Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Why burn your bridges when you can nuke 'em?

The media-internet complex is all aflutter with Greg Smith. You may be asking, who? Smith is, or was, a bigwig at Goldman Sachs, the powerful investment bank you and I bailed out in 2008 with our tax dollars. Anyway, Mr. Smith resigned today in spectacular fashion by dissing his employer in a New York Times op-ed. Long story short: He flipped them the bird.

Smith, an executive director and head of the firm’s U.S. equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, wrote:
"TODAY is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm — first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London — I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it. ... How did we get here? The firm changed the way it thought about leadership. Leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and doing the right thing. Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence."
Talk about nuking all of the bridges behind you. On the other hand, it's a safe bet that Mr. Smith has socked away tens of millions from toiling at Goldman Sachs for over a decade. With that kind of "fuck you" money, as they say on Wall Street, it's easy to tell your bosses where to shove it. By not going quietly into that good night, Smith's biggest problem now is deciding how big a yacht he should buy for his retirement. Must be nice.

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