Editorial: Issues that still have legs

Ping! Just as I was sitting down to write this, a press release drops into my groaning Outlook (current Inbox contents: 7,852 items) proclaiming: 'Nearly a quarter of the UK's entire office-based workforce is unhappy at work.' According to this survey, men are less happy at work than women, and Mancunians are the most miserable of all - a pitiful 37% of them are happy workers.

by Matthew Gwyther, MT editor
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Chirrup! Phone. Ruth Kelly's office wants to send me her speech about flexible working. It never stops. I wrote my first editorial about work/life balance six years ago and I daresay this one won't be the last. MT has been following the subject for more than 10 years and a fair bit has changed for the better over the past decade. New Labour has taken flexible working to heart and has passed sensible legislation; workers, especially young, educated and confident ones, vote with their feet if they don't like their jobs; men are now mildly enlightened about playing a bigger role as carers of kids or the elderly.

On the subject of work/life... the demise of Lord Browne, until recently CEO of BP and frequent winner of MT's Most Admired Leader award. He was the world's most legendary workaholic. We observed what befell Lord Browne with little less than horror as a brilliant career came apart at the seams. I have three simple observations to make. First, you should not tell fibs, however small or white, to judges (they dislike being lied to even more than they frown on injustice). Second, if he'd been a heterosexual man rather than gay, Browne would still be in his job today and collecting his long-term incentive plan. Third, it's of interest that Browne found it necessary to resign from his directorship of Goldman Sachs but not from the board of private-equity outfit Apax. If, when the truth finally emerges, it's found that anyone from Goldman's forced him out, they should feel thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

As our feature on the impact of PE on the City suggests, while they are making piles of money, few in PE are squeamish about the methods or the personnel used to keep the funds and fees flowing through their door. In PE, a pound is a pound, be it pink, grey or invested in seed capital for golddiggersonline.com.

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