Penny-pinching at the office

The Ticker

April 20, 1992|By Julius Westheimer

"As companies cut costs, no perk is left unpared," says Working Woman magazine, May. Excerpts: "One communications firm supplies only whole milk with coffee service, forcing skim devotees to buy their own. . . . Chase Manhattan Bank doesn't even supply coffee (a vending machine does) and Chemical Bank replaced greenery in its headquarters with silk. . . . Bear Stearns advises employees to conserve paper clips and rubber bands. . . . Other austerities: companies slice fax bills by nixing cover sheets. . . . An accounting firm ditched waste basket plastic liners. . . . One overzealous manager refilled the spring water cooler straight from the tap, but some employees retaliated by stealing rolls of toilet paper."

WINNING RULES: "It's impossible to reduce a winning business strategy to an easy formula," says Success, April, "but follow the most important rules." Excerpts: "Make your people believe they can perform based on their positives, not negatives. . . . Have a strong work ethic, with your people arising at crack of dawn. Optimists get out of bed early; pessimists sleep late. . . . When a crisis arises, don't make a spontaneous decision when you're emotionally tied in knots. Take two steps back, then 10 forward. . . . Make everyone understand that winners must be overachievers. . . . Write down everything, leaving nothing to memory. Write your goals, daily and monthly. Next to goals, write methods."

WORKPLACE WISDOM: "If your job rarely exposes you to other companies, if you want to change careers or if you're shy about networking, join a trade group. Joining widens your perspective, making it easier to succeed. You'll get inside information about new techniques in your profession, gossip about other companies, a sense of how your career compares to those of your peers, others' opinions of your employer and, hopefully, job leads." (Lawrence Stybel, Boston outplacement executive.)

NEXT PRESIDENT: Is your business successful under this administration or do you want something different from Washington? Smart Money, April, says, "Our studies show that in every administration since 1920 during periods of relatively low interest rates, the party in power retained the White House for four more years. This augurs well for President Bush, even if the economy remains soft. One year in advance of elections, interest rates always called the tune and in November, 1991, interest rates fell to new lows for top-grade corporate bonds compared to a year ago. That met the test for predicting Bush's re-election."

HOLIDAY HASH: "Always take a banker to lunch when you don't need money." (Nelson Gutman, my uncle, a successful Baltimore merchant many years ago.). . . . "When making a telephone call in which you expect a confrontation, always stand up. Standing gives you a feeling of more power." (Psychologist Jim Dasinger, WBAL Radio.). . . . "Why is the wrong number never busy?" (Sam Moss). . . . "To stay young, don't retire. Everyone I interviewed who feels young and vital, no matter what his/her age, is working. Most people said that if they stopped working and started getting up late, their machines would slow down and stop." ("The Rest of Your Life is The Best of Your Life" by David Brown). . . . "Be persistent. If you keep going you'll eventually get what you want. Somebody needs you somewhere." ("Take My Life, Please!" by Henny Youngman). . . . "To sell your home quickly in today's market, be prepared to sell at a realistic price, even if it's at a loss. Price must be in line with actual sales of similar homes." ("How to Sell Your House in a Buyer's Market" by Martin Shenkman).

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