Goodbye Nick Cannon…

Dear Nick,

Heard about you leaving America’s Got Talent. It‘s one of the few shows our family tries to watch together and we’re sorry to see you go. That said, after reading your public resignation letter, I’d like to offer some advice and a perspective of which you may not be aware. One of the main differences between “the greatest generation” (or even us baby-boomers) and those that followed is that the greatest generation always accepted that work sometimes sucked — not all the time but often enough that they can fully appreciate the difference between work and golf, something subsequent generations can’t quite seem to get through that thin skin of theirs.

What the greatest generation knew was that working entails being asked to do things they may not want to do, or dress in ways they may not want to dress, or act in ways they may not always feel like acting, but they did it because they understood that’s what makes work, well, work. As a business owner and supervisor of a fair number of employees, I can tell you that many of your generation haven’t quite come to grips with this yet. You wouldn’t believe the number of times my CFO Merri Johnson or I have asked someone to do something they didn’t want to do, like work on a Sunday, or put on their makeup before coming to work, or stop wearing skirts so short you can see what they had for breakfast, etc., only to have them storm out the door without so much as a goodbye. Frankly, it’s shocking. Where did they, or you for that matter, get the idea that work should never require putting your company’s needs before your own? Your actions are a blatant display of pampered entitlement and while you may think you are standing up for your principles, in reality, what you’re doing is reinforcing a false idea of what it takes to succeed. You are telling people that being a valued employee is only for spineless lackeys when exactly the opposite is true. Sorry to break it to you but work requires discipline and sacrifice. If you want to quit the show, quit, but to blame in on being criticized by your employer for not acting in the best interest of their network is no better than one of my staff storming off after being cited for not dressing properly. You all don’t take criticism very well, do you?

I believe Warren Buffett when he says he isn’t in it for the money. You said the same thing about yourself but is that really true? Yet whether you’re in it for the money or not isn’t really the point. The point is if you choose to walk away from millions of dollars because it’s impinging on the artistic integrity of your nightclub act, I suggest you’re not clever enough to say what you want to say while keeping “the man” happy. I say you’re acting like a spoiled child. Where else are you going to get a job that pays millions of dollars for shouting, “Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s give it up for Mento, the Mindreading Moose… WOW! AMAZING!” (No, you’re not in it for the money. Nick’s Bucket List: Work with a mind-reading Moose. Check.)

Frankly, I think you owe your employer an apology. In your public pronouncement detailing your grievances, you berated NBC because they had the audacity to look out for their own best interest. How could you possibly expect otherwise? Your employer is not your mother. Their entire existence does not revolve around making you happy. Sorry, but they’ve got other things to worry about.

Being a success doesn’t mean just doing whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it. If that were the definition, everyone in your generation would qualify with flying colors. The roads would be full of limousines and the skies full of private jets. The truth is, the last thing your generation needs is a hero who, in reality, is nothing more than a poster boy for crybaby of the month.

Sorry for the rant. Sincere best wishes to you in all future endeavors,

Ernie Cohen