What Will Happen to Paula Deen’s Employees?
When you’re looking for jobs, the company brand is almost as important as the position’s title, pay, and responsibilities. Ideally, you want to find your dream gig at a brand other people will recognize and have positive associations with. At the very least, it makes for a shorter explanation in job interviews down the road. In the wake of the allegations of racism against Paula Deen, we look at what happens to a company’s employees after an organization winds up with egg all over its public face.
Although technically, the Food Network just didn’t renew her contract, their statement made it pretty clear that the decision was abrupt and influenced by her recent publicity woes.
(If you need a refresher on the specifics, this timeline on Food Network Gossip Blog is a good place to start. Bear in mind, though, that it’s next to impossible to find a neutral take on these events, and this one appears to be slightly pro-Deen. Bring your own perspective to the table.)
What seems to be missing in much of the discussion about the Deen saga is what happens to the employees who work for her shows, “Paula’s Best Dishes” and “Paula’s Home Cooking.” Bottom line: nothing good.
“The staff is probably out, most production employment contracts are written to say that if production ceases, their jobs come to an end unless you get a guaranteed ‘pay or play’ deal,” television executive Lonnie Burstein told Fox News. “But it’s no different to any other show getting canceled. It’s the nature of the business.”
A source told Fox that Deen’s cancellation could affect up to 15 employees, although many might be moved onto other shows on the Food Network. No official figures exist with respect to how many employees worked exclusively for Deen’s shows.
So, if you find yourself in a similar situation, what should you do?
1. Remember that you are not your employer. Most interviewers are aware of the fact that employees have no control over what your boss does. Don’t feel like you need to apologize for his or her behavior.
2. Don’t volunteer information. If the interviewer asks about the troubles, keep it brief. When in doubt, say as little as possible.
3. Emphasize your skills. Because, again, you’re not responsible for anything your employer may or may not have done, your goal should be to highlight what practical knowledge you acquired in the course of doing the job.
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