Apparently there's a study out that says CEOs can have significant influence on their employees' political choices. Now that's just sad.
It's one thing for a leader to inspire workers to eat Brussels sprouts, or eschew the cheap laughs of "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2" for the existential questions of Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal." (That's not going to happen.) But it's sad if employees feel obliged, or somehow think it could advance their career, to follow the leader right into the voting booth and do exactly as he or she does. And it's even sadder if they're simply too apathetic to make their own choice. Who wants a workforce like that?
As CEO I sometimes voice a political opinion at work, I'll confess, but not of the kind that the study's academics parsed and plotted.
A few months ago I created a brief tempest in a teapot around the office by publicly declaring that Donald Trump isn't a businessman, as I define the term: He doesn't manufacture products or provide services and doesn't seem to place the customer on a very high pedestal, golden or otherwise.
A few of his supporters took to social media to defend his honor and assail mine. Let me tell you, that kind of exchange is what makes America great.
But what Trump's partisans might not realize is that I hold virtually anyone seeking political office, and nearly anyone occupying one, in the same exalted regard as I hold, say, a mound of slime mold. (Before any mold defenders get upset, let me state unequivocally that many of them exhibit an otherworldly beauty that quite eludes either major party candidate.)
In fact, in my most cantankerous moments I might opine that all present-day politicians -- left, right, and pure, batsh*t crazy -- deserve to be shipped to Dante's 8th Circle of Hell, the same one reserved for liars, thieves and those who traffic in religious favors (they're called simoniacs, a great word that should be resurrected).
As political opinions go, that may tend toward the extreme, I know. But unlike some CEOs, I wouldn't dream of prodding my employees to adopt an attitude as disenthralled as mine. They're young (mostly). They need to believe for a while in order to earn the right to be cynical. And I fully expect that come November they will exercise their inalienable right and vote their conscience, not mine.
As for me, as I watch the coverage of this year's election, from "f-bombs" to the disparaging references to fellow candidates' anatomical dimensions, I can't help but think that the public would have no problem voting for a bona-fide ass, like our company mascot, Fanny.
Fanny comes with outstanding qualifications: She's never declared war or bankruptcy; she is neither cozy with Wall Street nor had a reality TV show; she's never had an email server, private or otherwise; and she will never insult anyone -- no matter how few legs they have or how small their ears.
In fact, she wouldn't shout, whine, wheedle, needle or harangue anyone, because she doesn't speak. If Fanny could talk, she'd tell you she's "The best ass for our times," and I wholeheartedly approve that message.