The Angry Stripper and Wall Street's Myopia
Senior Editor, CNBC.com
Have you heard about the Angry Stripper?
That was the name of a blog by Sarah Tressler which covered her life as a stripper in Houston. It's since been made private now, so you can only read it through the Google cache.
It's now known that she also works covering high society for the Houston Chronicle. And there's speculation that she may now be fired.
"I'm awaiting the editor-in-chief's decision with regard to my fate at the Houston Chronicle," she wrote, according to ABCNews.com.
This is quite ridiculous. There's no way Tressler should be fired for working after-hours as a stripper. And she certainly shouldn't be fired for writing about it.
But, if she does get fired, it's likely it will be for "lying" to her superiors or some such. Which is also a huge mistake.
I've argued this point for years with executives at Wall Street firms that habitually fire people, when they discover the latter have a career as an anonymous artist or writer. They always say that the offense was the covert nature of the activity. They worry that an employee keeping a second line of work secret could possibly...well, that's not sure. They just feel antsy about the second line of work.
The truth is that they should embrace the "Angry Strippers" among them: people with talents and ambitions that mark them apart from their colleagues. If the person happens to be a great sports blogger in addition to a terrific investment banker, find a way to make this work for your firm. Why lose talented people simply because they have talents and ambitions that go beyond a job description written for no one in particular?
If the person kept the talent and career to himself or herself, you have to ask your firm: what are we doing wrong that talented people are hiding their talents from us? Everyone on Wall Street knows that human capital is its most important resource.
Secrecy isn't something they did to you. It's something you did to your firm. Fix it.
Hopefully the Houston Chronicle uses this as a reason to examine why its internal culture made Tressler intimidated to share her other career with her bosses.
And hopefully Wall Street will start doing the same thing.
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