Roy Cohen, a New York career coach who worked as a regular outplacement consultant for Goldman Sachs from 1990-2004, says that Smith’s Times piece “raises questions about this fellow’s integrity and loyalty.” An even bigger issue, says Cohen: When Smith detailed how Goldman employees “callously … talk about ripping their clients off,” he put the livelihoods of the 30,000 people employed by the firm at risk. Goldman’s stock dropped 3.4% yesterday after the op ed appeared, though shares have been recovering some of their losses today. Employers will be wary of hiring someone who would intentionally cause such damage.So, let me get this straight, Smith placing the livelihoods of 30,000 con artists at risk for bilking their customers is a bad thing. For who? The con artists? I don't think there's any way to interpret what Cohen is saying other than the presence-- not absence-- of integrity is the problem from Wall Street's perspective.
Of course, that's not what he meant to say. What he meant to say is that anything that harms a corporation is morally wrong and displays a lack of integrity and loyalty. When did harm to corporate profits become the baseline for measuring morality?
UPDATE: I want to be clear that I cannot applaud Greg Smith as a hero because it took him a long time to do the right thing. I can, however, appreciate the fact that he is starting to wake up to reality and will help others to do the same. He is still groggy, though, as demonstrated by his hope that GS management will clean up their act and start treating their customers as anything other than marks in a con game.