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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Setting The Standard For Us All

There is a reason that Rock the Vote, and other celebrity endorsements, exist. Like it or not, the entertainment world influences us every day.  From what clothes we buy, to what brands we drink, face it: they speak and people listen.

The controversy between Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno with NBC is no different. This scandal can change more than a person’s late-night –viewing habits, it can seriously harm their job security. The Tonight Show, like it or not, is a program that is highly respected. If the longstanding tradition of passing the torch to a new Tonight Show host, whom has been a loyal employee for more than 20 years and then bows out gracefully,  can be broken not only by a host, but a network,what is that saying to other employers?

When Leno first started the Tonight show, his ratings, like Conan’s, were down. It was not until Hugh Grant appeared on the show amidst a scandal  that Leno gained the top viewership.  Even throughout this current scandal of scheduling, Conan’s ratings have improved significantly, with a high of 5.2 million viewers (according to the Nielson Company),  while reports show that Leno’s ratings  have not followed suit.

In fact, his ratings have continuously decreased every week, to  a total 4.8 million viewers  that same week (according to the Nielson Company).   In addition to luring in viewers,

NBC  also has to please  their advertisers. They are focusing their efforts toward viewers between the ages 18-49, which is said to be of the most preferred age group for advertisers,  according to the New York Times . Leno’s ratings for  that age group reached a low of 1.9 million, while O’Brien’s  ratings for the same week was 3.1 million.  NBC still decided not to give their new host a chance, even though Conan has been doing better then Leno. As I said before,  entertainment  can mirror real life, and NBC’s  choice to go with what they deem as reliable ratings is something that many of us might face.

In many, if not all cases, it takes a person some time to adjust to a new job, even if it’s  a promotion or  a transfer to a  different department.   Even though T.V. is different  than a clerk or sales position,  being a host of a comedy talk show still requires a period of adjustment.

You still have to play around to see what  techniques, features or comedy bits work  and what the  viewers or clients prefer.   It is  unrealistic  to expect a person  to  immediately adjust to any job, especially in entertainment, as things are constantly tweaked and improved.

This decision by NBC  to choose money, or rather the promise of more money over employee loyalty, sends a negative message to all employers

It’s  sending a signal to companies big and small that it is ok to not give new/promoted  employees  a chance  prove themselves. Instead of  giving the employee the benefit of the doubt, employers should just cut their losses and fire said employee and hire or re-hire someone else who they think will do a better job.

Another option is for employers is to hire on a monthly basis. This can be for as little as six weeks to 6 months, and not include health insurance and benefits. This way, if they don’t like how you are or aren’t getting new clients, they can fire you without having to pay for anything except your salary.

Contrary to what  you might think, employers won’t tell you that they’re hiring you for a test period. All they will say is that benefits don’t start until months later. You may think six months is a long time.

However, in this terrible economy, it is not.  People aren’t buying the hundreds of things that they normally would. This causes not only an excess of products, but  a lack of demand.  This means that, depending on your job, they a) won’t buy from you,   b) you won’t get new clients in and/or c) they’ll fire you because of a lack of income. Then they will go on to hire someone else, who they think  will get more business. The problem is, no matter how good of a seller you are, no one will buy.

NBC and Jay Leno ( if he would’ve ‘retired’ for real, this would not be an issue), did a terrible thing not only to the hundred something employees who work for the Tonight Show, but also to the rest of the country. No matter what, Americans have always stuck together in bad times. Now is not the time to let loyalty fall by the wayside.

One option is to boycott NBC and the sponsors who advertise on the network by writing emails and letters. Let them know  that loyalty means something and is rewarded.   Tell business owners that  playing musical chairs with jobs helps no one, including your  business, especially if every time a client calls or orders there’s a new person handling the account.

If you’re not loyal to your employees, will you be loyal to your clients?   Building a relationship with your clients is one of the best ,if not the only way, to secure orders for your company and not the competition.

For all those graduating seniors and other students who are looking for a full time job,  be wary and keep in mind that loyalty means nothing nowadays. Thanks to NBC’s example of money over employees,  your job may not be as secure as you think.

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