I Love My Company

The formula I always say for meeting colleagues in the publishing industry is to take the decade of a person's age (I'm 33, so 3), subtract 1, and that's the number of publishers that person has worked for. It's amazing how accurate that formula is. Publishing is incredibly incestuous in its hiring practices, we list who we've worked for like a pedigree, and few people are satisfied with the first company they work for.

In my case, the first publisher I worked for was particularly nefarious. I am reminded of that fact today because I just sat through the annual health benefits meeting. Every large corporation has them, and the difference between my former employer and my current is like night and day, or really like Douchebag McAsshole vs Captain Awesome von Awesomesauce.

My last health care meeting with DMcA was representative of my last year with the company. They lied their face off, I called them out on their lies in a combative and non-constructive manner. The gist of the meeting was that they were changing our plans. They would cost more, offer less, have astronomically higher deductibles, and cap on services to everything. They followed this up with rhetoric about how much better the plan was for us because now we could have an HSA. I replied that it was better for us only if we did not get sick. This was a highly accurate assessment of the plan.

I skipped last year's health care meeting with CAvA, but because of the health care legislation, I wanted to see what changes might happen. This is where the screws were going to be put to us.

What I saw was not what I expected. This happened to me over the summer too. I missed the town hall meeting last year where the CEO came and spoke because I got lost (hey, I hadn't been working in Boston this year). When I worked for DMcA, CEO visits were a nightmare. They showed us an hour-long PPT showing how much money they made and that they were freezing our salaries, stopping new hires, and not funding forward-moving strategy so they could make more money. I expected much the same and for the first 8 minutes, I saw how much money the company made (in short, a shit load). The remaining 52 minutes were spent explaining our moral obligation to educate the world, the strategies we were implementing to do so, the funding those strategies would receive, and taking vice presidents to task for not being more aggressive in implementing fare business strategies.

I'm not making that up. Read that paragraph again. So what would I see at the health care meeting? This guy wasn't the wicked intelligent, charismatic CEO with the grand vision. This is the guy that manages the nuts and bolts. This is where you squeeze the workers for cost savings.

Oh, when will I learn. First, the guy is funny in his own right. Second, a discussion of cost didn't come until 40 minutes in and it was only one slide long. He started with "Our biggest expense is high-value illnesses like cancer, so we're changing policies to make it easier for employees to receive preventative care." Yes, my company actually uses common sense. Rather than limiting health care access to reduce costs, it increased front-end expenditures to reduce larger expenditures for untreated illnesses. 100% preventative coverage, free cancer screenings, and distributing free copies of a popular nutritional author who happens to be published by our trade division. Total costs are rising marginally, but the services my company offers me is improving across the board.

This is how corporate America should act. This is the ethical and responsible relationship a company should have with its employees. This is Captain Awesome von Awesomesauce. I love my company. It is the greatest place in the world to work.

And at the very end of the presentation he dropped the bomb. Because of new health care legislation, my company's health plan is considered a Cadillac plan. Come 2018, the company will have to pay the government $80 million a year to continue offering this level of coverage to its employees. What? No! This is how a responsible American business should treat its employees. They should all be doing this. The company will not consider an additional $80mm charge to its annual health costs. So it will instead be forced to reduce benefits to fall outside this range.

Dammit Congress. I'm annoyed, but am not worried. The current health care legislation will not be what is implemented in 2018. Still, what the hell. You could quadruple my salary and I still wouldn't make the "rich people are bad" $250k. What are you doing taxing my health care?