Here's my best recollection of a conversation the other day in Las Vegas. My conversation partner was an older man, a well spoken and intelligent individual with a natural ease and friendliness, who was taking me to the airport in a new black luxury SUV. He pointed to a building.
"That's where I used to work, over there, long ago, and for many years. It's the Venetian now, but it used to be The Sands and the Desert Inn. Back in the old days, you'd see all the great stars there - everybody who was anybody."
"What did you do there? What was your job?"
"I was a casino dealer for the first few years, and then walked the floor. Those were the days."
"Yeah. That was when the mobsters ran everything. They built Vegas. And they knew what they were doing. Working for the mob was great."
"Wait. What do you mean?"
"They treated you like family. They cared about everybody who worked there. I mean, you had to sign a one page paper when you got your job, and it had that picture of the monkeys on it - you know, the famous 'See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil' - and you had to sign it and promise your silence. But, they really took care of you. You got paid really well. And the boss, a well known underworld guy, he'd call you at home every week. I mean, every week. 'How ya doing, how's the family? You got your rent covered, or your payments? You got enough groceries in the house?' And if anybody got pregnant, or if your wife got pregnant, he'd phone and say 'Congratulations on the news. And, hey. Don't worry about it. It's all paid for. The doctor visits, the hospital, everything. No worries.' And then the corporations took over, and they didn't care about anybody. Cut the costs, do your job, get lost. In the old days, it was like a big family."
"So, you're saying that working for the mob was better than working for the modern corporations that have taken over?"
"Yes, sir, that's what I'm saying. They cared about you. They wanted you to be happy."
"They cared more about their people?"
"Totally. And they knew that happy people do better work."
"Well, that's true. But let me make sure I'm clear on this. You're sure that it was really better working for the mob than for a modern company?"
"Yeah. No question."
Corporate leaders and wise guys, take note.