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The X Files
Xavier Hermosillo is the President of, a national Crisis Communications, Marketing, and Management firm he founded 23 years ago. He is a former political chief of staff, an award-winning reporter and photographer, and a former radio talk show host and TV commentator in Los Angeles. He has co-founded two publicly-traded companies where he served as a member of the Board of Directors and as the Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications. He has also served as a Hearing Examiner for the Los Angeles Police Commission on police officer discipline cases, and holds degrees in Administration of Justice and Business and Communications. He can be reached at

I was born of Mexican parents in an era long before Latinos were initially well accepted, as in the 1990's, and then rejected because of the illegal immigration problems we currently see being debated in the media and in Congress.

I tell you this because there have been many times when being an ethnic person was a little difficult, when people who only speak English feel threatened in hearing a foreign language. The more paranoid of those folks think someone is talking about them in the foreign language, and they imagine terrible things are being said about them.

Some people can become very bold in expressing their displeasure of a melting pot society. My youngest daughter works in a book store near the college she attends, and last week a woman who seemed nice enough commented on how beautiful my sweetie looks. She thanked the woman and when the customer saw my daughter's name, she asked what nationality the name represented.

When my daughter told her she was part Mexican, the woman was taken aback and she told my daughter in a loud voice, "Mexican? You are very lucky you don't look Mexican because they are dark, ugly people." This came from a very wealthy woman who carries one of those extremely rare black American Express cards that only a couple of thousand people in the entire world have received.

My daughter told her that her Dad was a rather good looking fellow (thank you, my Dear, $100 is on its way to you) but the woman insisted that if my daughter bore any resemblance to me, it would make her awful looking.

Then there is a matter I have been dealing with on behalf of a friend as I transition into a new corporate position and tie up loose ends on transitioning out of my 20-year-old crisis public relations agency. This friend is a female Latina and well regarded by her colleagues. I tried to steal her away a few weeks ago and I was told by her management that she is the most popular and well-liked person in the company and there was NO way they would let her leave.

I accepted the decision because I respect the management leadership and always want to the best for good employees. This weekend, I got a call from one of those managers telling me they are going to fire this worker because she has what was described as a "hot Latin temper" and she's taking up too much of management's time "putting out the fires she's creating."

Interesting. I guess when you have a "hot Latin temper" you're more likely to start fires. A few weeks ago she was the Queen of the Ball and now she's just a Latin troublemaker. I asked the manager why he characterizes her in ethnic terms and got no answer. I should have known better. This is a guy who refers to a stalemate as a "Mexican standoff" and referred to a rather difficult deal settlement as being like "Chinese water torture". When will people learn? Maybe never.

As we transition into the New Year, I continue to be amazed at how insensitive people can be in this great country of ours. Here's another example: The end of the year and Christmas are usually the time when we see bonuses handed out to employees to thank them for a job well done throughout the year. Many people have come to work extra hard because they expect those bonuses and count on them as part of their holiday and year-end financial planning.

A friend of mine works for a company with about 50 to 70 employees and they have revenues in excess of $15 million. The company depends on about two dozen of those employees to bring in new business and the rest of the workers either deliver the service and product or they are administrative and support staff. My friend brought in about $1.8 million in business and was excitedly looking forward to the handing out of the bonuses.

When the envelopes were handed out, along with the effusive praise from the top management, the anticipated moment finally arrived and people began opening their envelopes. The first to react to her bonus was the receptionist whose job it is to answer the phone and greet visitors. Her bonus was $163 BEFORE taxes and a net check of $100. TRUE STORY!!

Then my friend, the $1.8 million account executive opened her envelope and voila, her bonus was EXACTLY the same as the receptionist. The rest of the crew, from top line managers to the accounting group - EVERBODY - got the same lousy $163 gross bonus with a $100 net check.

Wow!! Talk about taking advantage of people. Talk about insensitive!! I began to wonder what in the world would possess the principles of a company to so shamefully give their employees a so-called bonus of a hundred bucks, especially to the very people who made them all the money by bringing in multi-million dollar accounts.

Why even bother to offer the employees a bonus. Isn't it better to just lie and say you had an off year and maybe things will get better next year? What possesses someone to be so unappreciative of the very people who help you make a living and prosper on a long-term basis?

I work hard every day and have never expected a bonus. If I happen to get one a year from now in my new position, it sure as hell better not be $100 or you will read about it on the front page of your newspaper or hear about it as a breaking story on the 6 o'clock news.

If you can't thank people and motivate them for the future with a bonus that has meaning and substance, don't bother. Let's all hope that 2006 has more meaning and substance than the year now on its last leg, and try to treat the people around you as a bonus to your life, not just as some target for a cheap, useless, irrelevant throw-away.