.

Really.  This pandemic just can’t be over soon enough.  Employees moving to maximize income?

You can’t get good help anymore.  You just can’t.

  1. George S Gordon
    June 16, 2021 at 2:11 pm

    Also true:-
    If the companies pursuing a reduced cost base are selling to their own workers, which must be the case if a lot of them do it, the very same workers will only able to afford less of the goods they produce. Hence less profit.

  2. Ken Zimmerman
    June 17, 2021 at 11:27 am

    On the lighter side, if there is one, to complete the final paragraph: ‘slaves should know their place.’ On the darker side, all of this fits within several categories from the The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5).

    Dyssocial behavior* This category is for individuals who are not classifiable as anti-social personalities, but who are predatory and follow more or less criminal pursuits, …(DSM-I classified this condition as “Sociopathic personality disorder, dyssocial type.”)

    Then there is anti-social behavior fully presenting. Anti-social behaviors are actions that harm or lack consideration for the well-being of others. It has also been defined as any type of conduct that violates the basic rights of another person and any behavior that is considered to be disruptive to others in society or to society itself. This can be carried out in various ways, which includes, but is not limited to, intentional aggression, as well as covert and overt hostility.

    Or, in simpler terms: all continuiing intentions and actions of hostility or directly or indirectly inflicting harm on others individually or in groups is considered necessary need for intervention by society via legal, medical, or other means to protect society. You describe situations requiring such intervention.

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