Have a Good One
By Stanley Bing

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Another year is come and gone and blah blah blah. Unlike our expectations, it did not conform to any. I don't know what you thought might happen, but I didn't foresee most of what did. As always, I anticipated both worse and better. It was neither, and pretty much a surprise in all its particulars. I think we can probably expect the same from next year.

So here's what I hope for you in the year to come:

I hope none of you is forced to do a perp walk by publicity-hungry Feds. Obviously, if you're guilty of some felony or other, or have been an important player in the raping of your company's pension fund, or have overstated your earnings on purpose and not just out of that beautiful optimism that characterizes the business mind, or have lied to regulators about insider trading, or are too fat and ugly and bald to make for an attractive magazine cover, or have been caught doing something bad that was applauded last year but is now in disrepute, then you deserve to go to jail and rot. You stink! But I still hope you don't have to do a perp walk. The idea of all your classmates from Wharton or Kellogg or Columbia chortling over your distress is far worse punishment than you'll receive at Allenwood. Nobody deserves that, not even a white-collar criminal.

I hope you get all the toys you want. The new world of electronics and cybernetics is upon us, and there's all this cool digital stuff, from megapixel cameras to hard drives the size of your inner ear. You've got to want your share if you're going to keep yourself distracted from the real issues of human existence. May you stay away from those this year as well. Who needs 'em?

I hope you have to pay for as little as possible out of your own pocket. Of course, you don't need to pillage your company in Kozlowskian fashion to live the righteous executive life. An active business agenda calls for the development of rational expenses. May yours stay on the right side of rationality, but just barely. In that zone lie both happiness and power.

I hope you keep your job if you want to. This is some hell of a recovery. A lot of people are out of work, and the official numbers don't even tell the whole story, since a lot of people have just given up looking--and not only those with good parachutes who have decided to play golf until they enjoy that final aneurysm. Young people can't get jobs because there are too many older folks clogging up the works, and recent college superstars are often seen seating affluent boomers at their local bistros. At the same time, those boomers know that if they lose their positions--along with their executive plastic, cell phones, BlackBerries, and in-flight privileges--they will probably never find another and be forced to enter the real world at a time when their natural thoughts may be drifting on to the next one. My sympathies are for the most part with people who have the most to lose. So ... Go, boomers!

But I do hope you get a job if you want one. I am mindful of the problems of the younger demographic, which, although it has no disposable income, is highly prized by advertisers. You guys need a leg up, and I really hope you get it this year. You've got ideas and enthusiasm and verve that distinguish you from the now 35-year-old Gen-X pufferfish who preceded you in the greed and envy sweepstakes. You're far more likable than they have been. Why don't you go after those losers instead of resenting us boomers all the time? We'll help you!

And if you want neither the job you have nor any other you can think of, I hope you get what you want too. May the new year bring you some new idea. Send me any extra ones you don't need.

I hope you have good health. I also hope you get all the bacon you desire. Good health is almost pointless unless you get to eat bacon.

I hope there's peace in the world for you and yours, unless you're in the process of developing weapons of mass destruction or a new paradigm for Internet advertising. Either way, something may have to be done about you.

I hope you have happiness, unless yours interferes with mine, in which case I don't.

I hope you have love. There wasn't enough love in the world in 2002. In fact, there hasn't been enough since 1967, and many of us were too young, too unattractive, or too unborn to enjoy it then. I'm not talking about sex. I'm talking about friendship and chuckling kids and puppies. I'm talking about a whole new feeling vis-a-vis life on this planet, darn it, and I hope it begins in 2003.

Lacking that, I hope you mash all those who oppose you and send them straight to hell. Good luck!

By day, Stanley Bing is a real executive at a real FORTUNE 500 company he'd rather not name. He can be reached at stanleybing@aol.com.