This coming Wednesday, April 22, is Administrative Professionals Day. I’m not much for these Hallmark holidays (can you believe there is also a Boss’s Day?), but I will say that I have been blessed for almost 30 years by the greatest staff a lawyer could ask for.
Two months after I started work here in Maine in 1988, I was joined by Nancy Pollock, and she has been with me ever since. She’s smart, unflappable, incredibly well-organized, and always in good humor—even when she has reason not to be.
Then, in 2009, Pat Bryant joined my team. Pat had worked for one of my colleagues for several years, then left to start a family and work from home. When I heard she was ready to return to office work, I jumped at the opportunity. I thank my lucky stars that Pat came to work for me.
More recently, since I started work last year at Johnson Webbert & Young, my family has expanded. Our office manager, Leslie Grace Poole, really should just go by her middle name. And then there are Joyce McCutcheon, who keeps us in stitches; Michelle Murchison, who is always ready with a smile; Anthony Vitti, intake coordinator extraordinaire (who sadly will be leaving us this summer for law school); and Theresa Katler, who makes everything hum and puts up with my not so infrequent complaints.
Truly, I am a lucky man. I’m not sure what I have done to deserve such good fortune.
Which brings me to my favorite story of the week—an article that Pat came across (she knows that I am always on the lookout for interesting blog topics). It seems that Dan Price, the CEO of Seattle-based Gravity Payments, a payroll processing firm, has decided to share his rather large fortune. Price cut his $1 million salary by 90% to give 70 employees at Gravity Payments a generous raise. About 30 saw their salaries doubled, while 40 received substantial raises. Price’s goal is to have all of his employees earning $70,000 in 3 years.
Although Price claims other businesses have indicated that they will emulate his example, I’ll believe it when I see it. Perhaps the single largest issue facing our country today is income inequality. The rich are growing richer at ever-increasing rates, while incomes of working men and women fail to keep pace. CEO pay in the US is now calculated to be anywhere from 350 to 475 times as great as the average worker—roughly 7-10 times as much as any other country in the world.
Over a hundred years ago, in 1912, over 20,000 immigrant workers, mostly women, struck in Lawrence, Massachusetts for increased pay after mill owners slashed their wages to compensate for a reduction in the work week. That strike became famous as the Bread and Roses Strike.
We can’t all afford to be Dan Price. But this Administrative Professionals Day, remember that your staff deserves more than just roses.