letters and counting!
I was very pleased to learn today that you are a Democrat- hopefully, a progressive thinker. The more I learn about you, the more I like you. You are a woman- plus. Your degrees are not in business, but in history-plus. You are smart enough to have made it in to a club that only 8% of other women have-plus. And you plan to retire- so you don’t have to be a part of dysfunctional system-plus. So you are perfectly positioned to do something very important on behalf of the rest of us- speak up to your colleagues about what is happening. I don’t have to tell you that guys with business degrees are not the sharpest tools in the shed. I personally know a lot that found their way to Wall Street and their success is more about doing deals on golf courses and ski slopes than the result of a high IQ. The system as it exists right now is not sustainable. Everyone knows it. Did you see that Trader on the BBC about a month ago saying we are heading for a bigger disaster than before? Mutual destruction will hurt bankers more than it will hurt the 99% of the rest of us. Several recent examples in history offer a blueprint of how to extract cancers from the collective good of a society- Iceland, being a recent model. You all don’t want to be thought of a cancer, do you? I’m pretty sure you don’t but I’m not so sure that your colleagues quite understand. The social contract that has been broken has a small window of opportunity to be repaired- but it will take a collective sacrifice from Wall Street, not the 99%. It will require a certain level of patriotism that multi-national corporations seemed to have abandoned since the 80’s. Greed will have to be put aside. I was visiting my Mom on the west coast of Florida about a year ago and ran across my Grandfather’s retirement scrapbook. He worked for J.C. Penney his entire life starting in a storeroom and working his way up to district manager. That’s how you did it in the old days before MBAs offered a chance to manage people doing things that you did not understand and get paid a ton to do it. When he retired, they threw him a party and James C. Penney actually wrote him a letter thanking him for his dedication and service to the company: March 1970 Dear Lou, I cannot help but have a deep feeling of regret and loss to the J.C. Penney Company when I learn of the approaching retirement of a long-time valued associate, such as you. As you conclude your active Penney career, I wish so much to express my profound appreciation for your steadfast dedication, untiring service and fine contributions you have made to the growth and success of our great Company. I have always maintained that associates like you are Penney’s greatest asset. I am keenly aware how difficult it must be for your to relinquish the many responsibilities and activities which have been your for nearly thirty-seven years . I feel confident, however, that the ensuing years should provide new and challenging avenues of opportunities for the utilization of your special talents and capabilities. Wherever your path will lead, I trust you will continue to exemplify the Penney Idea and will always be a good ambassador of the J.C. Penney Company. May the years ahead bring you good health and much happiness. God bless you and keep you in my prayer. With warmest best wishes and kindest personal regards, I am Sincerely, J.C. Penney P.S. This ain’t no form letter. This is what it looked like when humans cared about each other and honored a social contract. Please enlighten your fellow Wall Street colleagues. There is still a teeny weeny bit of time, I think. Thanks.