Corporate America has a Hard Head and a Soft Bottom


Image of “Meryl & Jonathon, 1988” by artist Robert Longo, c/o AW Massey Fine Art

The TexPat majored in International Economics. But it doesn’t take an economics degree to understand that Corporate America is sometimes dumb as a post when it comes to acting in its own best interest. Everyone acts like capitalists have some sort of sixth sense superiority gene that places them somewhere on the hierarchy of the Universe between God and the preachers that love Him, but it just t’ain’t so. As a corporate veteran, I can say from experience that Corporate America makes just as many mistakes – honest and otherwise – as the rest of us. Perhaps it’s because corporations are populated by those perpetually noble but flawed creatures called human beings.

That being said, one would think that Corporate America would at least act in its own self-interest. It’s good at doing so when the risks are slim, but when it requires thinking outside of the box, like the conflicted humans that run them, companies run the gamut in their willingness to think beyond the status quo in their quest to win the long game. In the current economy with the significant skills gap American companies are facing vis-a-vis their international competitors, common sense would suggest that our companies would be grabbing the best talent they can find, in whatever package they find it. But the difficulty faced by middle-aged or other “different” workers who desire to work hard and contribute to society and their own well-being to be hired for jobs for which they are often over-qualified is head-scratching. Companies are scared to hire folks who are “overqualified” because they think they will rock the boat, whereas most experienced workers are eager to offer their experience and work-ethic to an enterprise, regardless of whether their superiors will be seniors or Doogie Howsers. Folks want to work! And our economy depends on our ability to reintegrate these ready-and-willing workers back into the workplace rather than their becoming dependent upon the already-fragile social safety net when they don’t have to be. Particularly at a time when our educational system is not generating the volume of high-skilled individuals that will enable our enterprises to continue to compete in the international economy. Why not hire a fifty-something?! The TexPat sounded off on LinkedIn on this subject today.