Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Human Side Of The AIG Bonuses

I was really pleased to see this resignation letter from an AIG employee published in the New York Times. It's about time that we heard from at least someone who's getting the bonuses that congress and the country are so up in arms about.

As the letter explains:

After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.

Perhaps I'm a bit sensitive to this. See,I've been in the position of being promised a significant (well, significant to me anyway) bonus if I lived up to my side of a business agreement. When the time came to pay out the bonus, the venture capitalists who made the promise found a way out of the agreement.

The whole notion that you can make an agreement with an employee, have them put in significant time and energy, succeed in their goals - and then not deliver on the promise you made to them is more than insulting, it's fundamentally wrong.

I understand people's outrage at what sounds like ridiculous bonuses (and perhaps they are). But, it should be our lawmaker's responsibility to take a calm and rational approach to this issue and not simply blame the person who's getting the bonus. What about the fact that AIG made the agreements with them? Or what about the fact that the federal government changed the rules so that AIG could get themselves into this mess in the first place.

There's plenty of blame to go around, but demonizing the people who had agreements in place before this all started, and who played by the rules is just plain crazy.

1 comment:

  1. If you don't get the "paid the bonus" while you are doing the work then it is always up in the air as to whether it would happen isn't it?