Today’s business interactions, from happy hour networking to LinkedIn lists, often thrive on a deceptively simple philosophy: It’s all about relationships. Yet the sentiment takes on a slightly different flavor depending on who’s talking.
Picture two handbags. Both are made of the same materials by the same workers in the same factory, but they have one crucial difference: one is official merchandise while the other was produced off-the-clock during an unsanctioned “ghost shift.”
Whether sealed with a handshake, a million-dollar contract, or a string of curses, every business deal is a reflection of trust. Both parties trust that the other will hold up their end of the bargain.
There’s a scene in The Bonfire of the Vanities that captures how most of us see the world of Wall Street. Sherman McCoy, the lead in Tom Wolfe’s classic novel of 80’s-era excess, is walking onto the bond floor of Pierce & Pierce.