Video Transcript by Machine for the sake of the search engines:
hello today is my birthday and of course that’s not unexpected it’s done scheduled it’s known it’s been coming for quite a while and last few weeks I’ve certainly thought about it more than once the implications of reaching this advanced age and I’ll admit my attitude toward it was pretty well reflected by the change in the seasons as the day is that shorter darker damper the leaves turned and fell from the trees I was thinking about maybe I should move into sort of an elder role back off from some goals not expect quite so much out of life and just turn into an old man but I happened to hear an interview with the actor Michael Caine and he mentioned that at his 62nd birthday which is the age on that right now he’s seriously considered giving up his acting career because he wasn’t getting the roles as the romantic lead anymore they wanted him to be the secondary character actor and he didn’t want to do that but his good friend Jack Nicholson talked him into taking one of those roles and now that he’s 85 years old he has continued to make a movie or three every year including what Michael Caine considers some of his best work more important closer to home my good friend Ralph Lee Smith who was a great musician and the world’s foremost expert on dulcimers he was in Greenwich Village you know with the Beat Generation and got to know Bob Dylan and Joan Baez he had his 92nd birthday this week 92 he’s 30 years older than I am 30 years that’s a lot of life in the past 30 years I I met married and raised three fine adults with my beloved wife Christine it may be just as many more adventures successes disappointments ideas I mean who knows what’s gonna happen in the next 30 years maybe I’ll get those and you know maybe I won’t maybe I’ve just got today like everyone we’ve only got today a long string of “nows” now to appreciate where we are what we’ve got and what might be next to anticipate contemplate and that’s what happens on my birthday when I get a greeting from a good friend like you who reminds me that I matter to other people and that those other people matter so much to me so your birthday greeting makes a big difference to me thanks for reaching out and reminding me that what really matters is our impact on other people and the impact of other people on us I appreciate you and thanks for reminding me of how much you appreciate me happy birthday to us all so long
I reminded myself that we were in a well-lit office, not a dark alley. No need to get aggressive yet. I relaxed my jaw and tried to keep the fear out of my voice as I replied, “If you pull my people off your project, there’s no way you’ll meet the delivery date.”
My client looked at me blandly, as if he had delivered a weather forecast. In fact, he had devastated my sales forecast. Five fewer of my consultants billing their time to this client meant there was no way I would meet quota to earn my bonus. I needed him to engage with me. I forced a response with a direct question that was also a threat. “Did Juan approve this staffing cut?”
“Why would I check with Juan?” asked the Director of Information Systems Development (ISD) for Billing Systems. He ran his finger down a page of the MCI internal directory as he spoke, “Nobody (more…)
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be corporate cowboys. Or make ’em be bankers and lawyers and such.
In the 1980s, I was a minor participant in major trends that would blow up the world economy in 2008, determine the dehumanizing workplace culture of today, and establish the Wall Street plutocracy that still guides governments and blames the poor for the plight of the middle class. Our descent began in the eighties, from endless e-mails to mind-numbing meetings, deregulated banks to defunded pensions, mortgage-backed securities to job insecurity, hedge fund royalty to vanishing loyalty, private equity to income inequality, even Starbucks ubiquity and business books’ vacuity.
I reluctantly admit that I eagerly supported every aspect of it. I ate the dog food and drank the Kool-Aid™. I believed in and tried to practice the free market economics and financial engineering I had been taught at the University of Chicago. I worked nights and weekends at an investment bank to help create a trading platform for one of the first derivatives. I willfully immersed myself in the toxic corporate culture of MCI. I was a true believer who gave thanks to capitalist economists Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan, cowboy capitalists Bill McGowan and Michael Milken, and most of all to cowboy president Ronald Reagan for making the 1980s “Morning in America.”
I was wrong. Now, I am mourning for America. This novel, detailing a descent and incipient redemption similar to my own, is partial penance and restitution. I hope this story encourages my readers to make better choices and a better world than I did.
After experiencing MCI, I began my search for a way of working that encouraged people to produce results while feeling appreciated, connected, and healthy. That quest made me an executive coach and gave me a life dedicated to workplaces of humanity and prosperity.
Lurking amongst the thousands of words in this book are a few dozen that are considered profanity, including certain stalwart Anglo-Saxon four letter words beginning with f and s. Since a major goal of this story is to convey a sense of the time and environment in which events are set, I chose to use herein the exact, if impolite, language I heard and occasionally used. I regret any upset or disturbance this accuracy may cause the sensitive reader but expressing your objection is likely to incite the author to use these very same words in reference to the complainant.
Fast-paced, funny, and smart. This novel puts you into the world of a young MBA striving to succeed at a famous high-tech company. Brash and confident yet comically inept, Tony clashes with colleagues, clients, and even his biggest supporters.
He fires his most loyal employee, derails the career of his only friend, and nearly destroys his young marriage before transforming from chilly corporate collaborator to empathetic executive coach. Laugh and learn as his clients turn criminal, corporations collapse, and compassion triumphs.
It should be as much the aim of those who seek for social-betterment to rid the business world of crimes of cunning as to rid the entire body politic of crimes of violence.
–Theodore Roosevelt, 1901
A veteran executive coach draws on his years inside Arthur Andersen, Wall Street, and MCI to share a moving story that explains why your 401k shrank, your house is underwater, and your job stinks. The comedy and conflict illustrate management methods and personal practices that can improve your career and deepen your personal relationships.
Most people guard and keep; they suppose that it is they themselves and what they identify with themselves that they are guarding and keeping, whereas what they are actually guarding and keeping is the system of reality in what they assume themselves to be. One can give nothing whatever without giving oneself – that is to say, risking oneself.
If one cannot risk oneself, then one is simply incapable of giving.
Tony’s short book on building community is now available
with an extra chapter and a guide to additional resources.
The new chapter is a simple, practical guide to building better relationships at work and at home. The focus of the book is the importance of compassion and authenticity, while this new section is all about implementation, with specific advice on how to be compassionate and authentic in your day-to-day life.
This expanded edition also includes links to recommended books and articles for further study and practice.
The coach whose philosophy I admired most was Amos Alonzo Stagg and he once made the statement he never had a player he didn’t love. He had many he didn’t like and he didn’t respect, but he loved them just the same.