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Perspectives On Wachovia

I read in the news yesterday where Wachovia Bank lost $8.9 BILLION last quarter - mainly in the mortgage idiocy, apparently - and summarily laid of 6,340 people without so much as a 'by your leave'. 6,340 people is just about 50% of the population of the town where my company - Indian Maid Products, Inc. - is headquartered. Gives a person pause, doesn't it? Certainly does me..

When you say / read "6,340 people", your internal response is, "that's a lot of people suddenly unemployed". When you can relate it to the size of a town, it becomes a whole 'nother animal. It seems to grow in size; certainly in impact, relative to that more familiar entity, "the town where we are headquartered".

In the Traditional ITI way of counting, we often counted, "one, two, many" because after you outgrew or outpaced these most easily grasped sizes, the total number became irrelevant. We didn't "always" count this way, but for most purposes, it worked. Look around you - the place you work, the place you live - how many people would be missing if "6,340" of them were suddenly removed? How would things change? If you live / work in a huge city, you probably wouldn't notice much change. But if you live / work in suburbia, it might.. If you live / work in a small town, it would. But you know what this sudden layoff of "6,340" people says to me? Actually, it shouts it.. It shouts, "whoever runs Wachovia Bank doesn't give a flying damn about the people it 'serves' or the people who work within the company". It shouts that Wachovia Bank's 'leadership' behaved like children at recess, making lousy loans and questionable investments, all in the name of "the bottom line" and "the profit margin". But that 'leadership' doesn't give a hoot in a high wind about people and how they are affected by the 'leadership's irresponsible, childish, me-first, opportunistic attitude and behavior. Sounds a great deal like the oil speculators, doesn't it.

A SAD commentary on "modern leaders" and "modern leadership", in my mind. These people and their actions personify our Lakota term "washichu" (wah-SHEE-choo) - "an ungenerous, greedy, opportunistic person; one who behaves as if s/he has no relatives". Seems to me that the great stock market crash from before any of us was born was what made the feds enact laws to prevent another such debacle. Then, dona-hey years down the pike, we got the very smarmy, sophomoric, downright dishonest "W" and Karl Rove & Dick Cheney for national 'leadership' and things shlooped around the bend to 'the bad old days' before regulation - and here we are, facing a similar debacle to the first one, thanks to their version of 'modern' and 'leadership'. If that's "modern", I'm not impressed. We all complain bitterly about regulations at some point in time, but unless we have a culture that provides us with the regulatory taboos at least some of us need to keep us all 'playing nice in the sandbox', it seems we end up repeating history. And every time that happens, "6,340" people get laid off in one fell swoop, and "6,340,000" people get to pay for it. I find this just disgusting. Disappointing. Deee-pressing. Mostly because it is all so0o avoidable. A tish bit of applied common sense, a modicum of "showing" respect (and "having" it..) are all it takes. Truly, there is no "I" in: 'company', 'we', 'together', 'all', 'us'.... But if 'we' don't 'all' behave as if 'we' are 'all' in this 'together', 'we all' get smacked across the shins when things go haywire.

"Showing" respect is not "out-moded". It's where 'success' in life is centered. In the Traditional Way of my Lakota People, we would scold such people by asking, "WHERE is your RESPECT?? WHERE IS your RESPECT?!?" Wachovia Bank - and too many other modern business 'leaders' - WHERE is YOUR respect?!?!? You ought to be ashamed, but I don't believe you have the class to be.

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