In the summer of 2007, Timothy S. Durham decided to throw himself a party for his 45th birthday. The CEO of a leveraged buyout shop in Indianapolis, Durham claimed to have made millions. He had also developed a penchant for the young, fun, and nubile, partying in Los Angeles and Miami and on his yacht in the Caribbean.
On an overcast Friday afternoon last August, a hundred or so employees of AOL's local news subsidiary, Patch, crammed into a cafeteria at the company's headquarters in Manhattan. Another several hundred connected to the room via conference call.
They were waiting to hear CEO Tim Armstrong deliver bad news.
The architect is making a mistake. Standing before a large screen in the industrial-chic conference room of his office downtown, he begins his presentation with a leisurely overview of what can be done to the property at 500 South Mateo Street, a five-sided, single-story building on a patchy block in the nearby arts district. His audience of eight seems attentive.
Say what you want about the future of work, but this much is clear: The traditional compact between employers and employees is slowly fading away, and with it, a way of thinking, a way of living, a way of relating to others and regarding oneself that generally comes with a reasonably predictable professional life.