26 March 2008

Moxie vs. Chutzpah

There's a lot I'd like to get to over the next few days, but before that, let's talk about the wonderful world of management-labor relations. Suppose you've been a decent performer at your job over the last half-decade, receiving the occasional intra-company award. Now, your big firm is doing a huge PR offensive, and they want to showcase the fine quality of the workers they have, so you suddenly find yourself with your CEO on a national cable outlet's morning business show. Remember, they want the nation to be impressed with the quality of the product your company is putting forward, and to create a positive impression of their literate and smart workforce. So the morning anchor turns to you, and says "What are the challenges of being in your line of work?"

And you turn to the anchor and say "Well, all the workers in our business need a raise for one thing." And you didn't shave that morning. And you're in jeans. And you CEO has to pretend that you didn't just say that and move on. Would you do this? No, but you're not Ben Olsen (link to video at The Offside Rules).

Look, if you have a shot for solidarity with the workers, might as well take it.

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At 26 March, 2008 10:05, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least he can fit his jeans over his ankle.

At 26 March, 2008 12:21, Blogger JCM said...

God Bless Ben Olsen!

At 26 March, 2008 15:49, Blogger Unknown said...

As labor protests go, that was an exceptionally well-mannered one. I don't think Garber could be too upset about that because 1) Ben was diplomatic in his phrasing, and 2) Any objective MLS observer - including Don Garber - would have to agree that salaries are one of the "challenges" that needs to be addressed.

There's a case to be made that raising the MLS salary cap - and raising it significantly - is MLS owners' long-term interests. The fact that the league is expanding while losing players to Greece, Norway, and Austria has made this so.

At 26 March, 2008 16:04, Blogger Unknown said...

I suppose it could have been worse. Olsen could have worn a "Kill Don Graber" or "Don Graber is a Tyrant" T-Shirt.

But by the same token, having an unshaven, unkempt player making a case for a pay raise does raise the specter of "I can't even buy a decent razor" argument.

Still, I would like to see a 75 percent increase in the salary cap implemented over the next three-four years. The quality of play is going up, the international competitions are getting better and the pay has to follow suit.

We have the possibility of an all MLS CONCACAF Champion's Cup final. Sure it is not Europe's Champions league (but what is), but it does say something.

At 26 March, 2008 17:02, Blogger Martin Shatzer said...

Olsen isn't just unshaven and unkempt, he is also well-respected, well-spoken, honest, and unapologetic. If you asked 10 random MLS players to name a current player that they look up to, 11 of them would say Ben Olsen.

Would you rather have a clean-shaven Santino Quaranta in a collared shirt and slacks, or would you rather have an unshaven Ben Olsen in jeans?


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