If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man

That is a quote by Mark Twain that a friend of mine shared with me yesterday. It came up in the context of talking about our past careers (he was an investment banker in NYC, and I was a lawyer in NYC). We both made a very good living, but at the end of the day, we ended up paying for it with our lives. There comes a point in time in your life where you realize that it's pretty naive to think that you are able to put up with anything for a "phat" paycheck. (Sidebar: We both still work very hard in our current jobs, but generally, are much happier with our chosen career paths).

My friend and I started focusing on what we believe to be one of the problems with Corporate America - endless meetings replete with silly corporate speak (which exacts a heavy toll on the English language). We both noted that, if people actually spoke plain English, most of these meetings would be done in about one quarter of the time. (I guess if that happened though, people would actually have to do something productive in the meantime!)

When I was but a wee associate at a big NYC law firm, my colleagues and I would be required to sit through conference calls that would drag on for hours. We got so bored listening to the droning, that we devised a game which we affectionately referred to as “BS Bingo” - the words on our bingo card were things like “synergy”, “claw back”, “circle-back”, etc. You get the idea (and most of you are probably intimately familiar with it). It ended up being a very fun way to pass away the hours, and at times, the Partners would even join us in our frivolity!

Another version of this amusement was playing "Office Space." My friend and his colleagues would challenge each other by quoting as much of the movie as possible in big group meetings without anyone catching on. The would say things like… “yeah, if you could go ahead and ______, that would be great” or “he is a straight shooter with upper management written all over him” or “yeah, they are consultants who are here to …. Uh, help us, yeah”. Bonus points were awarded to for kicking the printer after the meeting yelling “I swear to god some day I will toss this piece of sh*t out the window.” It was pretty fun game, and only a handful of people (usually the few cool people who had seen the move) caught on.

You are probably wondering how the Mark Twain quote relates to this thread . . . I really have no idea either.


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