Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Horrors Of Austerity

Try to be strong and bite back your tears:
LOS ANGELES — A week ago, Michael Heller was ready to drop thousands of dollars on a Jaeger-LeCoultre watch that he’d been coveting. But the recent stock market turmoil made him rethink the splurge.

Instead of making an impulse purchase on a $3,000 or $4,000 item, we’re going to wait six months,” the 40-year-old management consultant said while shopping in Beverly Hills, Calif. If things don’t rebound quickly, he added, further belt-tightening could occur “very soon.”

I don’t think I want to live in a world where a management consultant can’t buy a $4,000 watch on an impulse, but has to wait six months instead, as if he was nothing more than a little boy who has to save up his allowance to get a new pack of Hot Wheels. It’s a travesty. It’s reflective of a deep moral inversion at the heart of our culture. He’s a management consultant, man! Think about it. Where would you be without management consultants? Where would I be? Where would civilization be?

Still crawling in the slime, that’s where.

While you were studying be a doctor or a teacher or a computer programmer, or learning how to build houses, or drive a Big Rig, or become a fireman, or even a lawyer — that is to say, when you were learning to make a product or perform a service that people, in their misguided foolishness, actually need — this guy was down in the trenches mastering the nuts and bolts of a more important trade. He slaved and sacrificed. He delayed gratification. He endured the taunts of those involved in more “useful” occupations. Why? So that one day he might become that most noble, most vitally important of economic actors: the management consultant.

You can frame a house, eh? Big deal. This guy helps companies fulfill their mission statements. You teach kids to read? Aw, that’s cute, but this guy teaches CEOs vital coaching skills. He shows them how to identify their business’s core competencies, dial them in, componentize their deliverables, leverage them, and maximize growth by implementing best industry practices. He can use the term ‘customer base’ without feeling like a total asshole. Medical research is important, sure, but this guy tells the bosses who to fire and then helps them feel good about it. Who’s the better doctor? Get the picture?.

If I was stranded on an island with only one other person, I pray to God it would be a management consultant, otherwise I’d never get off that island alive.

This man rides on the back of corporations and helps them run smoother, straighter, and more efficiently. In that sense he’s a job creator. Us parasites should be buying him that watch out of sheer gratitude. For shame.

Stories like these almost make me ashamed to be an American.