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.