We just had another company meeting. As many of us work on shifts, company meetings are the only option for the whole team to meet, so people are excited to see each other. With four minutes left till start time, but three of us not present yet, I decided to entertain the rest, so I told them an anecdote:

A man entered a pet shop with the intention to buy a talking parrot. Salesman took him to the talking parrots and explained they have three birds at the moment. Customer pointed to first one and asked about its price. “$1000”, answered the salesman. “Wow, that's a lot, why so much?”, asked the customer. “He knows over 200 words”, replied the salesman. “How about that one?”, the customer pointed to second bird. “$3000 - He speaks perfect English and French”, replied the salesman. “What is the price of this one then?”, asked the customer, pointing to the third parrot. Staring at our accountant, I continued: “$100 000”, answered salesman. Not able to hide his surprise, customer asked: “A Hundred Thousand? How many languages does this bird speak?”. Salesman whispered “To be frank, he does not know a single word, but the other two call him BOSS”.

It was fun to watch the mixed reactions of my colleagues. My salary is bigger than the salary of any of my colleagues, and even though I do not speak French and my English is far from perfect, I do not feel that this is unfair.

When I went to the army, and due to the fact that I was skydiving, I was assigned as a paratrooper. Our company of 40 was an addition to a tank brigade. We had a separate kitchen and cook, but had to dine together with the entire personnel of 1300, in a huge dining hall. The very first day I noticed that there is a huge difference between our menus. While we had a five star menu, not just quality but quantity too, they had bean soup all the time. I could feel the way they looked at me from the next table and felt so guilty, that I could not enjoy my food at all. But soon I noticed that while we were running 10 miles every day, 30 miles loaded march each second Thursday, with full gear (I was a machine gunner), they were leaning on their tanks and smiling at us. Soon we learned that our mission in case of war was to break into command centers deep into enemy's territory, which is equal to death sentence with immediate effect. How much physical and emotional stress a half roasted chicken can buy? So at the age of 17 I learned that it is hard to judge what is fair and what is not. While it was not my choice how and where to serve my army duty, in life everyone is free to choose their job and lifestyle. I know what reaction the second part of the last sentence will spark, but try to strip all excuses off, and you will see that I am right.

In my case, I am also free to choose the size of my salary: I decide the pricing policy, the volume of sales, also salaries of my colleagues. By adjusting these, I can increase or decrease my profit. Then why is Dimitar so greedy? Are these numbers really the golden ratio? What is he going to do with his money?

Let me explain: everyone, including my colleagues and my customers, instinctively needs a safe place. People call it happiness. It is a function of awareness and actual conditions/situation. Example of full happiness? A healthy fetus, residing in a healthy, stress-free pregnant woman: little awareness plus perfect conditions. Once we are born and our senses start loading our brain with information, awareness flies ahead of conditions, and race for happiness becomes mission impossible. Information age is the most though time in term of happiness. On top of it, we have imagination too: the biggest gift, but also a heavy curse. We allow our imagination to mess with our awareness. Often it takes us high, very high, then drops us down. Back to the safe place: Boss, the one that may not speak a word in English, is the one that is supposed to create a safe place for each member of his team. As I already mentioned, a safe place is a combination of conditions and awareness. If my task was to establish not a company but a sect, with little or no budget, I will have to play with awareness, so I will have to attract lost souls... lost brains actually... and I will treat them in a way their awareness falls asleep. Well, such a task is not a challenge for me, also a few already did this long ago, and now we all have to clean the mess they created and are still creating. Instead, I chose to team up with fifty very intelligent and with extremely high level of awareness individuals. As I do not want and have no way to influence on their awareness, I am left with the other option - conditions.

Conditions consist of state and doctrine. State is what they experience, see, and get: workload, salary, level of comfort at their working place. Doctrine is the principles and positions. Doctrine should be manifested, so people know what to expect in each situation. For example, we were not lucky with government/authorities in our country, for decades. We live in a country where everyone is obliged to pay for health security, but when someone gets a cancer or another costly-to-cure disease, we have to pay by ourselves. Here it is common to see how society collects money for the treatment of a two-year old kid, whose parents are exemplary taxpayers. Sometimes it takes months to collect the amount, when it is already too late for the little patient. Dimitar's doctrine for his team says: should any of you or a member of your family get into such situation, I will pay the treatment, immediately, no matter how much it costs, as each second counts. Then I will confront our Government and will push them to compensate me, with the money they got as health security from us. The average salary in ICDSoft is the highest in our country, as is the average tax each of us pays. Unfortunately, the government does not care. Doctrine also says that salary is guaranteed, no matter what happens to revenue, as we have reserves. Our reserve per capita is high enough to ensure at least a year of operations, with zero income. We have doctrine for each possible situation, including natural disasters, war, see “Disaster Recovery” article.

So here is why the obligation of Boss is not just to pay salary, but to create a safe place for each member of his team. It is expensive, more expensive than most of people imagine, as it costs not just money, but time, experience, and many other things money cannot buy.

Even while I am writing this, I keep an eye on the screen next to me that shows live CCTV stream of the street in front of the office. Should I notice any threat, I will transform from IT Manager to the once army special operations paratrooper in a second.