There is no better way to quit your job than by unloading on your former employer in the pages of the country's paper of record, and for that if nothing else we salute (former) Goldman Sachs executive director Greg Smith, who has a Times Op-Ed today entitled "Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs." Spoiler alert: it's because the firm is filled with "morally-bankrupt" sociopaths.
Smith writes that "the environment [at Goldman Sachs] now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it" and he can "no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work." What's the problem?
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.
What are three quick ways to become a leader? a) Execute on the firm's "axes," which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit. b) "Hunt Elephants." In English: get your clients — some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren't — to trade whatever will bring the biggest profit to Goldman. Call me old-fashioned, but I don't like selling my clients a product that is wrong for them. c) Find yourself sitting in a seat where your job is to trade any illiquid, opaque product with a three-letter acronym.
Smith goes on to detail some of the behaviors that indicate the moral bankruptcy of the firm — calling clients "muppets" seems to bug him a lot — before dismounting with a real flourish:
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 — have all come through hard work, with no shortcuts. Goldman Sachs today has become too much about shortcuts and not enough about achievement. It just doesn't feel right to me anymore.
Goldman is, unsurprisingly, disagreeing with Smith's take. Clients looking for a new collection of Ayn Rand enthusiasts to throw money at should look into Grayson Moorhead.