CFO gaffe: hit the Social Security cap by May
I saw a telling CFO gaffe once. It was one of those rah-rah-rah all hands meeting things where they get all of the employees to watch. This guy was up on stage answering questions about money and compensation as you would expect from the chief financial officer.
Then he made an offhand comment about "hitting the Social Security cap by May". This went by really quickly and I don't think anyone else noticed it, but I sure did. I did a little digging and found out that the cap for 2011 is $106,800.
By saying that, this guy basically implied that you'd have earned $106,800 in five months. There are seven more months in the year! Who makes over $200,000 in a year? Obviously, he does, but I doubt most of the people listening would even come close.
It reminded me of the urban legend about some president going to a grocery store and being completely dumbfounded by the bar code scanners. Even if that scanner thing never happened, it's still the same general concept of being out of touch with the ordinary people.
Then again, anyone who squeezes the employee benefits when times get tough is already out of touch with them. As soon as times improve, they're going to remember what you did, and they're gone.
In the meantime, they're just going to channel Homer Simpson and do a really half-assed job every day. Gee, that's a great plan for building a business: annoy your people and make them throttle themselves back.
That'll work well, I'm sure.