So You Say You Want To Touch Your Clients Inappropriately, Do You?

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From time to time, perhaps if they're particularly good looking, or cuddly-seeming or you've just got that itch and they're the first warm body in your line of vision, you may have gotten the urge to touch a client in a way not yet deemed "appropriate" by the freaky ass rules of corporate culture. You probably assumed all was lost and you'd never get to reach out and squeeze one of 'em. And all was lost. Until a Goldman Sachs employee came along and invented an excuse so genius in its simplicity it works like a charm. Have someone coming in tomorrow you'd like to hold tight but not have it be "weird" or "cause for dismissal"? Write this down.

All you have to do is come up with a total arbitrary reason for why you're (pick one:) hugging, kissing, grabbing the ass of, performing a reach-around on, suggesting you listen to Endless Love alone together in the dark or holding hands with a client. For instance, Goldman Sachs managing director Monica Mandelli years ago wanted to hug her clients and provided the rationale that because she's Italian, this is okay.

Find what is unique in your style and turn up the volume a couple of notches. Mine is that I'm Italian. I speak with an accent. At first I was embarrassed, but then a coach at Goldman told me that Americans have a longer attention span when they listen to someone speaking with a foreign accent. So I figured, great! And instead of hiding it, I turned it into an asset. And actually, I'm able to get away with a lot because of it. I'm expected to be very passionate. I hug my clients sometimes, but that's fine because I'm Italian.

"Because I'm Italian," needn't be the excuse, of course. It literally be anything so long as you own it in a way it comes off as valid. Why are you caressing your biggest client's cheek? Because you're (circle one:) Irish, Jewish, from Chicago, an only child, a golfer, a Bills fan, whatever, and that's what your people do. It's just the custom. I'm telling you, try this.

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A week ago today, a man named Greg Smith resigned from Goldman Sachs. As a sort of exit interview, Smith explained his reasons for departing the firm in a New York Times Op-Ed entitled "Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs." The equity derivatives VP wrote that Goldman had "veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say I identify with what it stands for." Smith went on to note that whereas the Goldman of today is "just about making money," the Goldman he knew as a young pup "revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients." It was a culture that made him "love working for the firm" and its absence had stripped him of "pride and belief" he once held in the place. While claiming that Goldman Sachs has become virtually unrecognizable from the institution founded by Marcus (Goldman) and Samuel (Sachs), which put clients ahead of its own interests, is hardly a new argument, there was something about Smith's words that gave readers a moment's pause. He was so deeply distraught over the differences between the Goldman of 2012 and the Goldman of 2000 (when he was hired) that suggested...more. That he'd seen things. Things that had made an imprint on his soul. Things that he couldn't forget. Things that he held up in his heart for how Goldman should be and things that made it all the more difficult to ignore when it failed to live up to that ideal. Things like this: