Fantasy TV: Goldman Sachs on Undercover Boss
CBS's Undercover Boss, in which a corporate CEO is beatified for doing normal jobs for a few days, is this season's hottest advertainment hit. Now, the show is reportedly coming to Wall Street. Glorious! We can already imagine it...
VOICEOVER: Lloyd Blankfein is the CEO of Goldman Sachs. He takes home eight figures just about every year. But this week, Lloyd is going undercover to find out what life is like for the real employees of his own company.
BLANKFEIN: I'll be wearing a wig. And this mustache. And a significantly less expensive suit than usual. Although not too modest, or I would stand out for that. And I've instructed Lucas van Praag to keep his fucking mouth shut, for once. I hope to learn a lot.
SCENE 1: Blankfein, dressed as a normal Goldman Sachs employee, enters company headquarters and is ushered into an office with a VP.
VP: So, nice to meet you, John. I understand you're a mid-career professional making a switch from one of the lesser banks? Not really sure how you got in the door at Goldman, to be honest. But our corporate affairs people told me to take you on, so here we are. This is the M&A area. We do mergers and acquisitions. Have you ever done any M&A work?
BLANKFEIN: I'm familiar with the field.
VP: Great. So here's your office. This is Sheila, your secretary. I've set you up a lunch at Per Se with a couple of the other VPs here. Sheila can give you the passwords to your Bloomberg terminal and your FT subscription. See you at noon?
SCENE 2: Blankfein, that evening, in a hotel.
BLANKFEIN: My first day was okay. Obviously I couldn't tap my extensive contacts list to troll for M&A deals or my cover would be blown, so I mostly played Brick Breaker in my office. I must say, the service at Per Se is quite a bit slower for non-CEOs. I made a note of it.
SCENE 3: Blankfein, the following morning, is escorted into another office, with a different VP.
VP: Nice to meet you. John, is it? Great. This is GS Capital Partners, the private equity arm of Goldman Sachs. What I'm going to have you do today is to review some spreadsheets on the debt levels of our various companies, just to familiarize yourself. That should take most of the day. Let me know if you have any problems.
[Time passes. At 6 p.m., Blankfein is still in his office.]
BLANKFEIN: I must admit I learned quite a bit about our operations today, on a granular level. I'm taking some of these spreadsheets back to the Mandarin Oriental.
SCENE 4: The following day. Blankfein is in the lobby of Goldman Sachs headquarters, dressed in coveralls, holding a broom.
JANITOR: So you're the new guy? Well what we gotta do today is basically keep this lobby swept, just stay out of everyone's way and... hey, aren't you the fucking CEO?
JANITOR: Oh this is totally some Undercover Boss shit, isn't it? Hell yea. Blankfein. You're Blankfein. Your wig is awful man, I'm surprised nobody called you out yet.
BLANKFEIN: I'm undercover investigating our operations. It's very important that my identity remain secret...
JANITOR: Give me a thousand dollars.
SCENE 5: Blankfein stands in an auditorium full of worshipful Goldman workers, recounting his adventures undercover at the firm.
BLANKFEIN: I went undercover to find out how you, the average employees of Goldman Sachs, operate on a daily basis—and to share your hopes, dreams, and struggles. I met Joe, the M&A VP who frequently works sixteen hour days, and has a mansion in the Hamptons; I met Henry, the private equity VP who frequently works sixteen hour days, and has a mansion in the Hamptons; I met several other VPs with similar stories. Let's roll the tape.
[VIDEO MONTAGE of Blankfein sitting in office; making phone calls; lunching at Per Se; smiling at secretary; and finally, throwing up his hands in frustration after losing at Brick Breaker. Crowd chuckles appreciatively.]
BLANKFEIN: All you guys are doing fine, to be honest. I guess the morning muffins could be better. The cranberry, in particular, was dry. Can someone look into that? I do want to thank CBS for this priceless PR coup. Great work by the media relations team. Okay. Everybody back to work. Money doesn't make itself. And somebody fire that fucking janitor, please.