Undercover Boss

Have you seen the show Undercover Boss?

It’s on Sunday nights and I finally caught a full episode. I watched 80% of another episode (about Subway) a couple weeks ago via the ‘net, until it decided to crash.

So the premise of the show is that the CEO of the company goes undercover to work with their bottom line–the people that essentially run the business and are the working hands of the company. From what I’ve seen, it works best if they are “training” the CEO.

This past episode was about ABM, which is a janitorial (and other branches such as shuttle service) company. They do office cleaning to window washing to elevator maintenance.

It was a great show to watch. I was intrigued at watching this very very rich man humble himself down to clean the first toilet he’s ever cleaned in his life. He did it without being a total priss, but it was sorta hilarious how very slow moving he was about it. I love the feelings I get seeing the top dog in a company really see what the bottom line does for them. I’ve worked quite a few bottom line sort of jobs in my life. I’ve seen some adults in those type of jobs, too… and they don’t get paid for the amount of sheer work they do. Not all the people in the world who don’t have a lot of money are lazy. Point in case.

It’s a story of putting someone else’s shoes on. I love that.

One thing amazed me about the show. It also evoked a few questions.

The amazing thing? The people whom trained the CEO were amazing workers. They love their work. They do their utmost and care about the details. They’ve streamlined their job into efficiency and productivity.

The questions that come from all of this?

How did they pick these people to train the CEO? Was it a random sampling? Was it whom they knew would do a great job?

What motivates a person to do their job with honor, integrity, and dedication?


The thing is…

I’ve worked the bottom line and I know there are a LOT of people who don’t do a great job. They don’t even do a mediocre job. I’ve seen full grown adults have difficulty being trained to do simple tasks. They really don’t seem to care all that much. You also see a few shining stars, and as soon as their dream unfolds… they are gone. They seems to have found the ladder from the bottom line or they have found new opportunities elsewhere. These individuals have worked for ABM for many years. Some for over 20! One man, Kenny, was working his way through school. The CEO, after the reveal, offered to get him into the ranks of management at ABM. (and to also pay all his schooling) Being reduced to tears (both me AND Kenny), he thankfully and humbly cannot believe how he is being blessed with opportunity. He’s given a ladder…nay, he’s given an escalator out from the bottom line.

Is it something we can do for our kids to build into them this exit from apathy?

Is a work ethic really noticed in the world?

Is the goal to always rise in rank?

Or is satisfaction a matter of knowing each day you did your job to the fullest?

How come more people don’t adhere to this?

Why do I see a constant stream of ho-hum workers? Is it the almighty dollar sign?

Watching a show like that makes my heart full and my head swim. How is success measured? How do you define failure?

The only local scrapbooking store in the area is closing it’s doors this month. It’s a dismal prospect: that big box stores have taken over and the little guy is working his tail off for a dream. I suppose it’s finding the things you offer that a large corporation just cannot. There has to be a cap on what you can make as a small business, when being a big box is almost limitless.(just open another store, expand) So when you’re a small business, is the goal to make beaucoup bucks or is it to find the sweet spot in life and live in it? Is the goal to eventually turn the small business into a big box? Doesn’t that kill the grassroots effort in how it began? How can a company survive without that goal? How can you get people to pay more for something they can get at walmart?

In the end, after shedding tears over the generosity of the CEO, granting each of the people who he “worked for” a dream, I got the feel good fuzzies of a show I enjoyed watching. (BTW, the CEO failed at ALL the jobs he did) I suppose that was the bottom line of the show, but it really has me pondering some things this Monday morning.

If only everyone was passionate about the job they have, no matter how seemingly menial. Boy, how things would change.

Check the show out on CBS, Sunday nights. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s