This article is part of the My Generation topic. Below are more articles in this topic.
Read more from Leigh.
That was a lovely picture of Telecom boss Paul Reynolds in last week’s paper. He’s got a great smile. Mind you, I’d be smiling too, if I were earning $5 million a year and could afford to have my teeth whitened and my dodgy crown fixed, instead of struggling to pay off the $880 bill I had from Telecom this month. Not that it was Paul’s fault, exactly. It seems, rather, that someone had discovered my open internet connection, and while I was trying to save money buying a pair of $10 boots on Trade Me, had sat outside my house with a laptop and downloaded a few gigabytes of video on how to date a woman half your age from MidlifeCrisis.com.
It saddens me that when all I’ve done is check out a couple of TradeMe bargains and look up a pet site to find out why my dog has separation anxiety, someone else has ticked up hundreds of dollars worth of download time, and now I’m too scared to go back on there to find out whether or not I won the boots.
Paul, on the other hand, has probably bought brand new boots, and that classy tie he was wearing in the picture looks like it cost as much as my phone bill. Not that I begrudge him that, because presumably there’s a certain amount of pressure involved in trying to get shot of close to $100,000 a week.
It does make me wonder, though, what a chap has to do to be worth that kind of dosh. Even if you’re prepared to eschew sleep, food, sex or whatever else blows your skirt up and work every hour of the day, can your efforts truly represent value for money?
I suppose that depends on what we value. Only yesterday a friend of mine was recalling the job she had as a teenager, working weekends at a rest home. Her role was to sort the dirty linen and ‘pre-clean’ before it was sent to the commercial laundry. It was put into three piles. Use your imagination as to how it was divided up, she said darkly.
Now that job, I think, would just about be worth $100,000 a week, which begs the question of why, when you work in an industry that deals with crap, you generally get paid like crap. But when you do something you love, that challenges and excites you so much you actually want to be at work every waking hour, you take home the equivalent of a couple of average salaries every week.
Finance pundits will say, of course, that it’s about what you achieve, not how hard you work, and sadly for most of us, that’s how it is. But tell that to someone who sorts dirty linen for a laundry, and he or she will probably say it doesn’t really wash.
New Zealand Shareholders Association chairman Bruce Sheppard would disagree. He says that if Telecom wins market share and the support of New Zealand, Paul will have delivered immense shareholder value. Well, he may well succeed with the former, but the support of New Zealand? Not until he gets rid of that idiotic robot who answers the phone.