Moguls in exile
There are lots of them now, and their plight is, well, nice work if you can get it!
(Fortune Magazine) -- Of all the great jobs, the position of mogul has to be at the top of the list. The hours, the pay, the perks -- they're all out of this world. It's hard to imagine what it feels like to lose such a position and face unemployment.
But as we approach the first anniversary of this correction in our financial ecosystem, the number of decruited moguls has ballooned. The other day I caught up with one of these former superstars, occupying a corner table at a restaurant better known for its clientele than for its food.
Bing: Mr. Mogul! (Not his real name.)
Bing: Do you mind if I sit down for a few moments? I'd love to have a chat with one of my heroes.
Mogul: Knock yourself out.
Bing: I can't believe it's you. What are you doing here?
Mogul: I don't know. Having lunch? At this point, I could be anywhere. I mean, I could always be anywhere, but now I can really be anywhere.
Bing: Yeah, I heard about that.
Mogul: But I'm very busy.
Bing: I was wondering ...
Mogul: (interrupting) Just the other day my wife, Kimchee, and I were the guests of Basil and Perdita de Schmutz at their estate in Cabo San Lucas. They were hosting a number of us very important entrepreneurial individuals who have fallen on hard times recently. You wouldn't believe how many of us showed up! It was more crowded than Sun Valley!
Bing: I was ...
Mogul: It was a total hassle to get to Cabo, of course. We had to fly commercial. Did you know they have these little individual entertainment players with Bose headphones in first class?
Bing: I was wondering why you think there are so many moguls now running around without portfolio.
Mogul: The magazine?
Bing: No, I mean ...
Mogul: We're expensive. Even though we produce more than we cost in terms of ideas and, you know, karma, these are small times for small people. We're too large and splendid. We bump into the furniture. We built the world for the rest of you to live in, and now you don't need us any more. You have the bureaucrats to keep the machines running.
Bing: What do you think caused the economic crisis?
Mogul: I was asking Sting about that the other day. He didn't know, but he said he was going to ask Bono. Waiter!
Bing: What do you do with yourself all day?
Mogul: Old habits die hard. I wake at 4 a.m. and spend 90 minutes on the exercise bike, yelling at my people over the Bluetooth. I love that thing!
Bing: You still have people?
Mogul: What the @$% are you talking about? Of course I have people! My people have people! What are you? A moron?
Bing: I beg your pardon?
Mogul: I get to my office at around eight, do some e-mail, call Mr. Boies and look into the status of my various lawsuits against the companies I created, call a few other moguls, find out what they're planning to wear to Davos this year. In the afternoon I take a nap, then I talk off the record to reporters who follow my industry, contributing my point of view to the pieces they're doing on active executives. Hahahahahaha!
Bing: Doesn't sound too bad.
Mogul: It's hard to be out of the action. But I'm working on a few things.
Bing: Like what?
Mogul: Hey, would you do me favor? I gotta run. I wonder if you would get this. (Hands me the check.)
And that was that. He'll be back, no doubt, our friend. And then? Watch out, world! Right?
Stanley Bing's latest book is "Executricks, or How to Retire While You're Still Working" (Collins), available at finer bookstores everywhere. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Bingstuff, go to his website, stanleybing.com.