The CEO Disconnect

I know I said before that the CEO of the company I work for gave a “state of the company” presentation last month or the month before.  He spoke about how our company is not affected by the economic downturn, that the company’s sales are still increasing.  Since we sell to stores like Sonic (and that’s one that he gave as an example), the company’s sales will continue to increase. 

 However, according to Forbes, same-store sales for Sonic were positive for franchised drive-ins, but negative for partner locations, leading to an overall negative same store sales outlook.  They’re also blaming softening consumer spending and increased prices.  Hmmm… that doesn’t sound too positive for the company I’m working for 😛

Let’s add to this whole situation with more interesting news in the disconnect between perception and reality.  The company I work for offers downpayment assistance for first time homebuyers.  To get this assistance, we have to complete a homebuyer workshop put on by the local community development office.  At this workshop, they were saying that we have a negative unemployment rate in this city, that we are importing workers because there aren’t enough people here who need a job. 

Another benefit the company offers is an interest free emergency loan once a year.  For example, if you get a cut-off notice for your electric bill, then you can get a loan to pay it, and they’ll take the money out of your paycheck.  However, to defeat the purpose of it being an emergency loan, they are now running out of money before it actually becomes available.  I was asking about it at the beginning of September, and they said they were out of money until October 7.  I called and asked on Friday, and they said they were out until November 7, but I had to fill out an application now if I wanted money in November.  Umm yea, that makes sense… I always understood it to be an emergency loan.  Obviously things aren’t going as well here in town as was implied by the homebuyer workshop.

To make it even more interesting, at the homebuyer workshop, they fully admitted that there is an affordable housing shortage here.  With what the companies in town pay, most people can only afford houses that cost under $60k or so… all of which get snapped up almost as quickly as they’re put on the market.  For rentals, it’s almost impossible to find one that’s under $700 a month, which is out of the price range of most of people in town. 

Yea, the forecast that we’re not going to be affected by this downturn is wrong.  I know we’ll get through it.  It’s just going to be a rough ride for awhile.  There’s always a plan in what happens, we just need to wait and see what it is.  In the meantime, I just find it ironic that so many company executives seem to think that things aren’t as bad as they are for their employees.  That’s the real disconnect.

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