Welcome To The ‘Envy Economy’ Of City Law Firms

I spend my days in the office listening to management speak. When I’m not going forward, I’m circling back. Before touching base, I’m leveraging my talent to provide solutions. And if that fails, I’m actioning a synergistic paradigm shift strategy (acronymised, of course, as ‘SPSS’).

But my favourite phrase is ‘economy’, writes TheTraineeComplex

Put ‘economy’ after any word and you’ve got a one hour training session. One day, I’m in a Network Economy, in which it’s not what I know but who I know that matters. The next, I’m having to get my head around the Attention Economy, in which I must get people’s interest quickly or I’ll fail miserably. There’s also the Experience Economy, which requires that I make it easy for others to work with me or I’ll end up as an FOS (Financial Ombudsman Service) adjudicator, I’m told.

I enjoy hearing about these different economies, though. Despite not really knowing what an ‘economy’ is, I find it interesting to think about what people are getting at with these ideas.

My only problem with these concepts is that they are totally wrong. You may think this is because they try to provide an overly simple guide to action in a very complex world. But I like a good reductionist approach to complexity: my motto has always been to simplify and exaggerate.

Rather, their wrongness comes from what they see as the motive for human action. Their inspiration comes from Adam Smith: they deal with rational man, who does things out of economic self-interest. Instead, they should look to Sigmund Freud: they need to deal with irrational man, who is driven to do things by something else.

I’ve written before about how people have a primary for their actions: the desire to feel important. Importance (and its ally, recognition) use one form of hard currency: jealousy. As pounds and pence are to the material world, jealous thoughts and envious looks are to the emotional world. They are a way to measure success.

Think about it. Why do I really want to go that party? Only because you’re not invited. What about getting the new iPad? It’s because you can’t afford it. Or that Savile Row suit? So people can look at my working cuff buttons with green eyes, of course. To be successful in a City firm, it seems, all you have to do is one thing. Make people want what you already have.

Welcome to the Envy Economy.

TheTraineeComplex is a trainee at a leading City of London law firm. His blog is here, and previous Legal Cheek posts here.

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