The CEO of Netflix wrote an opinion editorial in the New York Times. It was an open letter to the president asking that he and fellow CEOs be taxed even more (from 30% up to 50%).
The difference between you and your CEO may be the amount of experience, skill level, industry knowledge and, perhaps, market dynamics. These factors come into play when negotiating your compensation whether it is your role or that of a senior executive. If your CEO feels guilty about their success, should you? Or is it the order of magnitude giving you safe haven?
CEO’s already “limit” their compensation. After so many wins, money ceases to be a meaningful measurement for executives. Once you can afford the college-days Top Ramen budget a thousand times over, significance starts to play a bigger role. By “significance”, I mean starting to solve other, perhaps even bigger, issues than running a company or a major part of one. Key examples include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Larry Page and Sergiy Brin’s One Laptop Per Child, U2’s One Campaign and George Soros’ Millineum Project. True, you don’t have to be a millionaire to give, but large scale giving leads to enormous impact. Successful business people give freely.
If our executives are taxed more or don’t spend their earnings, how does society benefit? Perhaps the rest of us should limit our compensation too and do our part. Here’s a short list of how executives or you and I can mitigate any guilt of being over paid:
- Hold a bake sale and raise money to off set your earnings, giving it all to charity.
- Say “no” to any monetary offer from your employer, be it a raise or a new job. Just tell them, “I just want to work here.”
- Offer to “cap” your work hours. Someone also wrote a witty letter to President Obama. This request was to put a cap on workweek hours. Work less, earn less.
Airing your compensation guilt publicly isn’t virtuous. It’s narcissism. Don’t talk about, but rather do some good.
William is the President of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He’s written over 250 HR articles, spoken at over 350 HR & recruiting conferences and he’s conducted over 1300 HR podcasts & webinars. William prides himself on being easy to find on The Internets, Google him, and connect with him via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
William serves on the Board of Advisors for Hire Wells, Worksense, Wedge, Optimal, Rolebot, Gustav, Humantic, TechScreen, altru, Brazen, Engagedly, Echovate, VibeCatch, Continu, Happie, Work4, and SmartRecruiters. He’s an active mentor with ATK LABS (Israel) and Talent Tech Labs (New York City). He was previously an advisor to Hyphen (sold to Betterworks Q1 2020), Causecast (sold to America’s Charities Q3 2019), RolePoint (sold to Jobvite Q4 2018), PeopleMatter (sold to Snag Q2 2016), Good.co (sold to StepStone Q1 2016) Smarterer (sold to Pluralsight Q4 2014) and a board member of Talentegy (sold to Jobvite Q3 2020), Chequed (merged to create OutMatch Q3 2015).
William is a graduate of the University of Alabama of Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University. William holds six distinct certifications: “Trustee Management & Development” from United Way Blueprint for Board Service, “Leadership Development” from Leadership Fort Worth, “Certificate in Nonprofit Management” from The Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations, “Trustee Management & Development” from Business Volunteers Unlimited, “SHRM – SCP Certification (Senior Certified Professional)” from SHRM and, “Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)” from the HR Certification Institute.