David Morgan, the former CEO of Australia’s Westpac Banking Corporation tried to justify inflated CEO salaries. It didn’t go too well.
Running a business is no doubt very stressful, but Morgan says the reality of being a millionaire CEO is “seldom openly discussed.”
Let’s do some simple math: Morgan was the CEO of Westpac from 1999 to 2008. His annual pay was over $10 million in 2007, the year before he left the company. As Upworthy pointed out:
“That’s $833,000 a month, $192,000+ a week, or assuming a 7-day work week, $27,000+ per day. If he worked 16-hour days every single day (which is surely not the norm, but let’s go with it for the sake of the stressful argument), that’s $1,700+ per hour.”
If you were to ask Morgan, however, you’d hear that CEOs have it pretty hard.
“Most people don’t talk about it honestly,” Morgan said in an interview with The Age. “Yes, CEO life is very glamorous. You’re recognized, you’re given the best seats in restaurants, and you’re ridiculously overpaid. But you need stamina. As the leader, you rarely play the grand final, but more an endless succession of semi-finals.”
“You can hardly ever relax, and that creates intense strain,” he added. “Behind closed doors, some CEOs literally weep.”
One social media user got the ball rolling…
Raise your hand if you’ve “literally wept” from stress at a job that paid you less than 40 grand a year 🙋♀️ https://t.co/KTSomQAyqh
— Frankie Zelnick (@phranqueigh) March 2, 2019
…and soon people piled on. The stories of hardship and stress that they shared are relatable for so many of us.
Here’s a story from “a temp worker in manufacturing”:
I worked for 3 years as a temp worker in manufacturing. I never made more than $11 per hour, and it was unstable work. I could be in a position for one day, or 3 months, and I wouldn't know until the day I was told not to come back. 3 years, over a dozen positions.
— The Technician's Apprentice (@sharon_odlyenuf) March 3, 2019
Here’s another from a retail worker:
I make $13.50/hour. It's retail, so I stand all day, and also have to coddle the emotions of abusive people. The walk-in is a good place to cry because it's cold and people can't see you through the peephole. I've had office jobs ($30k, $28k) where I cried outside on the street.
— Katherine M. Hill (@KatherineInBK) March 2, 2019
Here’s a story from a mother who gets by on a combined income of less than $40,000 a year:
My spouse and mine combined income is less than 40k. We have 4 kids still at home. I "literally weep" at least twice a week and he has broken down so bad a few times over "being a bad provider" that he was physically ill. The out of touch rich make me sick 😓
— Heather D (@HDstarfields) March 2, 2019
Here’s another story from the less than $40,000 a year club:
For my last six months at a previous job I spent half an hour in my car having an anxiety attack six mornings a week for $34,000/year Canadian. In terms of hours I was expected to put in, I was working for less than half of minimum wage.
— Darryl Ballegeer (@darrylballegeer) March 3, 2019
This person posted a picture of themselves crying during a particularly arduous day at work:
This is me hiding in the back after a particularly hard day dealing with customers who want to pretend that I'm the reason their lives are miserable and that tearing down my everything is the only way to fix it. Minimum wage. pic.twitter.com/qw2T43u6y4
— Melissa T (@MTrenchick) March 3, 2019
Here’s a story from a woman who suffered a miscarriage and had to go back to work immediately:
Had a miscarriage when making 8.00/hr at Barnes & Noble, took one (unpaid) day off the day after I was at the hospital til 4 am, had to go back the day after that or we couldn't pay the light bill.
I cried a lot that day.
— Katie (@sothenkatiesays) March 3, 2019
Here’s another very similar story:
I was having a miscarriage & my biannual class observation by the dept chair had been scheduled for months (I was an adjunct at the time making roughly 20K). I was afraid to cancel class & reschedule – I knew how easily I could be replaced. So I taught a 3 hour class in a diaper.
— Rachel McShane (@McshaneRachel) March 3, 2019
This person described the emotional struggles they faced while dealing with a particularly stressful job:
Wept. Chronic panic attacks. Feelings of intense dread just at the thought of waking up in the morning knowing I'd have to go to work. Once I had a panic attack so bad at work, I literally passed out and had to go to the hospital.
But, sure, millionaires weeping makes me sad.
— John Lam (@AnxiousPenman) March 2, 2019
This person is an adjunct professor… and adjuncts are grossly underpaid:
I have a master's degree, and breaking 24k is a good year. Yes, I have literally cried. (Be nice to your college profs. Adjuncts make literally nothing, are not guaranteed work, and don't get any benefits.)
— Ace (@BlueEarOtter) March 2, 2019
Did we mention that social work is also grossly underpaid?
I work in children services in the UK, we joke that you haven't really made it as a social worker unless you have a breakdown in the kitchen/bathroom. Make less than £40,000, have huge case loads and we're cutting the work force by 50%, and closing all our children centres.
— Sarah (@Scissormonkay) March 2, 2019
Others pointed out that they wept more the less they were paid at their jobs:
I would even say the jobs where I've been paid the least are the jobs I would cry at the most
— worst schrute cousin (@cosmipolitik) March 2, 2019
I have literally calculated how much I got paid to cry in the employee toilet
— Bralyn (@joubertbralyn) March 2, 2019
Will someone please think of the poor millionaires?
Sorry, Mr. Morgan, try again. Come back to us when you don’t have to worry about going home to a house you might lose or an apartment you might be evicted from. Come back to us when you can’t afford to feed your kids. Come back to us when you have to choose between paying rent or keeping the lights on.
Being a millionaire doesn’t sound so bad right now, does it?
We thought so.