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What If Your ID Badge Says Halliburton?

“At the time of the capture [Saddam] had $750,000 in cash on him. They think he was trying to buy three gallons of gas from Halliburton.” — Jay Leno

“I did not have financial relations with that company.” — ficticious quote attributed to former Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney at allhatnocattle.com, a satirical Web site

Bashing Enron and WorldCom is so 2002. Halliburton is the new punching bag, the new punchline. Whether it’s the White House’s ties to the company or its near monopoly on reconstruction contracts in Iraq or questions about its having overbilled the Pentagon for gas and cafeteria services, Halliburton is under fire like no other American company these days, with the possible exception of Wal-Mart.

At least with Wal-Mart, though, you can do something if you don’t like the way that it treats its employees or vendors: You can shop elsewhere. Halliburton, however, seems impervious to the barrage of criticism. “They’re not selling to guys like you and me,” one industry analyst says. “They’re selling to guys like Exxon and the government.”

During the Enron fallout, Charles Fishman explored the question, What if you’d worked at Enron? In light of the controversies surrounding Halliburton, it seems appropriate to pose a few similar questions: Would you work for Halliburton? How much controversy is too much for you? And as a manager, how would you maintain staff morale?

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