Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsEmployment

Most L.A. Executives Work Harder Than People Think

June 13, 1988|JOAN LIBMAN

It was very laid-back Los Angeles, something that might have come right out of the comic strip Doonesbury. The corporate lawyer left the office at 11 a.m., heading for a few sets of tennis at the club, followed by sushi, the masseuse and the facialist.

The myth persists: No one in Los Angeles works hard. Residents engage the personal trainer, the wardrobe consultant and the interior decorator, speak psychobabble, have their nails wrapped and grow vegetables--all on company time.

As with any stereotype, there is probably a little truth. "Since I moved to the L.A. area, I have noticed that people seem to value their leisure time a good deal more than in other parts of the country," says Jim Gauss, a vice-president with Watt Associates, a Chicago-based executive search firm. "But let me tell you, people getting ahead here certainly are not 'laid back,' " says Gauss, who lives in Newport Beach.

In fact, many observers note that the pace of business in Los Angeles differs little from that of New York. "People are surprised at the very high work ethic in L.A. Beyond the surface, 'laid-back' patina, there is a driving energy to succeed," comments UCLA management professor Eric Flamholtz, a former New Yorker who travels the United States as a business consultant.

Given today's competitive climate, wisecracks about the easy life evoke laughter from some L.A. professionals. Rex Heinke, a partner with the Los Angeles law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, said that in the face of a more crowded field, everyone in his office is working more.

Even those who are successful in the allegedly glamorous movie industry claim the work is arduous, the day long. John Davis, president of Davis Entertainment and producer of the movie "Predator," says he routinely arrives at the office about 9:15 a.m., works until 8 p.m. and spends a few hours every evening reading scripts. Weekends, he says, are devoted to movie deals, takeover opportunities and financial details. When finishing a movie, Davis works 18-hour days, seven days a week. Davis doesn't think he is unusual.

Moreover, Davis said, "I went to graduate school in Boston, worked in the oil business in Texas and worked for the government in Colorado, and the longest hours I have ever worked have been in the film business in Los Angeles."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|