Re: Tuesday's news: cost-cutting measures

Subject: Re: Tuesday's news: cost-cutting measures
From: Andrew Plato <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 3 Sep 2002 09:13:55 -0700 (PDT)

<eric -dot- dunn -at- ca -dot- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com> wrote

> But, in this day and age actual benefit to bottom line is the last thing that
> affects the stock market and public's perception of a company. Investor's these
> days react far more to perceptions than fact.

Investors are quite sensitive to the realities and facts of business operations
today, now more than ever. The recent accounting scandals have helped refocus
many investors on fundamentals. It has also done a great deal of "house cleaning"
getting rid of firms that did not have viable revenue models.

However, perception does play a role.

>The performance of the company I
> presently work for can serve as a great example. While there have been
> glitches (to be expected in a project that is the first of its kind in North
> America) in a high profile project and the company has revised projected
> earnings figures the pummeling in the stock market is hardly justified if you
> consider that the current year is the most profitable on record, the order
> are full and can keep the company occupied for two years in all sectors, and
> they remain a leader in all sectors.

A company is also subject to general trends in the market as a whole. The entire
stock market has been getting hammered and this can have a detrimental effect on

Also, the business sector your firm is involved with can have a big impact on
stock value. For example, you could be the most profitable telecom in the world
right now, but there is such fear surrounding telcoms, that the big institutional
investors want nothing to do with them.

> In the current climate surrounding greedy executives and ridiculous golden
> parachutes, cutting the CEO's salary will provide far more positive spin than
> cutting the overall salary burden.

Positive spin for you maybe, not necessarily for the company as a whole. Good
executives bring a lot more to the table then a nice suit. Contacts, experience,
vision and all the things that a good company needs reside within the executive
staff. A good executive can have a much more profound impact on a firm than a
single-technical writer.

Moreover, incompetence is uniform across workers AND executives. For every
incompetent, greedy executive there are numerous incompetent employees. So when
cost-cutting is required, the ideal situation is to prune out incompetence and
redundancy at ALL levels.

> While fairly opinionated wrt how much companies should be held accountable to
> employees and the general public, I think that's a political discussion that
> doesn't belong on TECHWR-L.

I think it has bearing on technical writers because it can seriously color and
modify how you do your job.

Consider this example: You hire two teenagers in your neighborhood to do some
yard work around your house. The first guy is very good and gets the job done,
but swears and calls you names the entire time he is working. The second kid is
okay, but gracious and friendly. Although the first guy may be a genuinely more
competent worker, his piss-poor attitude eventually shines through in his work
and his dealings with you.

Guess which kid gets fired first when money is tight?

Your attitude toward your employer has a lot to do with your position. And as you
noted, Eric, perception often is more important than fact. Sure sure - you wrote
a great document, but you complained all the way through it and bitched publicly
about the greedy corporate executives at your firm. The perception among
management will more likely focus on attitude than actual work performed.

Andrew Plato

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