“Business is Business”

2009 June 17
by Elizabeth Damewood Gaucher

Coll at the Magazine Stands
Creative Commons License photo credit: PinkMoose

You connect with CorporateIdealist.com because you believe there is more to life than making money. You believe that how a person generates money matters, and that how they make a life through the fruits of their labor matters even more.

These facts lead me to believe you can help me process the attitudes and actions of an “executive magazine” in my local community.

We may be able to start with the problem that there is no competition at present. The publisher has a stranglehold on the market and has positioned itself via political maneuvers as the sole source of business executive networking and resources. Not surprisingly, part of their success thus far has been the lure of a perceived power advantage for people personally and professionally if they come inside the magazine’s corporate environment.

There is nothing about their success that is illegal (to my knowledge). And in the world of business, if you are not breaking the law then no one can say you haven’t earned your success through shrewdness and smarts. But what we can say is no thank you, I don’t find value in your product and I prefer not to be a part of what you are doing.

I recently requested to be removed from the magazine’s subscription list because I was tired of its hypocritical approach to women in business. The highlight (lowlight?) for me was the magazine’s decision to accept advertising revenue from a strip club in their annual “women in business” issue. There have been several similar images and services advertised in the magazine over the years, and I no longer held the belief that this magazine had a true interest in advancing women as executives, and that in fact their publication was contributing to a culture that demeaned women as leaders and equals in the work place.

I want to emphasize, this operation is free to do as they choose. But so am I. After extensive emailing with the editor (who fought me tooth and nail over how “wrong” I was), she agreed to remove my name from the data base.

The magazine showed up in my mailbox 3 months after our agreement. Perhaps I should not be surprised that this operation is unable or unwilling to manage my straightforward disinterest; losing me would hurt their claim to be “read” by a certain number of people/women.

The title of this essay comes from the response I received from an associate on Twitter as we debated the issue: “Business is business.” She followed it up with a ;) winking smiley face. I’m still not sure about her mindset when she wrote this, but I’m very interested in yours.

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