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What would you do if you had a million dollars?

Classic question. The answer for some: "Work for Southwest Airlines."

New York Times: "On Some Flights, Millionaires Serve the Drinks"

As one of the 17 remaining active employees who helped start Southwest Airlines 35 years ago, [Mike Mitchel] is rich. Quite rich. A beneficiary of Southwest's profit-sharing program — like all the airline's regular employees — he owns about 50,000 shares of Southwest stock, valued at roughly $800,000. And that is just a quarter of a portfolio that makes Mr. Mitchel a multimillionaire.

"I could retire tomorrow," he said.

So why doesn't he? After all, very few long-tenured workers in the airline industry even have that option, given that the pensions and wages of most have been sharply reduced in recent years in bankruptcies and other cutbacks.

But for Mr. Mitchel and his Southwest colleagues from the first days — eight flight attendants, five operations workers and four executives, each a millionaire — it is not about the money. Ask them why they stick around and they mention frugality and pride in earning their keep. And they say they simply like to work.

Thanks to Ramit for the tip.

Posted by Ian Ybarra on 16 May 2006