LONDON -- It's a bit of a misnomer, isn't it? Saying Ronaldo is a slave. Even without a talk-radio station playing on my desk I can hear the punters saying "How can he be a slave when he's earning £120,000 a week?"
And you can't really argue with that.
The Portuguese footballer is only 23 years old. He was bought and brought in to replace David Beckham as a teenager. When Beckham (ironically) left the top global brand Manchester United to go and play at the possibly even bigger global branded team of Real Madrid.
But don't expect an ex-pat Canadian to have anything useful to say about football. (With the possible exception of Calgary-bred Owen Hargreaves.)
I am however interested in the idea that a successful and well compensated individual can feel that he or she is held against their will by an employer. Because, in some ways, I think it can be true.
Hear me out!
Changing jobs can often feel like a very difficult thing. You have to change so many habits. How do you get to work? Do you have to move? You need to set up new bank transfers. Are there differences in the health cover? Who will your new boss be? Will she be okay? Will you still be able to meet Jenny for a Hagen-Daz every Thursday?
Okay, so there's more money, but is it that much, after taxes? And what if you discover that you can't actually do what they think you can do? (At least here we all know what each other can really do.)
So, there is a natural, human resistance to change that can hold you back. And many, many companies... in fact most of the thousands that I have worked with... do very little to dissuade people from having that fear. It's in the company's benefit for you to stay put:
- You have fewer pay rises
- They know you can do the job (sort of)
- It costs about 150% of your annual salary to replace you
- They can get rid of you when it suits them
Based on my experience, most people would actually be happier if they moved around a bit more. They'd be better managers. They'd be better employees and better consumers of companies' largess.
I suspect that's not a popular view either.
Don't mistake this for a view that the Fifa head's comments are correct, or that Ronaldo should move. Leave that view to politicians and back-seat football pundits.