Whatever Happened To Profit Sharing?

Dr Stuart Woolley
CodeX
Published in
4 min readJun 2, 2024

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Once a fairly common practice, it’s been replaced with company landfill, soggy pizza, and lunchtime yoga sessions.

“Image generated using OpenAI’s DALL·E.”

I’m old enough to remember a time, back in the 1990s, when a few companies still offered profit sharing to their employees, though this particular US outfit did continually tried to avoid it by setting a “minimum profit level” before the “gates were opened” and employees got their promised share.

I was there myself, for a while, but got absolutely nothing, despite the glowing promises of equality and fairness of pay during interview, thanks to this ominous clause. It was one of the reasons I went contracting and made my own way. Let’s not digress too much so soon, however.

I very much suspected that the company in question originally started out with a kind of beautiful fairness — we’re all in the same boat, if you work harder you get paid more kind of thing, but ultimately rewarding the shareholders gradually took precedence and the CEO et al. managed to eliminate the process by putting up more barriers against it until it “became too complex to implement” or other such corporate bullshit.

I think a lot about profit sharing, especially when a HR operative brings up that loaded question in every “anonymous” employee survey¹ or mandatory in-person free pizza lunch along the lines of “what

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Dr Stuart Woolley
CodeX

Worries about the future. Way too involved with software. Likes coffee, maths, and . Would prefer to be in academia. SpaceX, X, and Overwatch fan.