More on that letter from a business owner to his employees

Few SmartCompany stories have prompted as much feedback as Friday’s Letter from a business owner to his employees.


As we said last week, the letter has been doing the rounds among entrepreneurs in Australia and overseas.

A number of readers have informed us that the letter actually originated in the United States and was changed to suit an Australian audience before being emailed throughout the business community.

So while the letter is most likely from a fictional boss to a fictional workforce, it certainly struck a chord with SmartCompany readers and provoked some strong responses – both positive and negative. You can check out the feedback we received on the letter here.

Our blogger Louis Coutts has also been moved to write a response to the letter, urging employers not to blame their staff for their problems.

Finally, reader Gene Sikora from sent in this response to the letter from a hypothetical employee that has been posted on several sites around the web.


Thank you for your words explaining your life story and how you got where you are today.

Yes, we have been “rumbling” about the future of this company because we are paid at existence level wages and if the company goes under, we will all be up the creek – but we will take comfort in knowing that you took the paddle with you. At least we’ll know it’s safe.

You’ll be pleased to know that your Torana is still serving even though you dumped it for the new Mercedes you get every year – you see, I drive the Torana here to work every day. It’s all I can afford, but it gets me here and back so that I may make the products you sell which enable your nice house and new car. Oh, and the transmission is still defective. Wish I could afford to get it fixed; it’s a good, dependable car and with what YOU pay, I can’t afford a newer one.

We appreciate that you acknowledge our sacrifices in life so that you might live more prosperously, even though you appear to have nothing but contempt for your employees with your implication that we don’t actually do any work, all we do is show up and expect a paycheque. Yet, there is still product flowing out the door. Thank goodness for Magical Elves doing all the work, hey?

So, 28 years ago your friends were making a “modest” $50,000 per year at only 40 hours per week… are there any of those jobs still available? We ask because it would be a step up from the job we have with you that pays $28,000 for 40 hours. (And that’s in TODAY’S economy.) Oh, and we stay at home weekends a lot, too. We would date more, but for some reason, the people we date don’t appreciate a Big Mac dining experience the way folks used to.

Now the economy is falling apart and you are asking the people who keep income flowing your way to sacrifice so you can still get your new car next year.

As you say, you have, “state taxes, federal taxes, property taxes, sales and use taxes, payroll taxes, workers compensation taxes, unemployment taxes, taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him.” Oddly, all of those items help your bottom line because you deduct them from YOUR taxes and take your depreciation allowance, interest deductions, and all those other expenses of running your business. I used to be able to deduct my mortgage interest, but since the interest rates rose faster than my pay, the foreclosure ended that. My landlord still gets HIS deduction, though, thank goodness!

You may want to check to see if your accountant is stealing from you because it’s impossible for 14 of us to rack up $21,000 EACH in tax requirements during the last quarter. For someone who seems obsessed with their business, you are fairly oblivious to what’s going on with your finances. Of the $288,000 you say you deposited, how much of it will you be getting back when you file your taxes and deduct every penny of it?

That single mother pregnant with her fourth child waiting for a welfare cheque? Well, she used to work here, but was fired when her babysitter got sick and your reaction was that it wasn’t your problem. She’s been trying ever since to get a job but when people see she was fired, they assume it was due to nefarious reasons. And thanks to the welfare reforms passed over a decade ago, she has a limited time to collect those safety net cheques before she is cut loose to swim on her own or drown.

What colour Mercedes are you going with this year, by the way?

So, if you only make three quarters of a million dollars instead of the full million, your motivation to work and to provide jobs will disappear and you will run off to another country, hey? And you expect us to blame the Government?

What a whiny, snivelling, greedy, inconsiderate coward you are! You make it clear that you DON’T give a damn about your employees and their worries were NEVER yours, yet you don’t mind exploiting us for every penny you can gather.

So, close your company, move to another country, and retire. Spend the riches we have helped you to accumulate. Turn your back on your country – we’ll be better off without you. We’re at a time when everyone needs to pitch in together to fix the problems the “free market” has caused… don’t let the door hit you on your way out.


The hard working employees who keep your company going.


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