The World's Most Admired Employees Here's to you, working people of the corporation! We luv ya!
By Stanley Bing

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Every year at this time we take a look at the Most Admired Companies. Here they are in all their glory, stuffed with class, sass, and mass. Often lost in the shuffle, however, are the individuals who come together to transform these enterprises into the esteemed institutions we deem them to be. Yet who makes them great? People, darn it! People! How our hearts flutter at the mere mention of each of their names!

What's that, you say? No flutter? Perhaps that's because we don't know any of their names. Why should we? These people are faceless nonentities! Until now. After a blizzard of research, we salute the most exemplary individuals from around the nation and the world, unsung, unremarked, and fungible as they may be. Where would we be without them? Huh?

--Let's begin with Taka Mitzia of Gogo Corp. in Tokyo. Taka, 43, rises from his pallet at 4:30 each morning, fully dressed from the night before, when he showered, shaved, and got ready for the coming day right after his midnight dinner, which he gobbled down after his 2 1/2-hour commute from work. After a quick bout of calisthenics and a bowl of mystery fish, there's the mad dash to the office, where he is at his post by 8 a.m. Taka has the important corporate function of making sure that no one in middle management makes a decision without running through the eight committees that serve to eliminate individual accountability. Some 12 or 13 hours later he is on his way home again. He can look forward to doing this for the next 15 years with virtually the same salary and title, after which he will drop dead of unexplained causes while hitting golf balls into a gigantic net. Hurrah!

--Next let's tip our berets to Ernesto "Che" Ramirez, Ricardo Grande, Ecuador. Che, named by his parents after some forgotten South American hero, works in a textile factory for 10% of what spoiled American workers make doing the same job. At the age of 24, he's been threading spindles for ten years and is supporting a family of six--not counting his chihuahua, Regis. Not long ago he earned the gratitude of senior management when he informed them of efforts by labor unions to organize his fellow workers. For that he was named Employee of the Year and promised round-the-clock protection until the year 2017. With the money from his second job busing tables in a cafe around the corner from his tidy two-room apartment, Che is looking forward to getting a satellite dish. "I hear they're very small now," he says, with a glint in his eye. !Venceremos!

--Rob Bitterman, chief operating officer,, Seattle. Getting fired from several jobs after college was the best thing that could have happened to this meteor on the business scene. With an MBA and nothing to do with it, Bitterman was sitting around doing nothing, drinking coffee, when the idea hit him. "Why not create an online environment for people who are overeducated and underutilized and have nothing to do but sit around and drink coffee?" began with three extremely credulous investors and is now worth $40 trillion in money that nobody can cash out for the next ten years. Bitterman, in charge of all BS operations, now reports to the CEO, who is the cousin of someone who knows Sheryl Crow, who is considering providing branding and positioning.

--Ned Schmidt, middle manager, Bortz Corp., Chicago. Schmidt is the faceless glue that makes American business hang together, and happy to be it. He's in at nine and out at eight. He attends all meetings. When something sucks, he is called upon to make it not suck. He eats breakfast at his desk. He eats lunch at his desk. For dinner, he is allowed to find a small desk that is not his own and eat it there. When there is a big idea around, he's the one who is called upon to get it down on paper after the big boys have gone on to yell at people someplace. In February, when they decide to treat themselves to a strategic summit in Cabo San Lucas, he gets to be the top dog and run things for a week back in Chicago, where it is 98 below. He is paid pretty well. He gets an okay bonus. And when it's late at night, and the lights are dim and toasty in the chairman's office, it's Schmidt the big guys raise a glass to in admiration and thanks. Then they go home and let him finish up the dumb stuff they're too important to handle. Hi, Ned!

--D. Morton Weasel, formerly of McKinsey, now your vice president. People call him Mort. He's a very nice guy. He was brought in on a consulting basis to work out the structure of the company. Now he's the head of strategic planning and operations. Next year he'll make one more friend on the board and be the chairman. I'll be honest with you. Nobody admires him. But sometimes fear is better than admiration.

--My secretary, Sally, Unspecified Corporate Enterprise, New York City. Hey, Sally! How's it going? I always told you I would get you into a column! So here you are! Thanks for doing my calendar and my expenses and nagging me about signing the bills, and thanks also for getting coffee and a muffin for me in the morning without calling Naomi Wolf about it, and thanks for keeping Bob Rosenclavier from getting through when he tries to nag me about some open position I don't have, and thanks for adjudicating consumer disputes for me so that my wife doesn't have to, and for getting me a good table at the idiot restaurant I have to eat at to establish my status. And for never losing a message and almost never losing your patience even when I have misplaced mine. For Christ's sake, Sally, don't retire!

--Alan Greenspan, the Fed. Okay, we know his name, but how could he be ignored? California could fall into the ocean. The euro could crash and burn. Donald Trump could be elected President. Well, maybe not that. But as long as Alan Greenspan is in the saddle, we all believe everything is going to be all right. Long may he wave. Bless his tiny head. Keep it up, Al.

--All the guys over at AOL. What a great bunch they are. Smart. Savvy. Younger than springtime. Good looking too. Hey, dudes! Can't wait until you get over here! Can I get you a latte?

By day, STANLEY BING is a real executive at a real FORTUNE 500 company he'd rather not name. He can be reached via e-mail at