Choose Your Poison: What You Can (and Can't) Decide at Work

Bob Goldman on

Before we begin today's sermonette, let's find a place in our hearts for James Gorman, the CEO of Morgan Stanley, who recently saw his 2022 pay slashed to $31.5 million. According to an article by Prarthana Prakash in Fortune, this represents a 10% reduction from the CEO's 2021 compensation of $35 million.


I certainly hope Gorman will manage to compensate for the salary drop, but, as we know, cutting costs is never easy. I hate to think of him nibbling on foie gras from Trader Joe's and replacing Chateau Lafite with Two Buck Chuck. And then there is the emotional part of the deal -- surely, he is haunted by the fact that for the first time since 2019, the Morgan Stanley CEO was paid less than someone who I assume is an archenemy, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.

Double ouch!

Now that we are finished feeling sorry for James Gorman, we still have a few column inches left to express our rage and revulsion at the CEO's recent comment to Bloomberg News concerning an employee's right to work from home.

"Employees can't simply choose to work remotely," Gorman said. "They don't get to choose their compensation, they don't get to choose their promotion, and they don't get to choose to stay home five days a week."


The Morgan Stanley CEO's desire to keep his employees close is nothing new. In the summer of 2021, when COVID-19 fears not only had us working from home, but also working under the bed, Gorman said that if workers did not return to the office by September, he would be "very disappointed."

Heaven knows what it would take to assuage Gorman's disappointment, but I imagine public scourging would be a step in the right direction.

If Morgan Stanley employees were not willing to listen to their fearless leader in 2021, the COVID-19 virus was all ears. The omicron variant went right to work at offices all across the country, while employees stayed home, safe, if not sound. With new variants still turning up for work every day, it would not be an overstatement to predict that the rush to return to the office will be muted.

Lest you think we are kicking Gorman when he is down (down some $3.5 million by my calculation), reporter Prakash writes that "banks have been amongst the most aggressive in pushing for in-person work." This is surprising, since banks are usually so caring and sympathetic.


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