Now that we’re all fed and hopefully whatever travels were necessary for Thanksgiving have been completed safely, there is now at least a little bit of time to clear your heads, take a fresh look at your calendars and figure out what we’re all gonna do with the remaining few business days of 2023. If you’re a Disney “cast member”, you’ve got an all hands meeting this morning with your bosses, one that SK POP’s PULPIT quietly suggested was imminent just before most people started their holiday:
The Walt Disney Company’s halls are resonating with the echoes of an impending corporate upheaval.
The catalyst for this shift is an emergency meeting orchestrated by CEO Bob Iger and billionaire investor Nelson Peltz. Steering the ship of Trian Fund Management, which boasts a hefty $8.5 billion under its belt, he has upped the ante in his quest for influence in the iconic entertainment company.
Despite generating a staggering $21 billion in revenue in the last quarter, Disney’s net income is a relatively modest $246 million.
This disproportionate earnings scenario has not gone unnoticed by employees, who find themselves in the paradoxical situation of facing job insecurity despite the company’s immense earnings.
The upcoming meeting, slated for the week after Thanksgiving, is anticipated to be a crucial event. Iger, alongside other key leaders, will address the employees, focusing on the “many opportunities” the company purportedly has on the horizon.
And if you’re an employee of Paramount Global, you may not have such a meeting scheduled, but you probably already digested stories like the one from Barron’s Nicholas Jasinski that also was quietly dropped last week:
Paramount Global executives stand to cash out big should the company be merged or acquired, under new contract terms. It is reigniting speculation the media company may be up for sale.
Paramount stock (ticker: PARA) jumped 5.6% on Monday, amid broader market gains but only a so-so day for other media-industry stocks. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission late on Friday, Paramount disclosed a new employment arrangement with CEO Robert Bakish, CFO Naveen Chopra, and three executive vice presidents. The contracts boost what the executives would earn if they lose their jobs or resign in connection with a sale or merger of the company. Naturally, Wall Street is taking the hint there may be a deal in the works.
And it’s not as if they haven’t already been dropping other hints that they’re willing to play LET’S MAKE A DEAL on more than just their CBS and BET networks, as YAHOO! Finance’s Alexandra Canal revealed:
The Saudi-backed Professional Fighters League (PFL) confirmed it completed the acquisition of mixed martial arts promoter Bellator from Paramount, which previously controlled the rights.
The deal comes after Paramount announced its Showtime sports division, which included boxing and MMA, will shut down at the end of the year. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed although reports suggest PFL stock was included in the sale, which will allow Paramount to maintain a minority ownership stake.
So if you happen to work for one of those companies, at least for know, you are officially given a mulligan. You clearly are distracted.
For the balance of you, I simply have to ask: Are you really THAT busy?
I cannot begin to describe how absolutely frustrating, heartbreaking and often overwhelmingly insulting it feels to reach out to people, often for the simple act of bouncing an idea off of them that would hopefully lead to an actual connection to an actual human being who actually knows another actual human being who is in a position to provide me legitimate, gainful employment, sometimes just for conversation. If I can be clear and concise about anything whatsoever, for me, after nearly four years of this maddening and futile search, let me repeat yet again, LINKS DON”T WORK.
My experience is that the jobs are often already gone once they appear on a board. Or they are vetting candidates based on diversity guidelines which I simply can’t fake filling, despite my qualifications. Or they’re looking for someone with a specific degree, or previous employment with a specific company that looks sexy to their obsessed superiors. Believe me, privately, I’ve heard that, and then some. I’ve even heard the god-awful truth from some who are way more direct: You are not in the demo that anyone feels is a priority to hire.
And yet, just like your inboxes likely were over the last few days, I’ve received dozens of e-mails containing links that DO work, to a variety of worthy causes and organizations. Because today, even to the many of thus who are truly struggling, is GIVING TUESDAY.
You can thank (blame?) one Henry Timms for that onslaught of communiques, as THE HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW’s interview between him and and its editor-in-chief Adi Ignatius told when it was dropped late last year. It’s a fascinating video worth watching in full, and I’ll whet your appetite with just how someone who spends his work days providing highbrow cultural entertainment as the CEO of Lincoln Center was motivated to get this cause startedL
We were at the 92nd Street Y, and I guess the theme for the work I’ve always been trying to do is to reimagine institutions, right? What is it we have to do to reimagine our organizations, which is something that HBR spends so much time thinking about.
Back then the 92nd Street Y was a cultural and community center, and we had a bunch of beliefs around giving and around philanthropy. What we were trying to do is really experiment with new models of, how do you connect with people. We were thinking particularly about how do you build community? How do you get people to support each other?
There was Black Friday, and there was Cyber Monday, two days that were really good for getting deals, and then there was Tuesday.
I remember thinking, “Somebody is going to grab Tuesday, and Tuesday’s going to become Extra Discounts Tuesday or something like that.” And I thought, “Well, what we should do is actually turn it into Giving Tuesday(.)
Well, I’m not in a position to donate all that much this year, as those few of you who do pay attention likely already know. My story has been told many times; it’s updated with some additional news on yet more expenses that have piled up this year. Yes, I still have my own needs, and, honestly, I’m as disgusted as you might be that the need for me to even ask still exists. But there’s only so much any of us are able to do on our own, without actual human connections. So few of you seem to have had the time, sometimes over a matter of YEARS, to actually get around to returning an e-mail, a phone call, a text, as you have claimed to have promised.
Hire myself, as some of you have suggested? This is so far what I’ve been able to do to that extent. So if you do like and respect what I write at all, maybe you can think about a Patreon-like contribution to keep this site, and its sole contributor, going for a little while longer? Other sites have been more direct about that request. I’ll put my intellect and abilities right up there with many of theirs.
But it’s GIVING Tuesday. And in lieu of what I can’t give to some people who have truly touched me, I’d like to bring to your attention a couple more stories that might make an impression on you in this season of giving.
My best friend is currently living in sub-standard conditions. My best friend is hoping to find a small trailer, not even one quite as nice as this one, so that she and their pets don’t freeze to death where they are living now. They are currently living in a hastily constructed unit built over the summer that lacks proper insulation, let alone sufficient plumbing. Their internal temperature last night, with heaters blazing, was 42 freaking degrees. My best friend has an autoimmune disease that often leads to debilitating pain for most of the day this time of year. And, selfishly, I haven’t seen this person in 16 months. You try living without your seeing your best friend in that period of time. Especially when so many others of you have been so darn busy.
My best friend is too proud to start a go fund me page of their own. Well, if you privately contact me, I’ll direct you to a way to provide this person with a contribution. The living condition upgrade comes first. Seeing me comes way down the list of priorities. I can at least wish for both to occur. Along with my own even more intense desire to earn it myself.
And I’ll also point you to an even more heartbreaking GoFundMe that was set up in part by someone else I would still cherish to have as a friend, since this person inexplicably is the ONE person I seem to know who actually seems to KNOW ACTUAL PEOPLE WHO CAN PROVIDE REGULAR WORK. This is the story of this person’s best friend, now a widow, and the teenager in Florida who is spending his first holiday without his father. The man never lived to see 50.
The fact that the person that helped set it up is one of the most egregious examples of someone who has inflicted me with ghosting and heartbreak is, for the moment, immaterial. I’m truly moved by this story and can’t deny the quality of a friendship so strong that they have spent so many hours and days personally invested in others’ lives. It’s the kind of loyalty and giving I only wish I had more access to.
So yes, I’m well aware I don’t have it quite as bad as others do this time of year. And I suspect you are as well.
But those of you who are blessed with employment, family and more readily available friends might just be looking for tax deductions. Or perhaps even just a warm feeling for truly helping out someone else. I’m told it’s the right thing by every rabbi and pastor I’ve seen lately. And yes, I do see them.
So I’ll politely ask for you to consider my cause, and those of my best friend and yes, even the person who clearly doesn’t want to be along with any other acts of alms, charity or human kindness you are inclined to be pondering thanks to Henry Timms’ decency in the next few days.
And if you can’t? Well, how’s about actually getting around to returning that e-mail, text or phone call?
I’m still waiting.
Until next time…