In the aftermath of last week’s now infamous Greg Smith op-ed, The New Yorker has published a fascinating piece referring to a Dec. 2000 article about hundreds Goldman Sachs employees giving each other a great big bear hug at the close of an i-banking conference. [via DealBreaker]The purpose of the massive group hug, which also earned a Guinness World Record at the time, was to symbolise they were “still a small family.”
What’s more is four of the firm’s first-year analysts had to dress up as Teletubbies. (Alright, someone’s gotta have some pictures of that out there!)
From The New Yorker:
The investment bankers went to work. Four young ones, who had been ordered to put on Teletubby costumes, emerged from the wings and began roaming the tables, to put their colleagues in a huggable mood. 20 others, “hug police” wearing construction helmets with head lamps, and T-shirts over their ties, fanned out with clipboards to round up recruits. Partner or peon, it didn’t matter. The big hug was for everyone. Those who signed up were given yellow stickers, which read “One Team, One Hug,” and were told to line up along the wall, where they began to form a circle around the ballroom.
Gradually, the circle grew. Teletubbies stood arm in arm with men in suits. [Guinness spokeswoman Jerramy] Fine announced, “I can now certify that this will be the world’s largest hug, if you execute correctly.” On either side of the stage, Guinness’s official requirements for correct hug execution were displayed on giant screens: “At a given signal, each participant should squeeze the person on either side of them, holding the hug for a minimum of 10 seconds.” Holt gave the signal. The huggers squeezed. The countdown began. At zero, the song “Lean on Me” came over the sound system, and the ring of eight hundred and 90-nine bankers swayed and broke.
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