1. They're not going anywhere

The key reason executives can get away with everything we've listed to this point is that companies have little choice but to keep them.

Their compensation packages are bulky, their contracts are locked tight and their employers are less prepared to jettison them than even their toughest critics might think. A survey conducted last year by IIC Partners revealed that one in every five executives surveyed couldn't be displaced in less than a year.

About 16% said their company didn't have a succession plan in place and that it would take up to three years to find their replacement. Another 4% said it would take a company even more time than that to come up with a suitable candidate for their job.

That situation becomes more acute for not-for profit firms -- 40% of which would have to take up to a year to replace an executive -- and is similarly trying for family-owned businesses. With that kind of security and just about no safety net for the companies employing them, why wouldn't executives just keep working with complete abandon?

-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.

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Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Esquire.com, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, the Boston Phoenix, the Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent. He previously served as the political and global affairs editor for Metro U.S., layout editor for Boston Now, assistant news editor for the Herald News of West Paterson, N.J., editor of Go Out! Magazine in Hoboken, N.J., and copy editor and lifestyle editor at the Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J.

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