Tuesday, February 1, 2011
What do you think of Undercover Boss?
Undercover Boss is the CBS show where the CEO of a big company tries to work alongside the “regular” employees for a week.
I have seen it twice—really got into the first time, then was over it the second time.
The first one I saw was the CEO of a disaster cleaning company. No suicide tidy-ups or splatter killings, but some fire and water damage jobs.
First they showed the guy’s closet full of ranks and ranks of pricey suits and dozens of pairs of shoes—then he put on wig that looked like a dead muskrat and went off to hang dry wall under the tutelage of, first, a guy who freely admitted he was a general contractor and took side jobs (not allowed by the co) and a younger man who didn’t like this new dude at all!
The younger supervisor kept sneering with disgust at the CEO’s lack of carpentry skills—“Well, I hope that screw is in there because you stripped the bleep out of it.”
The CEO heard some heartwarming stories of people who could not pass the exam for a promotion because they had never been to formal school, etc. Another woman said, "I passed, but those dopes at headquarters froze all promotions, so I do the job, but don’t get the money.”
Anyhow—at the “reveal,” he hands out raises, scholarships, big chunks of cash and so on to those he suddenly saw as worthy. My thought? Did this change anything—would others get this? The top execs looked pretty steely-eyed to me.
In the second one, the CEO was a woman who ran an empire of theme hotels. She worked as a check-in clerk (man, that line was long), server (forgot to ask whether they wanted drinks), and aquatic employee (had to remove human poop from the pool).
She seemed pretty unamused by it all and only teared up when some said her daughter had died at age 9—it made the CEO think of her own kids she hardly saw because she traveled so much.
Anyhow, by then, my cockles were not warming. What do you think?