The Lloyd Saga

Executive Summary

This is a story about a guy in business. It takes place over the course of one year, from January to the following New Year's Day.

During this twelve-month period, Lloyd's karma, which has always been somewhat charmed, turns a hard right and heads into the land where the game is played for keeps. Having heretofore floated on a cloud of privilege and indolence, Lloyd finds himself suddenly and consistently punished for the excesses he has committed in his savage, repulsively indulgent existence. As an executive, his life is a disgusting monument to greed and the insensitivity of postindustrial capital. He's not a bad guy, though. Maybe that will see him through.

January

The first month of Lloyd's year begins on an auspicious note, with plenty of drinking, eating, and meeting at a corporate retreat in Pittsburgh. We meet Walt, Lloyd's boss, his associate and subordinate, Ronald Lemur, as well as the rest of the haute VPs that make up Lloyd's peer group.

Unfortunately, the final meeting of the three-day professional bender is one of those historic Roman senatorial sessions that leave half the participants bleeding on the sofas, one in which confrontation between manly men and women is the thing most excellent above all others. "Well, Jack," smooth strategic planners leer across an open table at a heretofore cordial associate, "as far as I can see, the general failure of the project was just the result of sheer bad management on your watch. Or maybe I'm wrong. Help me out here." And the other frightened rabbits at the table hang back and watch how the targeted executive will handle the situation with his guts falling out all over his hands.

The word is reengineering, and it's just one of the really big themes, with surprising staying power. We get a pretty good peek at this particular reengineering session, where the decruitment of many, many people is discussed and a new organizational paradigm is implemented. Just as the newly focused, far more disciplined, and productive cadre of key executives is ready to leave the dead behind and march off into the future, humming, a new and menacing presence enters their midst. There is a power, it seems, above the one we know. And it comes from corporate headquarters in Chicago. 

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