At Newsweek in the 1990s, Hank Gilman helped put together a story about why, even though the economy was doing fine, many Americans felt terrible.
His team concluded that people felt anxious because businesses were cutting tens of thousands of jobs in what seemed like an arbitrary way. Employees didn’t know if they were next.
“The poster boy for all this was Robert Allen, CEO of AT&T,” Gilman says. “His story is a must-read for every executive.”
When interviewed about AT&T’s layoffs, the telecom chief said something like, “What do you want me to do? Go on TV and cry?” Asked later, as a courtesy, to confirm the quote for publication, he did.
“We called it In-Your-Face Capitalism,” Gilman says.
And that landed Allen in the “Bad PR Hall of Fame.”
— Adapted from You Can’t Fire Everyone, Hank Gilman, Portfolio/Penguin.