As Hurricane Ian neared on Monday, employees of a Clearwater, Fla.,
marketing firm gathered in a conference room to watch their CEO on a large
The storm, then a Category 1 that was expected to grow, was a
“nothingburger” that was overplayed by the media, said PostcardMania CEO
Joy Gendusa, who addressed workers remotely from the passenger seat of a
car. Then she asked those who were afraid to raise their hands.
“It’s not going to be that bad,” Gendusa said in a video recording of the
meeting obtained by The Washington Post.
“Obviously, you feeling safe and comfortable is of the utmost importance,
but I honestly want to continue to deliver and I want to have a good end
of quarter,” Gendusa said. “And when it turns into nothing I don’t want it
to be like, ‘Great, we all stopped producing because of the media and
[thought] maybe that it was going to be terrible.'”
By Monday morning, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) had already warned that
by midweek the hurricane would pose a “significant risk of life-
threatening storm surge, hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall” to the
state’s west coast and the Panhandle. Multiple schools and colleges had
already shut their doors in preparation for Ian.
Several PostcardMania employees, who spoke to The Post on the condition of
anonymity because they feared retaliation, said Gendusa’s comments made
them feel underappreciated and exploited.
Her remarks come as the pandemic and burnout have led many to reevaluate
their work conditions, giving rise to conversations about the Great
Resignation and quiet quitting.
Hours later, Gendusa’s remarks sparked a barrage of social media comments
criticizing the company for urging staffers to work.
The company has since announced its offices will not open on Wednesday and
Thursday, adding it would also offer two days of paid time off for those
working remotely or volunteering at a shelter, PostcardMania spokeswoman
Jessica Lalau told The Post in an email.
Gendusa did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The
Hurricane Ian makes landfall in Florida as Category 4
Ian made landfall in Southwest Florida on Wednesday afternoon as a
Category 4 hurricane with winds up to 150 mph. It tied the fifth-strongest
hurricane to hit the United States. Its winds and flooding would continue
as the storm makes its way inland, the National Hurricane Center reported.
By Wednesday afternoon, more than 1 million customers in southwestern
Florida had lost power.
Several employees present at the Monday meeting told The Post that
Gendusa’s remarks made them feel as if their safety was less important
than the company making a profit. Even when officials were ordering some
to evacuate their homes, management expected them to work from the office,
“She is in her car driving away from us and telling us to keep working,”
one employee told The Post. “It just felt wrong. I’m going to have to work
and you’re driving in your SUV, taking off.”
Another worker added: “There was a huge disconnect between her and her
employees. Not everybody lives in a nice place or in a safe place like
After Monday’s meeting, some employees took to private platforms to vent
over Gendusa’s remarks. Others, though, were so upset that they shared
their discontent with other colleagues from their desks.
It wasn’t until Tuesday when the company sent a message telling employees
that the offices would be closed on Wednesday and Thursday, staffers told
The Post. But management told workers they must work 40 hours this week.
If power went out and they couldn’t work Wednesday or Thursday, they must
make up their hours before the end of the week, according to some workers.
In response to a question about the 40-hour work requirement, the
PostcardMania spokeswoman shared Gendusa’s Wednesday message.
On Wednesday, following the backlash on social media, the company
announced it was giving workers paid time off.
In a Wednesday email sent by company spokeswoman Lalau and shared with The
Post, employees were told that Gendusa’s remarks at the meeting were her
“personal opinion” and “not an official PostcardMania position in any
“Following Joy’s remarks, PostcardMania’s president Melissa Bradshaw took
the meeting over and reiterated that making sure everyone was safe was our
#1 priority,” Lalau said in the email.
But some employees were not buying Gendusa’s attempt to reverse course,
calling her statement disingenuous.
“She speaks for the company,” one worker told The Post. “She is the
company. She is the boss.”
Even before the company agreed to give them paid time off, workers told
The Post, most of them had already decided they were not going to go into
the office on Wednesday and Thursday.
One worker attempted to work from home on Wednesday but faced internet
“Even if I wanted to work I couldn’t,” the worker told The Post. For now,
they were staying put at home, waiting for whatever Ian would bring.
“There is no company worth sacrificing for,” the worker said. “I wouldn’t
give my life [or my belongings] for any company.”
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