May 2008

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it was bad enough when they were making multi-eight figures when their companies did well (because that was all a result of senior management talent of course) but now they're getting paid that for blatantly mismanaging them (Carly Fiorina, Robert Nardelli, etc) and even committing felonies (Patti Dunn).

I can imagine/comprehend/fantasize about winning the lottery - somebody dropping eight figures in my lap for walking in the right Qwik-E-Mart at the right time - but for wrecking a multi-billion dollar company and ruining the lives of thousands of employees? WTF?!?

Patrick Hillman

I wonder if it works in reverse? If I stop being productive, will I gravitate toward being happy?


So no one actually reads the referenced articles?

From the article "Sad workers may make better workers":

"It is important to know that the moods were unrelated to the task," said Sinclair. "Unhappiness is coming from something else."

This invalidates the "make workers sad by overpaying the CEO" premise.

Jeffrey G. Harper

I gave it some thought, and decided I can make this whole concept of sad workers being more productive work in my favor...

"I tell ya, boss, paying taxes really bums me out. It would really make me sad if you gave me a 50% pay increase because I would then have to pay more taxes. Of course, according to the data, that sadness would make me more productive. If you were to double my salary, I'd have to pay even more taxes, so you'd make me even sadder, which, no doubt, would increase my productivity even more. Oh, whoa is me. I shouldn't be telling you this -- I wouldn't want to give you the idea of drastically increasing my salary in order to increase my taxes, thereby increasing my sadness and productivity. Just forget I mentioned it."

So, do you think this approach would work?


I am not able to take you shamelessly plugging you book in every blog. Please stop the torture. 99% of your blog readers must have read your book already via your blog


It's always very high comedy when people like you complain about the overpaid leaders of the private sector.

Meanwhile, each of the 536 leaders of the public sector in DC control an average of six BILLION dollars in spending --every single year.

Next time you seethe about some CEO getting a $50 million bonus, think about your chucklehead US Representative who gets 120 times that each and every year to hand out to their friends as they please.

Tom Banjo

Back in 2002 a fellow hi tech guy and I opened an ice cream store. Things didn't going well and we were upside down and generally fuct. Sad times oh my faithless friends. Man you shoulda seen how Rick and I treated the customers. 6 Figure shtick normally reserved for boardrooms and CEOs, Charm, humor, phenomenal efficiency, even a bit of psychic pyrotechnics when appropriate. This was the inverse equivalent of pounding one's fist into a wall. It was saddest business I ever had and the nicest I've ever treated the general public.
These days things are a little better, I take a couple of calls a month and you better be making sense pretty frickin quick...


1. enough with whoring the book....we get want to sell them and get happier.

2. enough with the boring posts. let's get back to the fun posts about the middle east, how the jews are evil and how terrible american foreign policy is.



Okay.. This is getting really repetitive.. For the past few blogs, all entries have scott's latest book link on Why are you trying to impose this book on us.. We know.. we know that you have come up with yet another dilbert book.. And we know that it is there on amazon.. If we think its our money's worth, we will definetely order one..


I get the feeling you have more fun writing things you know will get everyone all hyped up, just so you can read the ridiculous comments. To which i raise my glass to you, taking pleasure in setting people up to make fools of themselves is something I'd never get tired of, glad to see someone has the time and notoriety to get reactions, to do it every day.



“Scott, how come you never bother to define your terms?”
I have to agree with this criticism. As an example, you repeatedly use the word “is” throughout your blog without ever defining what “is” is. As President Clinton has noted, there is much importance in the definition you choose to give this word.
You have used other words without clear definition as well, such as “turd”, “wiener” and “penis”. Sometimes I think we’re on the same page when we’re using these terms and sometimes I think we are not. While I foresee that your cartoonist laziness will cause you to offer the solution of just posting a link to a free online dictionary, I ask: is this enough for your loyal readers? Is it really?


CEO's are like overpaid sports-stars.They have a contract and continue to recieve payment even if they are injured, don't show up,have a felony record,or make huge mistakes.I am not a fan or sports-stars or CEO's....


I'm sure you've already thought of this, and many people have already pointed it out, but it's entirely possible that:

Being successful is what makes one happy :. giving someone money to be happy, doesn't necessarily mean happiness is what makes one successful. And

Being productive is what makes one sad :. paying them less and making them more sad isn't necessarily going to make them productive. This especially makes sense, because if you're in a daily grind feeling like you're going no where in life, of course you're going to be sad (and necessarily productive, because you have nothing better to do).

If you can see my point, A does not necessarily cause B, because it could be B that is causing A, or an plethora of unknown variables that cause one, the other, or both. For example, maybe factor "C" exists, in which C is the socio-economic status of the worker. Perhaps all people from the lower class are raised to be hard workers and go a long way for very little. In this you have your unskilled workforce who whether or not they get paid very little, because of the culture they're from, will work hard anyway (but because they're from the lower class, they have many many reasons to be miserable, such as unsatisfactory health care, difficult to pay rent, etc). While if factor C pertains to an upper class person, because they know the right people they become a CEO (because their rich parents knew the right people), get paid lucrative salaries, and have very little to really worry about, and so they're happy.

That to me, is a lot more logical ;X


I think Scott is just trying to make sure there will be a record turn out for people wanting to kick him in the Virtual Nuts tonight.

He's probably worked it out with Guinness to have a new entry added to the book. Most times consecutively kicked in the Virtual Nuts.


You are #@$%ing EVIL.

Mark Thorson

If we take your concept to the
logical conclusion, we should
invest in successful Chinese
companies that use slave labor
(or nearly so -- terribly
underpaid, if paid at all).

In addition to toy companies,
they also have a growing
semiconductor industry. If
you remember the controversy
in the first term of the
present Administration over
the lobbying activities of
the President's brother Neil,
some of that lobbying was
for Grace Semiconductor, a
mainland Chinese semiconductor

Bet all those guys are really

Peter G.

I'd like to follow up on Scott Windhorst's post by suggesting that your next book be a collection of promotional blurbs for this book.

At the rate you're going, you'll have 50,000 words in about three more weeks.

Plus, if that does well, you're guaranteed an endless supply of sequels.

Stick to Drawing Comics XVII: A Collection of Promotional Blurbs for "Stick to Drawing Comics XVI".

And every book will serve to promote all the previous ones, leading to exponential growth in your book sales. Score.

. png


[It is important for a worker to be 'successful' and not merely 'productive' -- case in point: someone who is very fast at producing defective products will only drag down a company -- especially in a litigious society.

But I'm sure the 'science' you quoted took that into consideration, right?]

Yes, gr8hands, it did, as you'd know if you'd bothered to read the article. Both sad and happy people performed at the same speed, but the sad people made fewer mistakes.


Being overpaid would make me happy. Seeing other people happy makes me sad. Yeah, right!


rita mae


Yeah! Let's hear it for lighting farts on fire! Now, you know there are going to be people who say, "How can anyone think it is funny to see small children using dirty language?" And I say, "It's comedy. Smile and shut the FU."

I let my Grandkids read the "Captain Underpants" books at my house. One of the in-laws doesn't like the premise of the series, because little kids say bad things. I say, if your kid doesn't know comics from reality, then you have a bigger problem than you think. They still bring the kids over so I guess they see it my way, or they just don't want to pay a sitter. BWAHAHAHA

Rita Mae


Scott, I'd like to test the validity of your theory, so in the name of scientific research you need to give me all your money/worldly possessions. Then indefinitely contract to work for me as the CEO of Dilbert, Inc., whereby I promise I'll do my level best to make you very sad. I get the sense that the productivity of your endeavors will improve DRAMATICALLY because I’m feeling happier already.

Andy Watt

I found the "sad workers more productive" story (which I note came 4 years before the CEO one) hysterical because it might as well have been written in Teletubby-speak (very poor quality journalism there - "Thus, sad people were more productive." - good god, that's one giant leap for journokind) - but the phrase in the final paragraph "The bottom line, said Sinclair, is that it is important for organizations to take into account the emotions of their employees" chilled me a little as the article, in its atomic entirety, was espousing the concept of keeping your workers miserable. Nice.

BTW, I notice nobody's mentioned that this very scenario is one of the undercurrents that makes Dilbert tick... and keeps it funny.

I'm the CEO of the business in my head where I get to do things I want to do instead of things I have to do. It's not a well paid job but the drugs do help keep it going. :)

John Radke

Scott, how come you never bother to define your terms? What do you mean by "productive" or "successful"? Depending on how you define them, they could be one and the same.

For that matter, how you define "atheism" and "evolution" and lots of other things is probably what causes most of the controversy surrounding your blog. If you used the definitions e.g. atheists or biologists (respectively) were using, it seems to me you're pretty much stating the obvious. Atheism requires god-like knowledge only because that's how you're defining it. Evolution seems like bullshit only because of how you define it.


Grossly overpaid incompetent CEO --> Angry employees (counterproductive).

I suspect there's a threshold, some sort of lower minimum value of salary disparity, above which the galley slaves shift from sad to angry. Let's call it the "Adams Radius" (because "radius" is cooler than "limit" and implies both Drew Carey's "Circle of Crap" and black holes, which are funny; just ask the French).

The real challenge, then, is to get as near to the Adams Radius as possible without exceeding it, which would result in a sudden after-market for the company's office supplies. Steve Jobs seems to have worked that out. I'm not so sure about Steve Ballmer, though.

So just what is the value of the Adams Radius? I call for some experimentation. Who's with me?


You conveniently neglected the last paragraph in the study you cited.

Allow me to quote:
In Sinclair's subsequent studies, when people believed that the task would make them feel good, they devoted more energy to the job. The bottom line, said Sinclair, is that it is important for organizations to take into account the emotions of their employees. It seems it could be beneficial to creating situations that lead people to believe that performing their jobs will cause them to feel good: this could cause increases in motivation and superior performance.

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