You know who we've been too hard on lately? CEOs. We (me, you, all of us) haven't walked a mile in any of their shoes and yet we sit here, day in and day out, looking at them, and judging them, and criticizing their every move. So they collectively lost zillions of dollars and thousands of of people's jobs, so what? They're still people. People. PEE-PULL. Not bots, people. And not just people, broken people. Heartbroken over what they've done, none of which has really been their fault. You see, being a CEO is hard. Being a failed CEO? Even harder. Take, for example, Jimmy Cayne. The man is already beating himself up for something that was really out of his control. For us to kick him when he's down, to write things like "you go to hell Jimmy Cayne! you go to hell and die!" on his own portrait is a kind of immeasurable cruelty that should only be reserved for Michael Vick's dogs, or Canadians. This is too upsetting to talk about. Take it away, Wall Street Journal columnist, Evan Newmark:
...spare a prayer for the CEO. It is tougher than you think to be a CEO. What goes through the mind of the CEO isn't just about money and power. It also is about the burden of failure.
When thousands of people are depending on you, that is a heavy burden. You don't want to let your employees, shareholders and board down. In failure, you do.
Just look at Chuck Prince and Jimmy Cayne. Broken men. As Cayne said at the final Bear Stearns shareholder meeting, "Words alone can't describe the pain I feel." He knows his legacy: the destruction of his bank and almost $1 billion of his personal wealth.
Next time, Jim Cramer or some other talking head calls for the firing of another CEO, pause for a moment. To err is human, to forgive divine.