Amazingly, A.I.G. is planning to pay $100 Million in bonuses after huge bailout. That’s correct: bonuses. Bonuses, as in: you did a good job, here’s a bonus. And why? According to the chairman of A.I.G.:
“We cannot attract and retain the best and the brightest talent to lead and staff the A.I.G. businesses — which are now being operated principally on behalf of American taxpayers — if employees believe their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury…”
First, it shouldn’t be arbitrary at all. They should get no bonuses. None. Nothing arbitrary about that.
Second, on the issue of retention, I would ask the chairman: where are they going to go? Has he checked the industry lately? There are lots of people in the banking industry unemployed now. They would likely to be happy to settle with a salary.
The NYTimes had a great idea. For the Home section of the paper, they…
“…. approached several New York interior designers (only a few of whom, to be fair, had ever espoused anything like that theory) on behalf of five people in and around the city who had recently lost their jobs and were beginning, by their own accounts, to go stir-crazy at home.
The designers were asked to remake a room for one of these prospective clients — whichever room bothered the client most — spending no more than $300 (just under the average weekly unemployment benefit in New York State), excluding their own labor.”
The results are impressive. Granted, you can’t buy much in the way of furnishings when you do this, but here’s what you can do, based on what these designers did:
- Straighten up. You need to get rid of things you don’t need first.
- Appreciate and rediscover and reuse the things you do have. Fix up some things that need fixing, either by cleaning them or painting them. Then highlight them.
- Get some good paint. For almost all these rooms, a good paint job was applied to make a big difference to the room. (Interestingly, all these designers used Benjamin Moore paint.)
- Treat your windows to some nice fabric. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but good window treatment can go along way after a good paint job.
- Buy a few additional low cost items to add some impact to the room. (IKEA is useful here, but garage sales and other ways of sourcing low cost items is just as good).
Check out the article and the multimedia: it has lots of useful advice for anyone, unemployed or not.
(Photo by Michael Falco for The New York Times)