Bringing you daily bullshit poop crap since October 6, 2009!
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Shouts from the Abyss
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Great illustration of context and perspective.
That’s just about the nicest thing anyone has ever said in my general direction. Thanks!
I have a great deal of respect for and am grateful to people who start businesses. I never wanted to take that risk. None of them think they made it on their own, but they did make the effort that most do not.
Here’s a typical small business owner: Help me lift this rock. It will take both of us in equal measure. In return, I’ll pay you 1/20th of what I make (after expenses). While the task is in progress I’ll treat you like shit and act like I’m vastly superior to you. When the task is complete I’ll fire you without advance notice. Then I’ll strut around the universe spouting about how I’m a bootstrap guy and did it all on my own.
It’s easy to say you did it on your own when you discount the fact that employees are living, breathing human beings.
That’s just my take on it.
My personal experience has tainted my point of view. No doubt there are lots of good bosses that truly do good things and truly care about other people. I just haven’t met them yet.
I was offered a chance to buy a business the other day. I was told, and I quote: “The books don’t reflect cash transactions because, obviously, we keep those off the books. This business wouldn’t be as successful if we reported all income. So naturally our evaluation of this business is extremely high.”
My coworker also investigated a business and was told the EXACT same thing. That’s 100 percent fail rate (2 for 2) in this admittedly limited experiment.
Is there a difference between a small business that is successful and plays buy the rules and one that is successful due to “lie, cheat and steal” methodology? I like to think so. But then again, I’m a ludicrous sap.
My experience with small business owners is completely different from yours. I don’t see how you can say your description is typical. Most small business owners work really hard and take a lot of risk. They employ people. You are always welcome to start your own business rather than being an employee.
Few business owners say they succeeded on his or her own. The president implied that, and he gave no credit for the tremendous amount of risk and effort it takes. Of course, he had to walk that back later. He hasn’t run a business.
I could say a lot more about the president’s speech, but I’ll just post this article instead.
You might find it hard to believe, but every small business owner I’ve ever met was dirty, in my opinion. Even a boss I respected did things like maintaining two different receipt books: one for cash and one for everything else.
And that’s just the typical and mundane justification sort of stuff. There’s also outright and energetic dishonesty and criminal acts. I’ve seen a lot in my career. Most of it demoralizes me.
WOW! I wonder how many of your readers are small business owners, and you just called them all dirty. OK, implied. Nice move. Maybe you’ve been in the wrong sector of society to think that all business owners are the same. I agree there are some small businesses that do the things you mentioned, but to lump all of the rest of us small business owners into a dirty cesspool and call it “typical” strikes me as close-minded. Let me open your mind with a view of my world…. oh my sky changes colors based on weather, but is currently bright but cloudy grey getting ready to water my yard for me.
My ex-father-in-law owned his own business (cab company for 3 years and a pillow-making factory for 9) and did not have two sets of books. I worked for him as an employee in the pillow factory. He treated all his employees (5 women & 2 men) like family to include twice paying a hard-working single mother a payroll advance so she could meet her rent. Now he did have to fire a different lady for constantly slacking, regularly being late, and sitting around lazily whining about her personal situation when she should have been sewing. He tried to offer her advice and help, but her solution was to ask to be paid under the table so she could get more welfare. I’m sure she did not like him when he said, “you’re fired”. I was his witness in the room for the firing and, since he wanted my husband and I to take over that business, I also saw his books. His profit margin was tiny, but he loved running the business and ran it to his dying day.
My husband (who is also one of your readers) owns a small consulting business. I do the taxes for him and we pay 27% of his income back out in taxes after all the legal tax deductions that in no way equal the total amount of his real business only expenses. BTW: It is virtually impossible for a 1099 business to keep double books because of the way the income is reported to the IRS. Not to mention all tax deductible expenses have to be backed up by receipts, whether cash or charge. Or maybe that is my personal honesty making me see it as virtually impossible.
Altogether I know around two dozen family or friends who have small businesses and of them I’d say only my own brother has come close to any of the tactics you mention, and I won’t say which. That’s 1 out of over 20 in my world.
How many of those bad businesses that you knew have gotten into trouble for their actions, either through tax audits or other legal actions? Have you ever run a small business? Do you understand why the owners should get a higher percentage of income, when comparing an employees wage to the owner’s end profit? Are you aware that in the first few years of most businesses that the owner may actually make less than his employees when you do the actual profit calculations and consider his actual labor hours into the formula? I really look forward to your responses.
On a side note: Those two “business offers” that showed you two sets of books are bad salesmen pawning a scam. Who’s to say the second set of cash books were not fabricated to make the business look better than it really was. They have to be selling it for a reason – maybe insolvency or running from legal trouble on the horizon. Glad you were not the sucker to fall for their scam.
Wow. This is one of the hardest replies to write. I wrote two long ones in my word processer and aborted them both.
I am glad you commented. I appreciate it very much! You’ve earned a place in my heart. I love your comment.
Perhaps I should write a book where I could freely go into the excruciating details I so desperately want to share.
Suffice it to say my experiences have not been good. In my world employees are treated like batteries. They are worthless necessities to be used up, tossed away and replaced. One manager used to tell us, “You can be replaced.” Ah, leadership.
A lot of the stories are documented here on the blog but that level of exposure would simply be fatal to most humans. I recommend that contact with my blog is avoided at all costs. I simply can’t be help responsible for the consequences.
No, I don’t believe ALL small business owners are the same. Some no doubt are great people. I’d love to work for one. For the right person I’m sure I’d be willing to take a bullet. I’ve just had “bad luck.” Yeah, let’s call it that.
If you and your husband read my blog, then you’ll know that no personal insult is intended. It’s just the way I communicate. I am a guru of negativity. Being offensive is my job.
If it helps, please know that I hold humans themselves in very low regard. I do not consider myself to be one. I’m a mutant and thus can safely claim to be some other species. I’m on record as wanting to leave this place. As such, I am officially a volunteer for NASA’s one-way mission to Mars.
I do try to be fair in my empirical observations of the world around me. In that regard my blog is simply a record of what I have personally seen, albiet a rather histrionic one.
For what it’s worth, I doubt that small business owners are any worth than the average human being. We’re all just people. It takes all kinds, right?
Lastly, I’d like to introduce you to a very good friend of mine. His name is Mediocre Fred. I’d very much like to hear you and your husband’s thoughts about his plight of existence.
Thanks again for the comment! I hope you’ll be around the Abyss for a long, long time to come!
I was tickled when you said you had to rewrite your reply to me a few times. I did the same because my original comment sounded really harsh and I KNOW you meant no disrespect or insult. I was hoping you would not take my comments as a personal attack.
I did feel emotionally charged and compelled to share my memory of Joe (ex-father-in-law). He was a great guy. Although he is dead, his type of personality and business ethic is not. My second husband, Tim (the current and last hubby), is an awesome guy too and has such great personal and business ethics that he has turned down contracts when the hiring company has shown their poor values. Of course he is a one-man company, like Jane’s husband (also using “free” spousal assistance). You’ve actually emailed each other privately before in a long conversation, so he likes you. That alone gives you one extra notch up in my book.
I am sorry that your experiences were so horrible. The questions that I asked were serious questions, not just thought provokers or rhetorical verbal stabs. I was hoping to hear that those asses that you worked for had gotten into trouble. Guess that makes me much more optimistic.
So what do you get when you hear an optimist and a pessimist conversing in the same room….
….a more realistic view of the world.
Peace, my new friend. I look forward to disagreeing with you more in the future.
I’m with Catherine. My experience with a small business owner is completely different. But maybe that’s because it’s my husband who started his small business. And by small, I mean that he’s the sole and only employee. Unless, of course, you count me (and sometimes the kids) who jump in and help (for free) when needed.
Oh. Wait. I guess it is the same experience.
I respect the opinions of you and Catherine very much. But be honest. You are both such balls of goodness that you act like positivity gravity wells and good things come your way. This makes you of little use in my negativity studies.
Seriously, though, you are both right and the sharing of your experiences (markedly different than my own) is much appreciated!
Tell your husband to be nice to his employee, too. Maybe an extra day off once in a while!
Guru Comic touched a nerve with this post. Stop doing that!
Truth be told that’s pretty much what I’m always after. If, at the end of the day, I can get just one person to say, “You are pathetic and you disgust me,” then I have done my job.
It’s not the end of the day but…you are pathetic and you disgust me.
Is this your best Saturday or what?!
Cathy said, “I don’t see how you can say your description is typical.”
Perhaps “typical” was a bad choice of words. It would be more correct to say that my small business experiences were typical for me. I don’t claim that all of them are jerks.
I have little doubt that if my employment experiences had been different that my #1 goal in life wouldn’t be to write a book called How To Destroy Your Employees.
When I think back on all the jobs I had it is easy to see how my opinions were formed. I’ve never seen an example of a good boss. Not really. So it’s only natural that I see them as cruel bastards who get off on the torment of others. It’s the only hypothesis that fits the facts.
Hi Beth! This is for you. When I originally skimmed your reply on my iPod I thought you said “ticked” and I was sad. But now I see that you really said “tickled” so I am happy.
The reason I had to go through several rewrites and do-overs is because I was verbosely vomiting into my word processor. I was going into excruciating detail about my whole career. No one enjoys seeing that sort of ugliness. So I tried to prioritize my points and still failed.
I don’t know if I answered all of your questions. No, I’ve never really been the “owner.” At the apex of my career, however, I was promoted to supervisor and a member of management in a major department at a big company. I think I was a good boss and I think I’m the kind of guy that most people would enjoy working for. I always tried to do everything from a position of respect and the golden rule.
No, none that I talked about ever got in trouble. In my experience there is no such thing as karma.
I did appreciate your compliment about avoiding the trap with that business offer. I think people get greedy and a little bit blind to how it makes them look. “See? The business is worth more than you think because I lied and cheated here, here and here.” Can’t they understand how that makes me distrust EVERYTHING they have to say? In my experience this is another common trait common to the boss.
Thanks and I look forward to the disagreements. Bring ‘em on!!
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