You may have heard a few stories about a little campout going on down on Wall Street the last week or so. It’s been quite a ruckus and now Hizzoner is even getting a little tired of it. Despite the good, the bad and the hippies, all this standing up and shouting and whatnot seems to have inspired one “disenchanted” Deloitte auditor who sent us the following:
I know that I work for my firm in an at will contract, I can quit at anytime and get another job. But I’ve been feeling so slighted for the last several months by leadership’s complete lack of concern for the well being of their workforce that I want to do something more significant. If I quit, some managers will be temporarily upset because my hours will need to be replaced, and they will find someone who doesn’t have the same experience with the client etc. They will get over it in a day, and the giant audit machine will keep turning the same as always, and employees will continue to get the worst of it.
But this is America, we are champions of workers’ rights. Can’t we do a little better than this for ourselves? I understand that with unemployment currently so high this isn’t really a time when workers’ rights are a high priority, but we still deserve better treatment. With Deloitte still swelling based on last weeks’ figures, and loving the attention in the media for being a model of a growing global enterprise their vulnerability becomes clear. They would hate bad press or anything that would stunt growth.
This is why I think an organized but non-unionized strike/walkout, perhaps around, I dunno, the upcoming busy season, would be very effective at getting leadership’s attention. I know I’m no Cesar Chavez, and a white collar walkout it rare thing, as white collar unions are uncommon, and that this is something that would be difficult for generally conservative accounts who are typically anti-union to get done. But I figure, if there is any forum where this sort of movement would/could begin it would be on Going Concern where people are more openly cynical and feel just as disappointed with Deloitte’s version of an audit practice as I do. Not sure who would actually put their careers on the line because I doubt most really believe in the cause, but I think they feel the same sentiment. It would be interesting to hear the true anonymous thoughts of others on this idea, and if there are any brighter ideas on reminding firm leadership whose backs they are standing on to potentially improve the livelihood of those backs. What do you recommend?
Well, Cesar, I do have a few recommendations for your planned walkout. First – take pictures. Lots of them. And then send them to us. Secondly, get a noisy instrument. Preferably a drum or vuvuzela. If you have to do this mission solo like you think you will, you’ll need some help in the noise department. Third – a costume of some sort – I’m thinking Benji Bankes – would advisable and then be sure to incorporate suggestion number one. Fourth – read Adrienne’s post from this summer on why this is an awful idea. The whole thing is worth a read but here’s a taste:
I think part of the reason why anyone you suggest this to might think you’re one tax season away from the funny farm is that CPAs already have a large, powerful trade association which allegedly exists to serve its interests. Granted, the AICPA does more lobbying in Washington than it does to accounting firm partners about easing up on you poor shlubs who have to do all the work, but it’s still a trade association.[…] [T]hough it may not feel like it, most of you are paid pretty fairly compared to, say, McDonald’s cashiers, Starbucks baristas and Walmart greeters. It may not feel fair based on the service you provide (understandably) but in the big picture, making $50,000 a year fresh out of school in middle America ain’t too bad of a gig. You get vacations, safe work conditions, bonuses, insurance and even free CPA review materials if you’re lucky. I bet OSHA has never seen the inside of a Big 4 office to investigate a fatal Excel accident or random intern decapitation at the coffee machine.
Maybe I’m wrong but the leaders of these firms would love – LOVE! – if you wrote them an email about your concerns. If the response you get sounds canned, then there’s nothing wrong with saying so. Your partner may catch some heat (that will eventually blow back on you) but Dr. Phil and JoeE aren’t really doing their jobs if they simply dismiss the widely held concerns of the Green Dot community. If you’re feeling inspired enough to rally some fellow opiners, make some signs and sit on the sidewalk shouting, then by all means do so but do keep in mind that you will end up in these pages, may be permanently confined to a JIT or straight up lose your job. Just some things to mull over.