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Oprah -vs- Oprah

January 4, 2011

I watched some of the shows on Oprah’s network (OWN) on Sunday. For the most part I liked what I saw except for when I watched “Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes.” I had one of her AHA moments that sent me to work on Monday fussing about what I saw. The behind the scenes show is interesting as it shows you how her show is put together and what the staff goes thru to get an episode aired. It was very intense and I watched with awe as what all was necessary to make the magic happen.

It was clear that the staff does all the work although Oprah has veto power; but the staff makes it all happen. Oprah said that anyone that works for her, works long hours, basically 24/7. Looking at the staff I was amazed how over weight they all were (there were a few exceptions), not just a few pounds but many, many pounds. The staff runs around with this intense fear that the shows they do may not be “over the top” to Oprah’s standards. I was nervous for them as I watched and then took a mindful look at how my employees have acted around me over the past several years. Did/do I make them nervous? Did/do they fear making mistakes? Are they fearful of losing their jobs? Are the long hours (only during tax season) unbearable?

The problem, I have, with what I saw is that on Oprah’s show she pontificates about how we need to take care of ourselves, love ourselves,  be mindful of our family and basically be happy (to just list a few Oprah-isms). Several of the producers on her show made comments about not having a social life, or dates in many months. How they realized this was a choice and, some, that they were lucky that they had a partner (those that had a partner) to help out at home. One producer’s little girl always asked her if it was a late night or an early night. The producer seemed to take pride in that her little girl was on board. I get that working for Oprah is probably a dream job, great money, great benefits and lots of perks (hugging the Judd’s is my dream too). So I look at these employees and see them NOT taking care of themselves, working themselves to death (or at least toward a stroke or heart attack) and having multiple nervous ticks; all to put out the best Oprah show ever. Does Oprah not see this? Does she think that paying top dollar and giving great benefits is enough?  I don’t think so, and at what cost? Sure I own a tax firm and at the most have had nine employees compared to Oprah’s network and her 446 employees, but it is all relative. I don’t think the behind the scenes was a good idea for me to watch as the Oprah I see on television is not the Oprah that runs the company. Oprah vs Oprah, neither wins.

At GAI (www.gunwel.com) we strive to be the best tax firm for you. Give us a call at 212-979-6830 or stop by for a visit. You work hard for your money, let us work smart to help you keep it! See you soon.

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