Over at the Post today you will find a first-person account of what it was like to work in Stratton Oakmont, the boiler room that is the subject of ex-con Jordan Belfort’s memoir and Martin Scorsese’s upcoming movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the wolf. Josh Shapiro walks us through his time at Stratton, beginning with his first impressions (“…no sign that says Stratton Oakmont or anything but there’s a line of cars — Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porsches, Mercedes. And I’m like ‘Whoa!’ It looked like a car show. I’ve never seen cars like this. I didn’t have a driver’s license yet.”) through leaving just months before the Feds raided the place and his bosses got upwards of 39 months in prison. In between he “worked [his] tail off” cold calling potential customers, was told he was a loser who should kill himself if he didn’t land enough, met a hooker with a heart of gold, and rescued another woman from a life of blowing 40 guys in one sitting by dating her for over a year. This is his story.
Like many young men, it begins with his father telling him to get a job.
- “I was 22 and came back to New York in 1993, when my father, who’s a doctor, said, ‘Danny’ — the son of Jerry Porush, a nephrologist my father was partners with — ‘is making a lot of money at this stock-broker place. Maybe you should go and check it out.’”
Which hooked him on its club-like atmosphere.
- “I walked into the board room, a humongous room with 300 people in it. Everyone on the phone, people standing up, people screaming into the phones, and Porush had a big old office in the corner, with golden golf clubs and souvenirs and signed baseballs — just a really lavish office. He said: ‘Sit down, Josh. Do you want to make a million dollars a year? Do you want to make $100,000 a month? This is how you do it.’ I was blown away by the intensity — you could feel the pulse when you walked into the place. It was like walking into a nightclub without the music. The music was the phones and the people talking.”
In the beginning, he loved being told what a worthless piece of garbage he was.
- “The office was basically separated into two parts: the cold callers in the back, and the brokers in the front. The cold callers were dressed in Van Heusen shirts and ties — nothing too expensive. The guys in the front were sporting Armani, Boss, slicked back hair. They’d give meetings in the back to the cold callers where they’d rip up $100 bills, throw them on the floor and tell them, ‘Do you want to be a loser all your life, or do you want to make something out of your life? Do you want to be rich?’ The motivational meetings in the morning were incredible.”
He loved being told to just kill himself already.
- Porush gave meetings where he’d insult people, based on their performance. He would say: ‘Doug, you sold 1,000 shares of stock in the last three weeks. You know, you should have slit your throat when you were shaving this morning.’”
He loved having computers thrown at his feet.
- “He would come out at other times, completely stewed out of his mind on Quaaludes. Stand on the desk, then fall onto the floor. Or he would come out angry, pick up a computer — and these are the old CRT monitors — and smash it on the floor as hard as he possibly could. And be like, ‘You’re all a bunch of f- -king losers unless you push this f- -king stock!’”
He loved the hookers, especially the ones who really cared.
- “There were other perks — the Gina girls. That’s what everyone called them. Don’t know if that was the agency name. We went to Atlantic City, me and six other guys on a private jet for somebody’s birthday. We took some Mexican Quaaludes, some things called Mandrax. I just remember vomiting in the room when I was with the Gina girl, and she went and she got a warm washcloth and she wiped the vomit off my lips, and said, ‘Oh, honey, I hope you feel better.’ It kind of sobered me up. And I just remember thinking, ‘Wow, she’s an incredible girl.’”
He loved one special girl in particular.
- “They had this other girl who liked to go to all the parties in Atlantic City, and they rented a bus for 40 people, and she had oral sex with everybody on the bus, all 40 people. She wasn’t a Gina girl, she was just known by everyone in the office because she basically f- -ked everyone in the office. I met her, and gave her $50 in Atlantic City for a b- - - - - - and stuff, and asked her for her number. I wound up taking her out of the business, and I dated her for a year and half*.”
Eventually though, he realized that the love wasn’t mutual and that these people– his bosses, his coworkers, his hookers, his drugs– didn’t love him back and were not actually the salt of the earth types he once thought.
- “…the blindness from the drugs, the girls and the cars, the clothes and the money, wore off. These people were some of the worst people that I have ever met in my life — they would sell their own grandmother in a second. I left a couple months before the FBI came and shut down the place.”
Still gonna see the movie though, obviously. Probably with mom and dad.
- “I got to the point where I realized there was no way you could win. To this day, I still remember two clients’ names who lost all their money because of me. I think they’re dead now, but I did think about making amends. Now it’s too late. It’s probably why I’m in the medical business now and I’m a physician’s assistant — to try to make up for that s- -t…Madoff got years in prison, and these guys have gotten off easy — 22 months for Belfort, 39 months for Porush — for ripping off $200 million. I’m still going to see the movie. My parents want to go with me.”
My Life Working For The Real Wolf Of Wall Street [NYP]
*Really wish he went on to say that he was married to this girl.