Imagine what would happen to your career if you failed so utterly in every aspect of your job that the result was the exact opposite of what you were aiming for. You would not expect a big leaving party with a strippagram, lots of presents from grieving colleagues, a hyperbolic speech from the boss praising your professionalism and talent and a big fat cheque in appreciation of what you had done.
No, more likely you would be given thirty minutes to clear your desk before being escorted off the premises.
Little Nicky Machiavellis definition of social justice is very simple, SAME RULES APPLY, so we would hope that in any business whether the failure was of a low grade hireling, middle ranking exec. or a CEO the exit would be equally ignominious.
Are we all agreed?
Right. So can anybody explain why when a clerk, a shelf stackers or a burger flipper screws up you would think from the reaction they had sold their security pass to Satan as they departed with the words and dont expect a reference ringing in their ears, the CEO of Northern Rock expects his severance package to run to millions while the recently departed CEO of the worlds biggest investment bankers Citigroup, whose wild adventures in the world of sub prime lending will cost his finance company billions (theyre still counting) will be rewarded for his ffff failure with a golden handshake estimated at $95 million. Even at current exchange rates thats a lot of money and makes failure an attractive career move.
And we have been told by politicians from Thatcher to Blair and Brown we should admire and seek to emulate Americas meritocracy. When it is put in perspective it makes our current economic plight (and theirs)more easy to understand.