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CAREERS / The Soul at Work | EVOLUTION

How the Organization Man Became a Sensitive, New-Age Guy

April 06, 1998|JAMES BATES Times Staff Writer

In the post-World War II era, the inner worker has evolved Darwin-like toward deeper meaning much as the outer worker has evolved from Brooks Brothers pinstripes to Gap khakis on Fridays. Here's a look at how the american working stiff has been transformed from yesterday's Organization Man to today's Deepak-Buffett devotee.

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THE ORGANIZATION MAN (1955-65)

What you did at the beginning of the era:

General Electric trainee

Univac salesman

Tract home builder

Fuller Brush salesman

***

Spiritual heroes:

Robert McNamara

Dwight Eisenhower

Arnold Palmer

John Wayne

Frank, Dean, Sammy, Joey and Peter

***

Career highlights:

Given own office

Bonus big enough to buy 1959 T-Bird

Vice president title

Life of the office Christmas party

***

Guilty pleasures:

"Thunderball"

$1-a-hole golf

Playboy subscription

Vodka martini

***

Major spiritual revelation that made you realize there's more to life than work and money:

1950s "Quiz Show" scandal

Dodgers sweep the Yankees in four games

Purchase of first two Beatles albums

"Man from U.N.C.L.E." canceled (1968)

TIE-DYE ERA (1966-75)

What you did at the beginning of the era:

Finished college on G.I. Bill after returning from Vietnam

Social worker

Peace Corps volunteer

Lived in Volkswagen van

***

Spiritual heroes:

John Kennedy

Federico Fellini

Hermann Hesse

Jim Morrison

***

Career highlights:

Organized three-week strike

Got company cafeteria to boycott grapes

Worked in Jerry Brown administration

***

Guilty pleasures:

Spring vacation in Florida

Jacqueline Susann novels

Biker movies

***

Major spiritual revelation that made you realize there's more to life than work and money:

Final scene in "Easy Rider"

Playing "Revolution No. 9" backward

Weekend est seminar

Nixon resignation

GEKKO ERA: (1980-88)

What you did at the beginning of the era:

Finished MBA at Wharton

Junior partner on $1-billion M&A deals

Proxy solicitor

***

Spiritual heroes:

T. Boone Pickens Jr.

Ivan Boesky

Carl Icahn

Ronald Reagan

Gordon Gekko

***

Career highlights:

Sitting within 6 feet of Michael Milken on Drexel's X-shaped trading desk

Reduced sentence for cooperating with SEC investigation

Tell-all book following prison sentence, with Barbara Walters interview

***

Guilty pleasures:

Plenty of pleasures, none of them guilty

***

Major spiritual revelation that made you realize there's more to life than work and money:

Lost big money when Phillips Petroleum takeover fell apart

Search warrant delivered for trading records

Donald Trump's brush with financial disaster

American Express card canceled

HARD DRIVE ERA: (1990-96)

What you did at the beginning of the era:

Lifetime career at IBM

Lifetime career at Apple Computer

Lifetime career at Security Pacific Bank

Lifetime career at Lockheed

***

Spiritual heroes:

Steve Jobs

Michael Jordan

Phil Knight

Akio Morita

***

Career highlights:

Bill Gates personally answers e-mail message

Quoted in InfoWorld article

Handpicked to lead Quality Circle group

Survived when company manufacturing moved to Singapore

***

Guilty pleasures:

Using original Apple II

Taking shoes off at Grateful Dead concert

***

Major spiritual revelation that made you realize there's more to life than work and money:

One of the first (and last) to buy a DAT recorder

Getting notice on Friday that you are being downsized that day

Still no job after outplacement session

Having to call yourself a consultant

TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL ERA: (1997-?)

What you did at beginning of the era:

Founder of a Web site

Personal trainer

Wrote, directed and starred in a Miramax film

Motivational speaker

Former Clinton White House official-turned-TV commentator

***

Spiritual heroes:

Deepak Chopra

Tony Robbins

Della Reese

Anyone who can give away $1 billion and not feel it (Ted Turner, Warren Buffett, George Soros)

Matt Drudge

***

Career highlights:

Organized lunchtime yoga sessions at work

Dress-down Fridays

Met soul mate in a chat room while at work

Made money on the Internet

***

Guilty pleasures:

Renting "Oceans 11"

Visits to local cigar store

Visits to local martini bar

Visits to local steakhouse

***

Major spiritual revelation that made you realize there's more to life than work and money:

Death of Jerry Garcia

Stock options worth $5 million on Tuesday, zero on Wednesday

Getting the phrase "Awaken the Giant Within" into company mission statement

Bought coffee at Starbucks for personal spiritual guru

Rupert Murdoch buys the Dodgers

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