Lessons from a Stripper


Barry* was a friend and a prominent hedge fund manager. Being in that industry, he loved money. The one thing he loved more than money was the company of beautiful women who were not his wife, and he threw lavish parties to entertain his female companions at his home-away-from-home, the Presidential Suite at the Four Seasons in Union Square.

At one of his quieter gatherings, we sat on the couch sharing stories about recent adventures and exploits while three topless dancers gyrated on the coffee table before us. Barry called them his “Pussycat Dolls”. The guests of honor changed every evening. These particular ones were a little busted-looking. Barry’s latest investment had not gone well, and he must have been feeling a little stingy that night.

During a lull in the music, one of the Dolls dropped herself on Barry’s lap and draped her arms around his neck in an attempt to upsell later services. Another, Monica, stepped down and grabbed me by the hands.

“Come up here and dance with us,” she tugged. Her hands were warm.

“Yeah, I’m not going to do that.”

“Why not?” She grabbed the hem of my shirt and swiftly pulled it towards my head. I recoiled and clutched myself protectively, shrinking back into the couch.

“Because I’m… shy.”

“Why are you shy?”

I had no answer. Monica had a scorpion tattooed on the overhang of her lower abdomen, spanning the width between her hip sockets. Its tail was raised in a striking position, like a question mark extending above her blue briefs. I wondered what her mother thought of her vocation.

Monica stared into my eyes with her big dilated pupils. “Listen, babe. You just need to be more confident. I was scared too when I first started dancing! But when I started believing in myself, and believing that I was totally hot, then I made so much more money!”

Wow. I was receiving life advice from a stripper. “What does your mother think?”

“My mama always says, Baby, you do whatever makes you happy. And dancing makes me happy!”

Here was a girl that would barely make the Tuesday-night lineup at a gentleman’s club, shaking her assets on the table like a champ. She believed in her product, and because of this, she could convince people to throw money at it. Also because of this, she loved her job.

And that’s what having a fulfilling career is all about. Faith in the end-product. I can’t count the number of jobs I’ve held where I could barely muster the enthusiasm to show up for work, let alone care about the product. This is why big companies become soulless corporations. The individual worker ants are so far removed that they stop caring about the queen. Apathetic employees make for a terribly inefficient business.

My projects with Warren come together so effectively because we personally shape them into what we believe in. This engenders the faith that drives us to realize our full potential. Our most recent project doesn’t have a name yet, so I’ll just call it Project Ed. But I know we’re on to something fantastic, because Ed can’t wait to spread its little legs for the world.


*Names changed. Well, not the dancer’s name. I don’t think they use their real names anyway.


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