Bankers and Blondes: A Love Story
The Early 2000's were the land of milk and honey for Goldman Sachs financiers. They were rich and powerful, and models flowed to the bottle service at their tables like the salmon of Capistrano. Salaries kept rising, and so did the limits they could comp on company cards for fancy dinners and birthday parties, paid for by their seemingly profits, (and as we later found out, though, it was their clients who footed the bill). They were the masters of the universe. Then they got greedy and it all came crashing down. Don't get me wrong it's not like Goldman employees are dumpster diving for their lunches, but culturally, they have been taken down more than a few notches since the financial crash. Their story is actually similar to another over-indulged elitist who thought they were invincible: Paris Hilton.
I know I am slowly forming a pattern of out-there analogies but bear with me on this one. Think about it. In the early 2000's you are the epitome of money and elitism. Other Americans aspire to be you. With your air of mystery and dismissive nature you rule the cool kids. Every door is open to you through connections or influence, and for a shining moment it seems like your opulent, envied lifestyle will last forever.
And then ... something strange happens. People start questioning why you are where you are, asking for an actual reason for your exorbitant fees and demanding that there be some kind of talent or expertise to justify your arrogance (and conspicuous spending). The tide has turned, people aren't going to take it anymore, your projects aren't as successful as they once were, and general sentiment towards you has gone from admiration to acceptance, to complacence, then annoyance, and finally general outrage.
You try to rehabilitate your image, show everyone the "real" you, but at this point it is largely ineffective. The zeitgeist has left you in the dust. To anyone in the know, the only thing sadder than being you is actually wanting to be you. You still make a great living, but others have surpassed you in respect and earnings, mostly because they weren't giant a-holes while climbing to the top.
Whether you are Goldman with its financial reform predecessor or you are Paris and her Kim Kardashian heir, the stories are strangely parallel. Nowadays, then mention of a Goldman banker or Ms. Hilton is met with a collective groan and eye roll. You may think Goldman and Ms. Hilton are awkward bedfellows, but hey when one of you is the pioneer of night vision sex-tape fame, it'll always be "hot.”
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons