At this point, you’ve all probably heard of Greg Smith, (alas, we are not related) a former senior manager of Goldman Sachs. In an impressive move of bravado, Smith decided to resign in the most public way possible – by ripping his former company in an op-ed piece in the New York Times. This soldier decided enough was enough. The sins of Goldman Sachs have been held private too long. It’s about time the public knows the truly awful things that have been going on behind closed doors. I can only hope that this doesn’t tarnish the great name of Goldman Sachs.
What a narcissistic douche. I mean, listen to this guy’s letter:
I was selected as one of 10 people (out of a firm of more than 30,000) to appear on our recruiting video, which is played on every college campus we visit around the world. In 2006 I managed the summer intern program in sales and trading in New York for the 80 college students who made the cut, out of the thousands who applied.
Ho hum. It’s no big deal really, him being better than all of us. Only the best apply at Goldman Sachs, you see, and he was the best of the best. He eats lunch at Per Se Restaurant* and summers in Martha’s Vineyard. Driving the Porsche wouldn’t be panache enough, so he gets his driver to bring around the Bentley. He regularly entertains guests in his penthouse overlooking Central Park, where they all light cigars with $100 bills.
Want more examples of how awesome he is? Of course you do. Take it away, Greg.
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 —
Is he applying for his next job? Why does where he went to college deserve a mention?
My proudest moments in life — getting a full scholarship to go from South Africa to Stanford University, being selected as a Rhodes Scholar national finalist, winning a bronze medal for table tennis at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, known as the Jewish Olympics
I LOVE the fact there’s a Jewish Olympics. Greg’s first choice was to enter the money counting competition, but he knew he had no chance against the dominant Rothschild dynasty, who haven’t lost the event since 1874.
It’s awesome how he clearly doesn’t get how self-righteous he is. He’s a walking Wall Street stereotype and doesn’t even realize it. This guy warrants a big ol’ #humblebrag hashtag. What a soldier, using the biggest newspaper in the world to just happen to mention how awesome he is.
We’re not here to talk about Greg though. We’re here to talk about Goldman going down the toilet. Back to Greg:
To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money. Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s largest and most important investment banks and it is too integral to global finance to continue to act this way. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for.
Goldman Sachs may have the worst reputation of any company in America, especially after the whole 2008-09 fiasco. But even before the bailouts, it’s not like everybody loved them. Is there anybody who deals with any investment bank who doesn’t believe that these banks are going to take care of their own interests above anyone else’s? If you’re smart enough to be dealing with Goldman Sachs in the first place, you’re probably smart enough to know what they’re all about.
It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’s success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients.
The culture on Wall Street has evolved into one thing: compensation. Employees at Goldman Sachs are mostly interested in their bonuses. Come on. Humility? On Wall Street? These people are literally the furthest thing from humble. Has Greg read Liar’s Poker? The culture of Wall Street is simple – you either become a shark or get eaten by the sharks. There is no room for nice guys on Wall Street. We can argue all day long whether this is good or bad, but it’s reality.
When I was a first-year analyst I didn’t know where the bathroom was, or how to tie my shoelaces. I was taught to be concerned with learning the ropes, finding out what a derivative was, understanding finance, getting to know our clients and what motivated them, learning how they defined success and what we could do to help them get there.
OH YES. When Greg was a young’in, the kids knew their place, dammit. Greg never once took a whiz at work. Greg was exceedingly humble, much like Jesus. Greg helped old ladies across the street and 5th graders with their math homework. Steven Spilberg made a movie about Greg’s first year at Goldman Sachs. Do you know what he called it? SELFLESSLY HELPING OTHERS. When Greg got his bonus that first year, he immediately donated it to the nearest soup kitchen and then spent all night picking up litter.
When the history books are written about Goldman Sachs, they may reflect that the current chief executive officer, Lloyd C. Blankfein, and the president, Gary D. Cohn, lost hold of the firm’s culture on their watch. I truly believe that this decline in the firm’s moral fiber represents the single most serious threat to its long-run survival.
Hold on a second.
When Greg started at Goldman, they regularly took breaks during the day to sing hymns and discuss bible verses. There was a chapel on every floor, each staffed with 9 priests. Everybody regularly hugged and held hands before the day started, and charity would have been mandatory, except everybody loved it so much that it wasn’t necessary.
This guy was an executive at one of the most powerful investment bank in the world. He probably made 30 million dollars during his time at Goldman. He is, without a doubt, a very wealthy man. And yet, he’s the victim here. Congratulations Greg, you’re a rich douchebag.
*I have no idea whether Per Se Restaurant is actually nice. It sounded classy though. New Yorkers, help me out here.