Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Why was Alexandre Harfouche fired by Goldman Sachs?

Some people really write and talk nonsense, don't they? Other news organizations - nowhere near as reliable and as knowledgeable as I am - seriously maintain that Alexandre Harfouche (head of European block trading) was fired by Goldman Sachs merely because he violated internal policies and procedures. Ridiculous!

Alexandre Harfouche was given the boot because he wouldn't let the shamans at Goldman's London headquarters smear blood all over his body in a bizarre ritual. Well, 'bizarre' to the squares of this world. I've lost count of the number of times that associates of mine have smeared blood all over me. It can be a bit of a giggle, if you approach it with the right attitude. Personally, I think Alex should have just let them get on with it. I find, in life, that a lot of the things that initially scare or disgust you will actually come to seem quite normal and natural if only you are willing to open your mind - and your heart. You shouldn't shut yourself off from new experiences. You won't get anywhere like that. As Uncle Monty once asked: Are you a sponge or a stone? Alex voted Conservative, I'm sure.

I have been speaking to a financial shaman at Goldman. His name is Peter. I can't give you his surname, but I can tell you that he is on the secretive twenty-strong shamans committee. This is what he said: 'Michael, have you ever met Alex? (No, Pete, what's he like?) A big crybaby. (That's a bit hard, isn't it?) He wouldn't even let us take a peek at his chakras. We only wanted to help him. (What's this all about, Pete?) Mike, we're going to be taking a look at all the Goldman boys and girls who haven't embraced mystical capitalism yet. And this is from Lloyd. He wants us to root out all the squares and losers - in time. (Well, it's going to take some time. You're going to be pretty busy, Pete.) It'll be worth it though. By 2015 every Goldman employee will have been given a grounding in financial shamanism. That doesn't mean they will be shamans; but we believe it's important that they at least know the basics and have a feel for the desert. (You didn't take Alex out into the desert, did you?) Are you kidding me? He practically wet himself with the blood ritual in the office. Imagine the desert, the fire, the ghosts. (Well, did you explain to him what was happening, or did you just strip him naked and put the blood on?) I must admit, Mike, we could have handled the situation a lot more sensitively. We just grabbed him and took him down. He didn't even know there was a basement. He wouldn't let us splash the blood all over though. He started crying, and we had to let him go. Our thinking was that he would enjoy it. But it must have come as a shock. I guess we'll have to review our procedures.'

Yes, that's one of the things about being a financial shaman, you do become detached from everyday reality. It's easy to forget that our world - blood and ghosts and fire and all that - must seem utterly terrifying to the average joe in the street.