No corporate gut punch knocks the wind out of employees the way raise robbing does. Like Clark Griswold receiving a subscription to the Jelly of the Month club in place of a monetary bonus in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," taking away workers' bonuses is a morale drainer and, during these inflationary times, it can make their financial status more dismal. Of course, as long as the bigwigs still make the big bucks, who cares about the little guy, right? At least that's how Andi Owen, president and CEO of upscale office furniture company MillerKnoll, sees it.
zoom call from a ceo who cancelled all employee bonuses but took a $6.4 million bonus herself pic.twitter.com/SMZP6QQYCX— Warren Commission Test Skull (@conzmoleman) April 17, 2023
Owen went on a tangent during a recent company Zoom call, essentially berating her employees who weren't happy about the fact that she took away their bonuses. She apparently forgot (or didn't care) that employees could record her rant and share it with the world. In the meeting, Owen said that not receiving bonuses shouldn't be of concern to employees and they should instead, "focus on the future" and set their sights on getting "the damn $26 million dollars" the company needs to be lucrative. She went on — in an increasingly loud and angry tone of voice — to say that she "had an old boss who said, ‘You can visit pity city, but you can’t live there.’ So, people, leave pity city! Let’s get it done.” She ended her rant with a flick of her hands as if to say, "Boom."
Oh, but the story gets better.
With such a dire financial outlook, surely Owen is out here clipping coupons, pinching pennies, and having Hamburger Helper instead of filet mignon. Nope. While she lectured her employees for focusing on their own bottom line , the CEO took home around $5 million in 2022, which included a $3.9 million dollar bonus. Damn, lady!
Unfortunately, the gaps between CEO and worker pay tend to be as big as the Grand Canyon. Owen is just one of many corporate bigwigs who don't seem to have a clue about how frustrating that can be for the average, non-C-level employee. That could soon (hopefully) change, though, as some corporate brands have started slashing CEO's salaries amid widespread layoffs and, of course, stories like this one.