Take this job ….

I can’t resist the satire that’s followed yesterday’s eye-opening New York Times op-ed by an executive at the investment firm Goldman Sachs, who takes a rhetorical flame thrower to his ex-employer while walking out the door.

Titled “Why I am leaving Goldman Sachs,” Greg Smith detailed outrageous attitudes of the higher-ups at Goldman toward clients and how the once-great culture of Goldman Sachs now lies in ruins.

Does he come across a little sanctimonious and self-serving? Oh, yeah.

The best part, though, is how social media co-opted Smith’s writing style and structure to produce some pretty fun parodies.

The best one was The Daily Mash’s “Why I am leaving the Empire,” by Darth Vader. Vader, equally disillusioned by how things have turned out with his employer, writes:

The Empire is one of the galaxy’s largest and most important oppressive regimes and it is too integral to galactic murder to continue to act this way. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of Yoda College that I can no longer in good conscience point menacingly and say that I identify with what it stands for.

How did we get here? The Empire changed the way it thought about leadership. Leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and killing your former mentor with a light sabre. Today, if you make enough money you will be promoted into a position of influence, even if you have a disturbing lack of faith.

Like Vader, Smith wants us to believe that Goldman was an organization that knew its business and, er, executed it well but has now lost its way.

Those of us who were young business degree graduates in the “greed is good” years of the mid-1980s might argue that the finance industry falls from its virtuous path every 10 years or so. But that’s another story.

For now, it’s fun to read the op-ed and enjoy the “Why I am leaving…” parlor game.

— Paul Tosto

  • John O.

    It was reported somewhere that Mr. Smith earned something in the neighborhood of $500k/year, excluding stock options, etc.

    If he managed his own money properly, I am fairly certain he and his family will still be able to live an opulent lifestyle. I suspect there are others out here amongst us serfs who smiled at the notion of having his or her resignation published in the Times, wishing they could do likewise.

    The consequence for him, of course, is that his career in investment banking is probably all but over. Unless, of course, he decides to start his own firm (cue up Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”).