I know you think you have it tough. You work in an industry where
- budgets are tight,
- the pressure to perform is high,
- and people are scared of losing their jobs.
I will say this much: you don’t know bad management and a hostile work environment until you’ve worked for Sam Zell.
- Sam Zell is a U.S.-born billionaire and real estate entrepreneur. He is co-founder and Chairman of Equity Group Investments, a private investment firm. With an estimated net worth of US$5 billion, he is ranked as the 68nd richest American by Forbes. In April 2007, Zell completed a leveraged buyout of the Tribune Company, publisher of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, and owner of the Chicago Cubs.
Sam Zell is a tough, mean, obstinate son-of-a-bitch. He will rip your head off and poop down your throat if it means that his company will earn another 23 cents.
Some say that the newspaper industry needs a guy like Zell — a man who doesn’t suffer fools and understands how profitability is linked to the actual ability to report the news. Others think Zell is a pretentious asshole who is out to kill the newspaper business and steal every last dime from his corporate holdings.
Wow. Either way, what a guy. Some things to know.
- Sam Zell once told his employees (allegedly) that it’s okay to look at porn while at work as long as they’re being productive.
- Sam Zell is openly hostile to his employees — who are reporters — and was caught on tape telling one of his employees, “F–k you.”
- Sam Zell is being sued by current and former employees of the Los Angeles Times for behaving like a bully, raiding the coffers, damaging the reputation of the company, and devaluing the employee stock program.
Oh that last point? The lawsuit I just mentioned? How about that! I’m really surprised to hear that employees are suing a guy like Zell.
I’m sure Zell is the kind of guy who has no time for Human Resources — but maybe I’m wrong and maybe HR fully supports his efforts. Maybe the SVP of Human Resources told Zell, “You know what? These employees are whiners and we need to focus on profitability. F@*k ’em if they don’t understand capitalism. We’ll hire new jouralists — and cheaper ones — who do.”
Are there any HR pros out there who work for Tribune Company and read this blog? Can you drop me an email or post an anonymous comment and let me know what it’s like to work in Human Resources at your company? What the hell happened? Is HR totally neutered? Is your department aligned with Zell?
Inquiring minds want to know!