How a career can backfire


Is it possible that your career may hurt your children? A thoughtful article in Fortune, dated today, supplies some answers.

Excerpts: "According to a University of Maryland study, parents spend on average only about 17 hours per week with their children. . . Mommy often gets home from work too tired to talk. Daddy's almost never around. . . Because children are the future, America could be headed for bad bumps down the road. . . We pay child-care workers less than zoo keepers, and expect them to do wonders. . . Divorce has robbed millions of kids of at least one full-time parent. . . A compassionate, $250-a-week nanny is beyond the reach of most parents. . . Young adolescents left alone are twice as likely to smoke, drink and use marijuana. . . The state of America's children is a political mine field. . . Without doubt, helping improve child care is in the best interest of business; many firms have taken the plunge."

CEO CORNER: When I asked Carl Hecht, chief executive officer, U.S.Tag & Label Co., the secrets of his business success, he responded: "People make the difference. You see, I don't overmanage and I'm not a hands-on type of guy, so I concentrate on getting the best people and give them their heads. Another thing: I hate debt; it keeps me awake, so the firm doesn't have much. We're very conservative financially. And we don't give our goods away. We deal with a wide spectrum of customers, from Joe the Shoemaker to American Home Products, Procter & Gamble, Marriott, McCormick, etc. We make quality tags and labels, give top service and we get our price. Customers respect us for that. If firms discount too much, they don't make money -- and that's what business is all about."

MARYLAND MEMO: Thinking of moving away? Think again. Considering starting a business here, or moving your firm to Maryland? Read on. The cover story, "The State of the States," in Financial World, May 28, lists Maryland as third of "The 10 Best." (Best are Utah and Missouri.) Excerpts about our state: "Moody's and Standard & Poor bond rating AAA. . . Very good revenue estimating, rainy day fund, good use of program audits, top-notch accounting system, winner of Government Finance Officers achievement certificate. . . Maryland suffers spending/revenue imbalances, ate into past year surplus in fiscal 1990 [but] state deserves credit for superquick action, including $217 million in cuts. . . Governor sparring with legislature more than usual; puts foot in mouth with jesting reference to Eastern Shore, etc."

The article's minuses: "High unfunded pensions [although on the way down]. . . Below-average management controls of highways and bridges. . . Expenditures outpacing revenues in fiscal 1990 to 1992."

MARYLAND & MORE: Israel Cohen, CEO, Giant Food, Lanham, is listed in Forbes, May 27, under "The Top 10 Best-Paid Chief Executives." Cohen's $11.5 million haul last year included $10.2 million in stock gains, $1.2 million in salary plus bonus, etc. . . "Baseball season thought: You rear your child like you throw a ball. Give it the best start you can while it's in your hands, because it must go the rest of the way itself." (Real Estate Newsletter, via Jeff Underwood). . . "If you could give your son or daughter only one gift, let it be enthusiasm." (Soundings, May). . . Second quarter estimated Federal and Maryland income tax installments are due four weeks from today. . . One week from today, all financial institutions close for Memorial Day observance.

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