Another View: Why You DON’T Want to Work For Someone Like Jerry Jones

Well, I just finished reading Tim Sackett’s TLNT article Why You Really Want to Work For Somebody Like Jerry Jones. Tim, I think you need to think about this a little longer.

You say you aren’t a Cowboys fan. I’m not either anymore — not in 15 years. In fact, I am embarrassed they are from Dallas, my home town.

Yes, Jerry is involved with the everyday team operations and decisions. Yes, he is passionate about his team. Yes, he drives revenue.

But there are reasons you don’t want to work for him. In fact, Tim, some of the “good points” you made about him are really “bad points” and I’ll explain why:

1. Passion

Jerry Jones is super involved in his team. He is so passionate that he micromanages everything. He breathes down the coach’s neck. When you micromanage, the team doesn’t know who to pay attention to — the owner or the coach. Trying to figure this out is a distraction for the team and confuses everyone.

Ever seen this at work on your job? Ever had your boss’ boss tell you what to do?

2. He hires “yes-men”

If a coach doesn’t follow his instructions exactly, and the team loses, it’s the coach’s fault. And he gets fired. Has it ever occurred to Jerry that since he is so involved on a day-to-day basis, maybe he’s the one that should be fired? Look at the list of coaches the Cowboys have had:

  • Tom Landry — 1960-1988
  • Jimmy Johnson — 1989-1993
  • Barry Switzer — 1994-1997
  • Chan Gailey — 1998-1999
  • Dave Campo — 2000-2002
  • Bill Parcells — 2003-2006
  • Wade Phillips — 2007-2010
  • Jason Garrett — 2010-present

That’s a lot of coaches! Discounting Tom Landry, that’s seven (7) coaches in 23 years. Bill Parcells was the only one (to my knowledge) to tell Jerry that if he took the job as head coach, Jerry had to promise to keep out of his way. I guess Jerry did the best he could for a while, but in the end, his desire to be “involved” got the best of him.

Ever seen “yes-men” at work? Aren’t they disgusting?

3. Spoil the team

Jerry Jones is so passionate about winning and spoils his team rotten. He now has a “babysitter” for a player that has had trouble with  … uh, the law. Because Jerry believes this player just needs someone to keep him on the right path, the “babysitter” accompanies him everywhere he goes.

The Cowboys seem to have had an abundance of “feisty” players that get out of control (i.e. T.O. destroying a locker room). Instead of giving them “tough love,” Jerry makes excuses for them and, as a result, enables them.

Ever seen the boss play favorites? They can do no wrong? And since the boss doesn’t reprimand them, they just continue to make life miserable for everyone else on the team?

4. It’s all about him

Jerry wants “his” business to succeed, “his” team to do well, “his” investment to pay off. How would you like to be “his” — body and soul — if you were “his” employee?

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Ever work for a boss who demands you are at his/her “beck and call” 24/7?

5. He’s out to build his brand

Recently, Jerry Jones opened a Victoria’s Secret “PINK” store at “his” Cowboys Stadium. Now he has really reached bottom — the stadium is on its way to becoming a mall. This store is for fans that need to buy Bombshell bras or panties before a game. Wow! Just see what a Bombshell bra with a Cowboy logo does to transform your Bs into Cs!

In addition, there are poles and platforms and scantily clad Miller Lite girls dancing on them on any given Sunday.

Ever had a boss that wanted to “party” at night all the time and expected his “team” to go with him? How embarrassing. And you have to pretend you don’t remember what a jerk he made of himself the night before.

Don’t get me wrong. Jerry Jones might be a lot of fun at a party. He’s a “good time Charlie” — he wants to see everyone having fun and is probably generous to a fault. I’m sure he could tell some great stories.

But when all is said and done, in spite of all his passion and enthusiasm, Jerry is a lousy employer.

I think we all need to get together as a group and do an “intervention” on him. Maybe send him on a group therapy weekend … um, hosted by Daniel Pink! What do you think?

So Tim, I’ve had my say. Let’s let some other people chime in.

Jacque Vilet, president of Vilet International, has more than 20 years’ experience in international human resources with major multinationals such as Intel, National Semiconductor, and Seagate Technology. She has managed both local/ in-country national and expatriate programs and has been an expat twice during her career. She has also been a speaker in the U.S., Asia, and Europe, and is a regular contributor to various HR and talent management publications. Contact her at jvilet@viletinternational.com.

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