Over at Fortune today you will find a story about Marty Chavez, a Goldman Sachs partner who rejoined the firm 2005 after leaving for several years to found a business, sell it, and retire to Fire Island. Chavez would’ve been content to live out his life on the beach but one day, this happened:
…he got a call from now-president Gary Cohn, then co-head of global securities. “I heard you sold your company — congratulations,” Chavez recalls him saying. “I heard you retired. That’s ridiculous. I was just calling to share with you that you’re coming back.” When Chavez told him he was burned out on commodities, Cohn suggested investment banking. Chavez didn’t know the first thing about banking, but Cohn was insistent.
Generally, when Gary Cohn talks, you listen. He doesn’t call to offer you a job, he calls to tell you you’re taking it. He doesn’t give you time to think things over, he sticks his grundle in your face and asks “What’s there to think about?” In this case, however, he knew a more subtle touch was necessary.
So he put this wheels in motion for this to happen:
Chavez was reluctant. But after some soul-searching at a silent monastery in New Mexico, he says he had an epiphany. “It’s the only time in my life that I would say there was a clear message from the universe,” he says. It might have been that he wanted out of his task for the day — cleaning toilets — but Chavez says he realized that he wanted to effect transformation in a global way and that returning to Goldman was the way to do it.
Ah, yes, “the universe,” wink-wink. Or was it Gary D. Cohn, who flew down to New Mexico and during Chavez’s daily meditation hid behind some shrubbery and whispered “Goooo to Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs is the way, my son”? Only the universe can say.