By Steve Moran

There is nearly always a lot of talk about pay for frontline workers, but almost no talk about executive directors’ pay. We mostly assume they are getting paid enough, but I am not so sure. (Credit to the website Bored Teachers for inspiring this post.) I kind of think executive directors should be paid a million dollars a year, and here is why:

  1. Being an executive director is like doing 20 jobs all rolled into one. They are marketing people; paper pushers; counselors to residents, family members, and team members. They serve food and clean up trash; they fill in as cooks and caregivers.
  2. They have one of the most important jobs in the whole world. They are responsible for the lives of residents and family members. They are responsible for the lives of team members, and that includes team members’ spouses, kids, and grandkids.
  3. It takes a lot of coffee to do what they do. Have you noticed how expensive Starbucks has gotten? Executive directors need to be perpetual high-energy machines that just keep going. It takes money to get that morning coffee and afternoon booster.
  4. They have to make more important decisions each day than the president — and without a group of high-powered advisors to give advice and to blame if things go wrong. It is awesome to have that power and responsibility, but terrifying at the same time because so many of those decisions can transform a life for good or bad.
  5. They have to be prepared to face anything, from the pandemic to fires, floods, earthquakes, and so much more. If the world were to come to an end, it would be executive directors who would be the last standing. They know how to survive anything, even bad bosses.
  6. They need to feed their staff-care addiction.  They love doing special things for their team members, bringing them gifts and treats. Imagine what it would be like to work for an executive director who made a million a year. You would be treated so well.
  7. They end up being babysitters. This may be a little unkind, but it is kind of true when you think about it. A lot of managing staff is about making sure they are doing what they are supposed to and that they’re not getting into trouble. I am told the current rate for babysitting is $25/hour per child, so now get out your calculator and figure it out. 24/7 for how many employee shifts a month? It might turn out that $1,000,000 is too low.
  8. It could help with stress reduction. Imagine how much more effective you would be as an executive director if you had so much money you would never have to worry about paying your bills. And on top of that you would get to take a dream vacation or two every year, coming back refreshed and ready to change the world.
  9. How about under-appreciation pay? Think about it, executive directors really get no love at all. There are appreciation days, weeks, or even months for just about every position — nurses, fire fighters, police, and teachers — but not for executive directors. Yeah, there is something called Boss’s Day, but that hardly compares. If you pay executive directors a million a year, no appreciation day is needed.
  10. Because they would give most of it back to the team. Let’s face it. Most executive directors, if offered a million dollars a year salary, would say, “No thanks,” take most of that, and give it to the hard-working frontline staff.

If those are not good enough reasons, I don’t know what would be.