Thursday, April 16, 2009

What's Worse? Being Micro-Managed or Being a Cubs Fan?

This issue has been debated countless times (at least once) over the past 101 years...How would the majority of people prefer to be tortured---at work, having some asshole supervisor constantly looking over your shoulder for any possible flaw in your TPS reports...Or in your leisure time, watching the Cubbies play baseball during a typical season, which usually, for all practical purposes is "over" by the All-Star break, as they languish 9 games behind the Central Division leading Cardinals...or some other fluke team during that particular season.

Of course, there are pros and cons to consider for your particular preference for torture.  I've been micro-managed, but not for an entire lifetime.  Usually, a few years at a time is all I've had to endure.

The poor Cub fan has had to experience the emotional trauma of heartbreak, disappointment, or just plain disgust, every single year.  But, the "catch"---Once the pain and suffering for that recent season of futility ends, which usually coincides with Halloween, there's a period of recovery, where slowly but surely, false hope for "next year" starts to flash through even the most pessimistic Cub-olites.  The sad rationalization process begins..."If only Bartman would've gotten out of the way"..."If only Pujols played for us instead of them"..."If only that black cat wouldn't have jinxed us in '69"..."If only (insert pitcher's name) wasn't always getting hurt"...

And so it goes...Delusional rationalization.  However, at least there's that brief four to six month vacation from reality that rejuvinates those optimistic Chicago-land-olians to endure another inevitable season of torture.

If you're like 69% of American employees, your vacations from hell don't last that long.  Oh, you might take the family out to Wally World for a week or two, but let's face it...You can't get that pompous, back-stabbing so-called boss out of your head for more than a few minutes at a time, during any waking moments.  But then, you start thinking about the Cubs again...Is there no God?

Believe it or not, I really thought the Cubs were absolutely destined to win the World Series last year.  They not only had the best team in the National League...until the post-season began...They had that magical, incredible, and...weird 100 Year Anniversary thing going for them...Or so I thought.  Of course, I'm referring to the 1908 season, when the Cubs were the World Champions of the (smaller) baseball world.  Still they , were one of the greatest dead-ball era teams in history, and that ain't so bad...

Speaking of "dead balls", I remember the time my micro-managing boss...No, I can't say that on the air...There may be youths out there reading this bullshit.  Did I say that?  You bet I did, because "bullshit" s officially been accepted as a normal part of American business least as far as I'm concerned...If memory serves me correctly, I use that word, or a simple variation of that word about fifty times in my book, Life Under the Corporate Microscope, by Larry Underwood.

Was that an overly blatant attempt at shamelessly self-promoting my book?  Well, I certainly hope so...I've got to do it, because I just realized the other day...Nobody else is willing to do it.  They've got more important things to worry about...Such as having a micro-managing boss from hell...Or being a Cubs fan.

The debate will never end.  I truly feel the pain for either sufferer, and had the horrible thought race through my head...What about the double agony of being micro-managed and being a Cubs fan?

My heart goes out to you all.  If you're being micro-managed, maybe your boss will get that well deserved promotion to a higher level of the corporate hierarchy where yowu won't be directly impacted by their idiocy...However, just hope they don't screw up the entire company by having too much influence.

Sadly, if you're a Cubs fan, forget about it.  They won't win the World Series again this year.  In fact, they won't even come close to making it to the World Series this year...or any year.  That's just the way it goes.  I don't make the rules.  I just report them, impartially, as any St Louisan would be inclined to do. 

However, if I'm wrong (rarely ever happens), I suppose I'll be happy for you.  Bye.

Monday, April 13, 2009

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Life Under the Enterprise Corporate Microscope
Monday, April 13, 2009

The Wild and Wacky World of the Internet
The internet fascinates me more each day. I've been doing these little blogs for a few months now, and up until recently, was convinced nobody was actually reading them.In all honesty, the only reason I started this nonsense was to promote my recently published book, Life Under the Corporate Microscope, because after all, now that I'm finished writing it (the easy part), I've got to figure out ways to market the f*cking thing. There. I almost used the "f" word, in its full splendor, but realized children under the age of 18 may some how be viewing this and tell on me, or something.But I love my fans. A week or so ago, a got a nice little email from a nice lady, inviting me to be some sort of article writer for their website, Allsources, and of course I graciously accepted the offer.As a way of introducing myself to the Allaboutme website, I simply went back through my archives, and reposted the original press release from January. Apparently (for good reason) the Allrightythen editorial team allowed the posting to get...posted, but rated it on the lowest posssible denominator as far as "credibillity" goes.Who could blame them? I appeared to be shamlessly self-promoting my book, and as far as Allswell was concerned, whatever objective credibility I had went flying out the door.Stunned, I promptly submitted a comment, which of course was the only comment made...Stating the fact that it's sold a pretty good number of copies, and more arguing about its true credibility, and so on. I concluded by suggesting their staff take a look at how well it had been selling on Amazon, and how favorable the reviews were.Sure enough, shortly thereafter, they raised my credibility factor up a couple of nocthes, to "average", and that was fair enough as far as I was concerned.My next offering was a nice book review for my new friend, Paul Herr, who wrote "Primal Management". It's a great book which really blows the whole concept of "employee motivation" right out of the water...I was going to say something more clever than "water", but couldn't do it. Seriously, it's a book every CEO of every corporation in the world needs to read, and implement its strategy, the sooner the better.Even though my "credibility rating" on this one was only a "two", I suppose I need more of a track record to have them really believe anything I write. Again, I don't blame 'em.Apparently, stuff I post is getting read by more people than I originally thought (again, that was me and about it). Late last night, as I was checking my email spams, Allsources notified me that I had a response to my little blurb about Paul Herr's book, so I checked it out. To say it was weird would be putting it mildly.It began, in broken English..."Greeting my dear friend. How are you and those arround you??" In case you were wondering, that's exactly how everything was spelled ("arround", sure why not?).As the rambling progressed, she let me know that her father in Somalia had been "killed by our Government...accused of coup attempt..."Then she went on to describe her $4.8 million fortune and how I was supposed to help her smuggle it out of Somalia, and something like help her do something with it and I'd get the usual 15% of the take of the action. Sounds logical to me. After all, why not solicit the help from the world's worst investor to help her safely place all that loot somewhere?Still a bit skeptical, I googled her daddy's name and within two seconds had a list of exactly the same requests, from Bakersfield to Boston, trying her scam at least a thousand times. Here I am trying to sell my book, and she's wasting my time on her fiendish plot.So call me stupid. I passed up $720,000 just like that and callously refused to save her money and her life. How could I be such a beast? I'll tell you how...I've got other things to do. So Somalia, I'll see ya later, but hopefully, not tomalia, or the day after. Now leave me alone and go pester somebody else. And please don't come over to America and shoot me as I innocently open the door when my door bell rings. I'm on to your little tricks.Boy, these kids. What are they going to think up next? I think I'll head over to Twitter now. Bye.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What Really Motivates Employees to Excel

There may be only a few times in a person's life where they finally figure something out, to the point of saying out loud, "Ah, ha!  Now I get it!"  I just had one of those moments, and what was so nice about it was the fact that it validates what I've been preaching for a very long time; Corporate America simply doesn't know how to manage its employees.  They don't really understand the biological motivational factors that makes us tick; that gets us to perform our jobs at maximum capacity.

The author of a book (Primal Management) that is due out in another week or so, Paul Herr, was interviewed at length (one and a half hours) about his theory that human beings are driven by five basic, biological instincts that essentially determine what motivates us to enjoy our work and be productive, if we're allowed to let those instincts flourish.

Of course, as one might suspect, in the real world of Corporate America, only 31% of us are happy with our jobs.  In other words, 69% of us have "bad attitudes"; we don't like our jobs, especially since we don't like our managers.  What Herr is suggesting will probably sound far-fetched to the bland, passionless majority of Corporate America, but it makes perfect sense for me; a guy  who despises corporate bureaucratic hierarchies, and their regimented and micro-managing style of dealing with employees.

Herr's concept of management is to encourage our human instincts for fulfillment in our jobs, resulting in a more efficient staff, better customer service, and of course, a better bottom line.  He's estimating that the general lack of productivity in Corporate America is taking about two or three trillion dollars out of the economy.  How's that for a Stimulis Package?

Just as humans instinctively practice the art of survival by eating food and drinking water, our brains have five motivational "hot buttons" that need to be fulfilled if we are to not only like our jobs, but do them in the most efficient way possible.  Here are those five primal, biological motivational factors that need to flourish if we're to flourish in our professons:

1) Being allowed to think of newer and better ways to do stuff; to advance, technologically.  We need to be able to release our creative instincts in a positive and rewarding environment.  Too often, creativity is pushed aside by management who fears change.  Conformity is the safest approach; maintaining the status-quo is the way to stay out of trouble.  Of course, that philosophy is the best strategy to produce an underperforming, unhappy work environment; and that's the real trouble, folks.

2) Being trained properly to allow the employees to achieve a high level of skill in performing their tasks.  Herr equates that warm feeling of satisfaction to the excitement you derive from hitting the perfect golf shot.  You always feel good about yourself when you're able to do certain things better than just about anybody else; so, a well trained and efficient employee tends to be a happy camper; even if they can't hit a golf ball to save their lives.  Maybe they're great bowlers instead; and of course, their proficiency at making widgets thrills them to the point of giddiness; they come into work smiling, and reluctantly leave their work station when the boss tells them to go home, but are very satisfied with their skills and take great pride in their work.

3) Achieving goals; challenge employees to continually be more productive; give them  specific goals, and praise them for their accomplishments; again, this simply builds the employees' self-esteem, creating a nice feeling of self-fulfillment.

4) Cooperation and teamwork; everyone working together to achieve a common goal.  In this environment, there's no fueding, jealousy, or overly competitive and insecure employees trying to look better than the next guy; everybody's just doing their jobs proficiently, and they're all rooting for each other to keep up the good work.  Finger pointing and backstabbing don't exist in this environment.

5) Self-protection; this is the "button" the good manager will make sure doesn't get pushed.  By giving non-threatening advice; constructive criticism; employees won't feel like they may be getting replaced at any moment.  Those poor Enterprise employees last fall had to be absolutely devestated when the company broke its 50 plus year tradition of never laying off a single employee.  Just like that, thousands were let go, and of course, that leaves the employees who survived that initial wave of firings to feel more than just a little defensive and paranoid that they may be next to go.  Under this type of environment, employee morale is as low as it can go, and the remaining disgruntled workers start developing surly attitudes towards their managers, their fellow workers, and of course, even the poor customers. 

The best managers will give their employees as much autonomy as possible, to allow them the chance to keep developing their skills and give them that wonderful feeling of accomplishment which in turn gives them a nice feeling of high self-esteem.  It's a great place to work; everybody's one big happy family, supporting their fellow employees and striving to keep improving.

This formula for success is simple common sense.  All we're doing is letting every employee's natural desires to feel like they're part of the grand plan, flow smoothly throughout the organization.  Let's hope this starts happening very soon, in America.

The question is, can the mindset of an erroneous way of doing business be changed, quickly, in a nation full of bureaucrats in corporate hierarchies in hundreds of corporations?  Do you believe in miracles?

America needs another miracle, ladies and gentlemen.  It's time to revolutionize our way of doing business; to free our workers from  the tyranny of the bosses from hell, and get this country back on track again.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Will Twitter Survive Its Most Irreverent Twitter-er?

The answer to the above rhetorical question is, yes; Twitter will not only survive the mad ramblings of its most irreverent twittering tweeter, a guy known simply as "lau56"; they will flourish. 

I'm the guy who has this whole "management" thing figured out, and when I post one of my original thoughts for day, I'm not fooling around.  In fact, I'll even head over to the "ExecTweets" arena, where such gurus as Richard Branson and Mark Cuban can be discovered, make my profoud statement, and then do something else; such as post another blog on another site; like here for example.  Welcome aboard.  The captain has indicated the flight time to be approximately two minutes and 30 seconds.  Seat belts are not required.

My first post on ExecTweets was a scintilating experience, which may have been read by six or seven people.  There are no official statistics on that, so that's my ball-park guess.  Whatever.  It was so good, I think I'll post it again, just for old time's sake:

The only thing Corporate America has to "fear" is the culture of "fear" Corporate America has created.

Paraphrasing FDR was a nice touch, I thought.  I wonder if anybody else got it.  I wonder if anybody else noticed it.  Well, you're reading it now, so that's good enough for me.  Here are some of my other profond ExecTweets:

A successful company has a clear set of core values which everyone in the organization applies when conducting business.

The boss is not always right.  Some are seldom right.  When you have the right answer give credit to the boss, anyway.

Good companies often go bad when they get too big for their own good.

Often your darkest hours will bring about moments of illumination that will guide you in a positive directioni for a lifetime.

The true measure of one's character is not determined by their success; rather, by how well they handle their adversity.

Investment Tweet of the day:  "L.L.C." really means "losing lots of capital".  (Disclaimer:  That's only the opinion of the artist known as lau56 and is not necessarily a definite way to piss away hundreds of thousand of dollars.)

Every now and then, I'll put a humorous spin on some of the elite ExecTweets.  These are the top dogs in the Twitter business world, and usually four or five of these gurus' words of wisdom are featured, as they scroll across the top of the page.  In my opinion, some of these thoughts aren't all that profound, or are such obvious platitudes, they come across as... stupid platitudes.  I won't quote them verbatum, but here are some basic examples:

Confidence from the CEO is the winning formula for successful employees.  Oh yeah?  What about overconfident CEOs who make stupid decisions?  How does that affect the employees well-being? 

Quality training of  a company's employees will ensure the company will succeed.  Oh yeah?  What if the company's CEO is a nit-wit, with a staff of nit-wits making bad decisions?  How will a well-trained employee handle a business plan that is destined for failure?

My favorite came from someone who made the following hilarious observation:

Who needs a PR firm when everyone on ExecTweets is their own PR firm on steroids?  That one got my vote, folks.  I love it.  I think I'll head over there before retiring for the evening, to see if any other words of wisdom cap off a wonderful day. 

Bye.  Don't forget to order my book, Life Under the Corporate Microscope. 

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Life Above the Corporate Microscope---A Maverick's Peace of Mind

When you write a book called Life Under the Corporate Microscope---A Maverick's Irreverent Perspective, it only makes sense to write a sequel and call it Life Above the Corporate Microscope---A Maverick's Peace of Mind.  Granted, my original book was based on 26 years worth of experience, working for Enterprise Rent-a-Car; I've only been retired for eight years, so this next book is either going to be a short one (50 or 60 pages), or I'm going to have to get creative in my content.

I think I can muster up the necessary amount of creativity to make this next tome another interesting and compelling piece of work.  After all, without all that work getting in the way, life tends to be more enjoyable, and consequently more interesting.  To put it succinctly, I partied like a rock star (finally), made a lot of new friends, made some new enemies, and made some casual acquaintences who fit somewhere in between.

Naturally, I made some really dumb mistakes over the last eight years, but somehow, gained a new found insight about people, events, and life in general.  I'm getting philosophical in my old age.

In the meantime, if you haven't already gotten your very own copy of Life Under the Corporate Microscope, I invite you to take a peek at my website, and order away.  It's just that simple, and the book is just that good.  It's a good old fashioned jab at Corporate America, and it'll keep you so amused with my anecdotes, you won't to put it down.

That's all for now folks.  Now go buy my book.  Thank you.

Here's how to order:

Monday, March 30, 2009

Twitter Dee Twitter Dumb...140 Word Limit? Re-Posting Makes Me Numb...

I'm a recent fan of that zany little phenomenon the whole Twitter World is Twitting about...In 140 characters or less, of course...That's right; I'm a real, live, Twitter-er...and I love it.

There are a few observations I've made that may or may not be shared by others, but please keep in mind; I'm usually right.  I may ramble, but sooner or later, I'll make a valid point; I think.  (Yes, I do use semi-colons; that's what a real, live, author does; I think.)

OBSERVATION #1:  You will find a wealth of insightful information from intelligent people who present their thoughts, display a good sense of humor, then move on, without wasting our time about their nephew's birthday party, or how they're hobnobbing with the future Governor of Wherever.

OBSERVATION#2:  You are mandated by Twitter Law to state your case in 140 characters or less, per post.  Per post?  No problem, leading to...

OBSERVATION#3:  If you just can't keep your thoughts for the day down to 140 characters, simply re-post, until you've made your point, even if your "point" is "pointless".  It doesn't matter.  Babble away, guykawasaki; babble away.  At least change your profile picture every now and then, so we aren't forced to see that same stupid, silly grin on your annoying face, every single day!  Hell, I changed my picture, just to see if anyone would notice (I'm only smirking now; not grinning). 

OBSERVATION#4:  If you like somebody's comments, or if they like your's, by activating the cool "Following" feature (just a simple little click), you will gradually develop a terrific networking base, which over time, will  grow exponentially.  There are probably thousands of people who are mutual fans of thousands of other people, like my new buddy, Themelis_Cuiper.  He startled the shit out of me when he submitted his intention of following my words of wisdom, so naturally, I returned the favor; as did a few hundred other people the other day.  This guy knows what he's doing; for sure.

OBSERVATION#4:  When you are a newcomer, prepare yourself for a dose of reality.  You may think your posts are so superb, they should be immediately recognized for their genius by your peers; but think again.  Nobody will think you're anything special, so join the masses in that sea of anonimity for a while.  Hang in there; gradually develop a mutual following, and you'll achieve something or other.  Personally, I'm trying to market my book, so I can like, pay bills and stuff.

OBSERVATION#5:  There are a number of famous people who post their ramblings, and it's generally quite amusing.  Guys like Mark Cuban and Rob Cordroy usually put a smile on my face, lol or lmao.  Of course, some of these famous people are so self-absorbed, they actually believe anybody really cares about their upcoming fund raiser with Snoop Dog, or they just had a little chat with Obama about the lessons to be learned from relying on those stupid teleprompters to give speeches.  I had a little fun with Steve Case, the founder of something or other internet related, giving him a little dose of his own banal medicine, which I thought was kind of funny, paraphrasing something he'd posted; but Steve, it was only good natured kidding.

Now I'm going to email the administrative staff at Twitter with my thoughts on improving their little Exec Tweets format, which I'm sure they'll give careful consideration and review, and possibly implement within the next 36 to 48 months; or not.  But it's worth a shot; sooner or later they'll realize I'm usually right.

In wrapping up this first installment of Twitter Talk, here's my favorite quote of the day, from someone going by the moniker, "pblackshaw":  Who needs a PR firm when every Twitter user is like a PR firm on steroids?  How true, and now I'm a faithful follower of whatever this person has to say from now on.

Now go buy my book, Life Under the Corporate Microscope, a mad-cap romp through 26 years of dealing with Corporate America's dominant car rental force, Enterprise Rent-a-Car.  It's not only a "great read", it's a "must read"; but at your earliest convenience. 

That website, for further information:

For all you Exec Tweets, I'll be visiting with you tomorrow.  Right now, I've got to go do something very important, although I can't seem to recall what it shall be.  Oh well, life is so beautiful with me in it.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Magic of Those Search Engines

I'm not sure how many people are reading my little blogs; probably not too many.  That's okay, because with the magic of the internet explorer, anything I post that mentions the title to my book, "Life Under the Corporate Microscope", will almost instantaneously, pop up in those incredible search engines, giving the book more exposure, resulting in fewer sales.

I was just kidding there to see if you were paying attention.  I meant to say "increased sales"; sorry about that, but that's just me being me.

Now, if you were me, would you post more blogs and other miscellaneous ramblings on the internet, or would you go bowling instead?  As much as I like to bowl (btw, I rolled a 290 the other day, in practice), I think posting on every site imaginable is the way to go; assuming I want to sell copies of my book.

Gosh, I almost forgot to mention the title again:  "Life Under the Corporate Microscope", written by me.
My name is Larry Underwood, and I'll be your blogger today.  Is there anything else I can do to increase my search engine effectiveness?  I think I'm doing it right at this particular moment.  Isn't technology great?

In case you're joining me for the first time, hi there; welcome aboard the Underwood Express.  Destination:
To my widely growing fan base (maybe in double digits by now), and of course, that thing known as the Search Engine.  A few months ago, I thought it was some sort of automotive device designed to monitor your fuel efficiency rating; or whatever.

Now I realize it's my key to the wonderful world of book sales.  Did I say book?  Yes, I strongly recommend you read a book called, "Life Under the Corporate Microscope"---my irreverent and mostly humorous, perspective of life with that Corporate American car rental giant, Enterprise Rent-a-Car.
Hey, I worked there for 26 years, made a lot of money, got booted out (I think the money was the major issue), and eight years later, I've got that book flying off some sort of shelves.  But don't take my word for it.  Visit my website for further information:

Good bye for now.  It's time to go somewhere else on the internet and start babbling that wonderful title.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Obama, Corporate America and You: Teaming up to Fix the Economy!

I think we're starting to come back, as a nation---still ranked #1 in the world (according to the UPI poll and the Underwood Research poll), thanks in large part to our ability to make fun of ourselves no matter what happpens.  It's the American way.

Let's take for example, the recent events that make us laugh; and for the millions of people who can't afford health insurance, at least they've got the best free medicine available, that wonderful "lol"; even to the point of "lmao".  Don't you just love those cute little abbreviations?  They're so wonderfully hip, so 21st Century, and of course, so convenient.  Speed is critical, especially when you're trying to get an important message out to the world via the internet.  Who wants to waste time commenting on a humorous situation by typing "laugh out loud" or "laugh my ass off"?  I mean, "wtf"?

A few nights ago, when President Obama was eloquently giving some little speech, reading it from the teleprompter with such aplomb, it was almost spell-binding.  His closer:  "I'd like to thank myself...."

Oops.  Is it just me, or did anybody else think that our President had become "Ron Burgundy:  Anchorman"?   The best scene in the movie:  When Anchorman Ron, skillfully reading that litle teleprompter at the end of his newscast, signs off with this inspiring message:  "Go f*ck yourself, San Diego."  Of course, he didn't have a clue he had just said something that might be considered offensive to some San Diego viewers, because his job is to read, not think.

I'm already wondering if some practical joker will put Nixon's resignation speech on the teleprompter for President Obama to read during his next pep rally:  "Effective immediately, I'm gone, folks.  Bye!"

Still, our President remains relatively popular.  He's a good looking devil, with a great smile, and he has great style, if not substance, when delivering his lines...I mean "speeches". 

I'll be the first to admit on this particular forum, I've been getting sick of all the hype surrounding Obama for several weeks now; and I think nearly half of America shares that sentiment.  Even  the American Dental Association has revealed, "Four out of five dentists surveyed are already sick of Obama, but think his teeth and gums look healthy."  Not bad; not bad at all.  Btw, I'm thinking about running for President in 2012; fyi.  I think I'll be a Republican.

My campaign slogan will be:  "Vote for me.  I never lie and I'm always right."

In other news, I finally succumbed to the Twitter phenomenon.  I mean, wtf, I've got a book to market, folks!  ("Life Under the Corporate Microscope")  Since I'm a relatively new twitter-er...I was immediately drawn to their newly created "Exec Tweets", designed to be a forum for great business minds to get together and discuss any relevent business/marketing related topics.  My very first post, which I thought was sort of profound, whimsically paraphrasing FDR, went something like this:

"Corporate America has nothing to fear, except the culture of 'fear' Corporate America has created."

Now, if the other tweeters like your comments, they can "vote" for it, although I'm not sure what happens if they vote you into something you don't want to do.  I won't have to worry about that, because my pathetic little tweet would quickly disappear in the vast sea of other self-serving tweeters who, for some reason or another, decided posting something once wouldn't do the trick.  No, they had to post "Good sales happens when attitude is good" 47 times, hoping their little mass marketing campaign would fool the other tweeters into casting a vote for them.  Wtf?

It seemed so obviously ridiculous to me (again, I could be wrong), my next post read:  "Wouldn't it be nice if they had a 'one post' limit over here?"  I'm sure that one went over well with those corporate climbers and con-artists, trying to peddle their wares like some sleazy door to door salesman.  I think the gist of this soon to be extinct part of Tweeter is this is the executive's equivalent of Facebook, where many angst ridden teens tell their buddies about how high they got last night on that killer weed; or whatever.  Actually, if you get past that garbage, I kind of like Facebook; I've reconnected with good people I hadn't heard from in years, and of course, they're buying my book.  Lol.

A couple of nights ago, somebody posted something about Missouri making it to the elite 8 (I believe for the first time ever) in the NCAAP March madness mania, so I posted something to the effect, "with that great news, you've got my vote!"  So her running tally went from 10 to 11, thanks to her biggest fan.  Her immediate action the very next day was to put me in her "fan club" or whatever they call their social networking thing.  Immediately, my mind began racing.  If you suck up to enough people, they'll like you; they'll really  like you.

Then, I'll sell them my damned book.  Is this a great country or what?

Now, if Corporate America will start becoming more productive by eliminating the culture of fear that has taken over and replace that with a culture of innovation and free-sprited, fun-loving entreprenuerialsim, we might just make it through this current administration, stronger than ever...Well, at least stronger than we were at the end of the first quarter of 2009.

In closing, I'd simply like to thank myself for being...

Lol.  Seriously, you do need to visit my website:

In addition to thanking me, I'd also like to

Sunday, March 22, 2009


After hearing disturbing reports that my wonderful, inexpensive book, is being read by a large audience...and that's great...I find it hard to believe that the book is being shared by multiple users, almost to the point of absurdity. For example, one guy in Chicago got it from somebody else, who got it from somebody else, and now this guy in sending it to his buddy in Las Vegas!

All I can say is, the economic disaster must be worse than I imagined. Sure, I'm broke now, but come on...The shipping cost from Chi-town to Lost Wages has got to be almost the same as going to Amazon and just ordering it through them, and you'll probably get it quicker too!

In the meantime, realizing how tough times must be for people who can't even afford their very own copy of Life Under the Corporate Microscope, I've beefed up my personal marketing campaign by going on every web-site imaginable, and while posting a clever reply, casually mentioning..."Oh, by the way, if you want a really good book on the subject...."

Of course, whatever they're posting will be close enough to somehow link that topic to my masterpiece. One thing I've got going in my favor is the extreme level of disgust 99% of Americans have with Corporate America; and I had my dose of it for 26 years, with good old Enterprise Rent-a-Car.

Recently, I've posted brilliant messages in the local Phoenix Arizona News website, as well as the St Louis Post Dispatch website, and even in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Post. Oh, and even some Management Issues site.

If it sounds like I'm going crazy, you'd be absolutely right. Must sell books...must sell books...

Got to go; my blog-nation awaits my shameless self promotion.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Making Money is the Easy Part. Keeping it is the Difficult Part.

If you're a bright, enthusiastic, hard working individual, chances are you're very successful in your business career. Here's why: Very few people like that exist, giving you a decisive competitive advantage to not only succeed, but dominate.

According to my statistically unproven theories regarding the picture of American employment and unemployment, here's the breakdown:

*Lazy and incompetent, but somehow employed: 48.9%
*Mediocre but not quite as lazy, and employed: 40.7%
*Intelligent and able to work, but are too lazy: 1.6%
*Totally incompetent and not employed: 5.6%
*Competent and not lazy, but not employed: 2.4%
*Intelligent, driven to succeed and employed: .8%

If you're reading this, congratulations for being in the less than one percent of the population that falls into that category! That's why you've got the beautiful home, car, and wife (ex-wives, gold diggers). You know how you got there. You're smart, well organized, charming, and good-looking (probably).

You should consider running for President in 2012.

Of that small, .8% of the American working force, here's the statistically unproven earnings analysis, through March 18, 2009:

Earning less that $40,000 per year: 4.1% (has a passion for an endeavor that doesn't pay as much as it should, like teachers, stem cell analyists, bloggers, artists, writers)

Earning over $40,000 per year but less than $100,000 per year: 12.9% (middle managers in Corporate America who are more competent than the CEO, but the CEO knows it and will not let that person rise too far up the company ladder)

Earning over $100,000 per year but less than $250,000 per year: 67.5% (small business owners, higher level executives able to maintain a good reputation while not becoming a threat to the CEO)

Earning over $250,000 but less than $1 Billion per year: 15.4% (Smart enough to stay out of the company's radar screen for the time being, professional athletes, actors, musicians, drug dealers, or very good writers and artists)

Earning over than $1 Billion per year: .1% (Genius, or Forrest Gump)

Now let's assume that you're a successful business person and you make over a million bucks a year, and have been for quite some time. Most people who fall into this category are set for life. Their only concerns are choosing the right color for their next Mercedes, trying to get their children to understand they'll have to actually "work" for a living, instead of living off you, while weighing the pros and cons of staying married or staying with your current gold digger or otherwise hot, but annoying girl friend.

Of course, if you divorce your lovely wife, you'll be categorized as going through a mid-life crisis. The "mid-life crisis" for me was staying married to somebody who drove me crazy. That's a crisis, which I solved by getting the hell out of there. End of crisis.

My life has been a fun-filled roller coaster ride, growing up in a totally dysfunctional, financially challenged, but otherwise boring environment. In high school, my self-esteem was fairly low, so I never got laid, and my social life consisted of never drinking alcohol or never even smoking pot. These were the late '60s-early '70s. Everybody was getting laid and getting high. Not me.

I had to be the biggest dork in America, possibly the world. I remained a dork throughout my college years, although I got drunk on weekends and smoked weed every day. I never bought the stuff; in fact, I never even felt like the effect was much of anything, but as my friends were passing around that little joint, I'd take a hit and pass it on to the next pot head. Looking back on it, I suppose I should've at least offered to give somebody some money for whatever I used, but I never really wanted it to begin with, further enhancing my dork rating.

Upon graduating with a BA in Economics from a place called Rockford College in 1974, I promptly married the first girl who ever really had any interest in me. My rationale was simple: I've gradutated, I need to get a job, and I'd better marry this one because nobody else would ever consider me as an option. Obviously, I was totally clueless, thus spending the entire decade of my 20s never experiencing the joy of chasing women and possibly getting laid every now and then.

I started working for Enterprise Rent-a-Car (then known as "Executive Leasing" in St Louis)
as a management trainee working somewhere between 50-70 hours a week, but for some reason, the long hours didn't bother me at all. I suppose I felt it beat the hell out of having to go home to my wife. My starting pay was "peanuts" with no salt, either. It didn't matter since my life style was frugal and I never really seemed to buy anything or go anywhere, other than the bowling alley every now and then; or to see some crummy movie.

Eventually, I hit the big-time with Enterprise (luckily after my first divorce), hitting the "career jackpot", getting the highest commission percentage allowed by Enterprise law (15% of net profit) as I became the Vice-President/General Manager of the newly formed West Group. By this time, I had remarried to my next ex-wife-to-be, and within a few years, we had a couple of kids, and upgraded to a nicer home. As I made more money, I spent more, or simply pissed it away in bad investments. It didn't seem to matter; with each passing year, my income started getting so high, somebody once called me "rich". I suppose I was, but I didn't even notice.

After another upgrade to a nice mansion in Paradise Valley, Arizona, overlooking Barry Goldwater's pad and the Hormel estate, not to mention the rest of the Valley, my personal life began a phase of bickering with the wife, which lead to our separation. Finally, my peace of mind had been restored, and I'm sure she was just as happy as she could be as well because I never bothered to get divorced for several years, allowing her to buy whatever she wanted, including a wonderful boob-job, and do whatever she wanted. Life was great.

By this time, my annual income was well over a million bucks a year and always going higher with each passing year. My final year on the job, I almost made it to $4 million. The reason that became my "final year" was simply, the Enterprise corporate hierarchy had finally gotten tired of paying me all that money, plus I became a bad General Manager or something. Between you and me, I think it was the money thing.

My official retirement date was 010101, of course nine months and ten days before 9/11, and less than a year after the big bubble popped on the NASDAQ, where I had most of my money invested. I recall chortling practically every day in late '99 and early 2000 how much money I'd "made" in the stock market that day. One hundred thousand dollar "gains" were commonplace.

Even though my portfolio was going through a downward spiral, I never fretted. I was a long term investor and I assumed it would rebound, and start posting nice little annual gains in double digits, forever. In the meantime, I was still getting some nice "severence package" money from Enterprise, and the market seemed to be recovering after the 9/11 meltdown, so I remained financially secure.

Apparently, financial security is too boring for me, so I'd continue making high risk investments, although they seemed perfectly reasonable at the time. My favorite losers were a casino in Reno (quarter of a million down the drain), a restaurant in Las Vegas (only a hundred grand loser), some crazy recording venture called "World Song 2002" (another hundred grand that left my world), investing in some stupid web-site called "Alien Zoo" ($150,000 abducted by aliens), and another hundred grand pissed away on a company called T.S.I. (Technical Systems Integrated), but I simply referred to it as "Totally Shitty Investment".

As a side note, I'm sure there are many people in the world who have invested in those "limited liability corporations", or LLCs. Not me. I now refer to LLCs as "Losing Larry's Cash". Sure, I make fun of my stupidity because I'm easily amused, and also realistic. I could quite possibly be the world's worst investor, but there's much data to analyze, so that one would be hard to prove.

In the meantime, my seven year severence package with Enterprise has ended, so I'll have to do something productive again like get a job. For now, I'm busy marketing my book, Life Under the Corporate Microscope, which is my irreverent perspective of life in Corporate America with that corporate giant, Enterprise Rent-a-Car. I think you'll enjoy it and I'd welcome you to check out my website for further information:

The next time I visit, I'll plan on giving you my spin on Corporate America, in general.

In the meantime, invest wisely and beware of those LLCs.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Enterprise's Corporate Culture: Micro-Management

I spent 26 years with Enterprise (1974-2000), eventually becoming one of its highest paid, and probably, most irreverent executives. At the peak of my career, which happened to be my final year with Enterprise, I was raking in close to $4 million per year while overseeing one of the company's most profitable and fun-loving operations (the original West Group).

I retired after making it through the first year of the current millennium. By that time, the company that I loved had evolved into a humorless and micro-managing bureaucracy; not that there's anything wrong with that; but I clearly didn't fit into that type of environment, so it was time to go, with no regrets; except of course, I wouldn't be making so much money.

For the last four or five years of my career, I was constantly under the corporate microscope, and I was all too aware of that feeling. I knew it would only be a matter of time before something going on in the West Group, whether it be legitimate business issues, or personal issues aimed at attacking anything that seemed like a plausible flaw in my character, would be dissected so thoroughly, they'd have to find something wrong, real or imagined, sooner or later.

I recently published a book, Life Under the Corporate Microscope, giving my perspective of the people and events that shaped the company's destiny, as well as countless personal lives as well.

I had many fond memories of Enterprise, but as is the case with most huge corporations in America, a culture of "fear" has pervaded the ranks of the company's upper managment, from the micro-managing corporate drones, known as Corporate Vice Presidents, down to the General Managers and Regional Vice Presidents in the field.

This isn't the type of environment to breed success and keep employees happy and motivated. The result has been the highest employee turnover in company history over the past year or so, and I don't see any positive signs of things getting better any time soon.

These are the worst of times for Enterprise, but I feel the only way this company is going to get back on track, is changing this culture of fear and micro-managing. That change desperately needs to be initiated by the company's CEO, Andy Taylor. He needs to step up and truly lead this company out of the morass, because their current path is heading for certain failure.