Sum of Life – The Worst Kind of Lies is a riveting mystery of corporate deceit, deception, betrayal and murder pitted against friendship, courage, sacrifice, and love. The setting for the story is within a fictional modern day insurance company where capitalism is considered the perfect business model. For some people, opportunities abound for unlimited wealth; but for others, life is reduced to an existence of fear and drudgery.
Aided by reluctant governmental agencies, the least likely of heroes battles against the forces of corporate power and organized crime. The story unfolds through the eyes of the players and shows how the unwitting public and Titanic Insurance Company of Kansas employees are manipulated and fleeced. In this world, where power and the greed of the few outweigh the needs of the many, champions arise to fight with a vengeance for their liberty, justice and livelihood.
Buy your copy!
“The only way the Company suffers when we unjustifiably fire someone is by paying a small increase in unemployment taxes for a short period of time. States with Free Labor laws make it especially easy to dump employees. I look at it as weeding a garden. I just rip them out and throw them on the compost heap.”
“If that’s your management style, how have you kept it so well hidden?” asked Ted. “Everyone thinks you’re such a great leader.”
“What makes you think I hide it?” smiled Felix. “When I’m publicly selective about who I get rid of, my power and prestige are enhanced. Everyone notices the fired employee’s empty desk. The fear that the remaining co-workers might be next generates respect, control and increased work efficiency.
“Nice managers not only lack respect from their employees, they can’t control them. Nice managers don’t last long when profits drop because the employees are screwing off at their work. When I see the production numbers dropping, I know it’s time to start weeding the management patch.”
“What about all that media talk concerning the consequences of losing knowledgeable and experienced workers from companies forced to downsize?” argued Ted, getting increasingly worried about this unexpected lunch invitation.
“Forced? Oh, please,” scoffed Felix. “You don’t believe that big corporate brain drain propaganda, do you? Where do you think this century’s corporate profits are coming from? When we downsize – or perhaps I should say ‘reorganize’ – our workforce, we automatically reduce our salary and health insurance expenses proportionally. That’s shown as an immediate profit on our balance sheet and a figure I can take to the Board of Directors to show how well we’re doing. The only people more impressed than the Board with profits are our stockholders. It does my heart good to see our company stock price shoot up!
“Of course, there are many ways to increase profits besides just firing employees,” bragged Felix. “I’ve been able to outsource fifty percent of Customer Service to international independent contractors. That’s an additional reduction in our salary, health care AND unemployment insurance costs.
“Because we have no responsibility for the employees outside the jurisdiction of the US, we no longer have to meet federal employment minimum wage requirements. That move drastically helped pump up our last quarterly report and pushed our stock price higher. Really, the only complaint that I’ve heard about outsourcing our customer service is that the phone reps are damned hard to understand.”
“So, you’re saying that no one has any control over their job and can’t do anything about losing it? What about our union?” demanded Ted, feeling a cold sweat forming on the palms of his hands.
“Union? Ha!” laughed Felix. “There are so few employees contributing dues that the union has little to nothing left to fight with. It does take money to work on our employees’ behalf, and very few pay union dues. It’s almost like our cheapskate employees actually want to abandon the only vehicle giving them some form of job security.”
“You make it sound like forcing out unwanted employees is doing them a favor because there’s no job security!” sighed Ted.
“Hmm, I hadn’t thought of it that way, but essentially, yes, you’re right,” nodded Felix as he set down his wine glass, picked up his fork and knife and began cutting more of his steak.
“For the good workers, that is. We blacklist the troublesome ones. Human Resources knows how to word reference inquiries for former employees. Once we’re sure who we’re talking to, just prefacing a reply with, ‘you didn’t hear this from me, BUT…’ does the trick every time.
“All we have to do is label someone a malcontent and troublemaker and we’ve successfully ruined their career and condemned them to menial labor somewhere,” shrugged Felix. “The sheer power of it gets a bit heady at times, Ted. All in all, being President and CEO is a lot of fun, and reducing all those expenses means higher profits. Higher profits yield bigger executive bonuses, stock options and a larger severance and retirement package. It’s an almost guaranteed slam dunk win-win for me.”
“Sounds like you have complete control of the Company and its employees,” admitted Ted, feeling very small and depressed. “What I don’t understand is why I’m here and what I could possibly have to offer someone like you.”
“Yes, the system works, but it’s not perfect,” smiled Felix. “Occasionally, I have to get creative when people like you pop up. Unfortunately, what I want only you can provide.”