Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Turquoise waters and little else

Two years ago I saw a management position within my company open up on, let's just say a tropical Caribbean island (which will go nameless so as not to besmirch all such islands). I told My Beloved and we joked about leaving our world and settling in to such a place, spending the rest of our lives basking on a nearby beach scant feet away from turquoise waters. How many of us wouldn't love to do that at some point? I asked my district boss about it simply as a matter of curiosity and never spoke of it again.

Last week I was speaking with a fellow manager as we killed three hours on a trip to a district meeting. He remembered the posting and did more than I. He spoke to the human resources rep that covered the off-shore location. I was intrigued!

Now, my fellow manager is a rather large (tall and muscular) individual with a quick wit and a very driven personality. The HR rep asked how he operated his location. Was he a demanding manager, very much on top of things? As is his nature he said he was. Her response was; you can't manage that way here. All your employees will walk out on you. They will also spread the word about town and no one will come work for you. Needless to say he was speechless. She asked; can you manage in that type of environment? He thought for a minute and said no.

His next question just begged to be asked as retail stores operate on a semi-fixed type of payroll model. In essence your payroll dollars are tied to your overall sales. The higher the sales the higher your payroll and vice-versa. He asked, how can you afford payroll in a store such as this? Her response; they operate with forty percent more payroll than the normal state-side store.

In our world life and work is about challenge and when you overcome challenges you build a successful life, albeit with a few bumps along the road. If you ever wondered why some places in the world seem to have little or no successes, this is one explanation; some cultures just don't care. Think about that the next time someone asks you for a donation of your hard earned money to help the 'less fortunate', and no, it was not the island of Haiti.


  1. That is unreal, even if I suspected as much from what I have read about some other countries, even the ones without dictators!

  2. I can't believe Your Beloved didn't talk you into that opportunity!!

    I will say that my experience in India was the exact opposite. Their culture is to never question someone in a position above you. I think it goes back to the caste system. Anyway, I watched managers cause such a mess because they told an employee to do something without understanding the situation. The employee just went along, knowing it was wrong but unable (or unwilling) to do anything about it. Very frustrating for an American manager.