I was at a kindergarten class yesterday listening to kids talk about what they wanted to be when they grew up. One child surprised me by saying he wanted to work in Credit Default Swap Risk Management at AIG. I was thoroughly surprised. In the network of people I know, I’m not aware of anyone with even a hint of interest in working at AIG. The little tike surprised me. [JOKE]
Then I started to wonder, why would anyone want to work for AIG? One might expect the reason AIG execs continue to plug away is because they feel personally responsible for losing billions of dollars. Yet in the era of mis-aligned pay structures and leaders refusing to take responsibility for any of our economic problems (i.e. Bush, Greenspan, numerous CEOs), I doubt this is the case.
It certainly isn’t a feel good job either. And your neighbors wouldn’t be impressed. Actually they may downright despise you for working at AIG. Now that we have seemingly donated $200 billion to the company (without that warm-fuzzy feeling you usually get from charity work), every AIG exec’s move is under intense public scrutiny. This certainly doesn’t make the job any easier. In summation, I could only think of 1 reason why I would work for AIG—money. And lots of it.
We shouldn’t force AIG to reduce wages (including bonuses) below market rates. When the ultimate motivating factor [money] is taken away, the talented ones will flee the company. Few people understand the intricacies of AIG’s business, and without high pay, why would anyone who does understand them consider working there, especially when they can find work elsewhere for higher pay and less scrutiny? If all the talented and intelligent people leave for more pay and less scrutiny, I would argue that taxpayers will be on the hook for even more money. Time will tell.