The party…isn’t

November 12th, 2008 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

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The director of engineering in the feathered war bonnet is the unfortunate image we relive each end-of-year. Back only about a decade ago, vice presidents of serious companies felt free to humiliate themselves at huge corporate parties. In this case, the fake Village People shouting out Y.M.C.A. were neither noble nor really even fun.

That surely is one good effect of the decline of the drunk-in events disguised as corporate rewards, as reported in the Financial Times. It appears as though a lot of companies have eliminated their holiday do. As Barclay’s CEO Rich Ricci put it a memo to staff, “In the current difficult environment for our industry and for the economy as a whole, which affects not just financial services firms but our clients as well, it is not appropriate for us to do anything that might be seen as inappropriate by any of our stakeholders.”

You can be forgiven if your cynicism flashes there. For all the world, it is appearances that matter. We can suppose that if the financial world stirs at all, it’ll be champers and fish eggs all around again.closed.jpg

In fact, the FT piece provides a hint of the waggish rebellion of our betters. The thousand-person extravaganza may be temporarily gone. However, in New York as one example, there has been a flood of 20 to 30 person private-room functions instead. The swells can still party like it’s 1928, but hoi polloi and mere middle managers don’t get to play.

Of course the great joke here is that those who cannot be denied and surely must deserve the luxury behind the closed door are the ones who led to our current economic chaos. Those who gambled with the corporate resources, making terrible marketing and design decisions, who counted on a never-ending growth spiral, and who blissfully took fliers on unsecured loans are still entitled.

Meanwhile, as it is with the hives, the queens live on while the worker bees succumb to the winter. At the bottom, the party’s over for the time being.

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