For Bob Iger, boss of Disney, the day begins at 4.30am. "I exercise … I look at email. I surf the web. I watch a little TV, all at the same time. I call it my quiet time, but I'm already multi-tasking." Attaboy, Bob! Mind you, no early bird gets near a worm if Brett Yormark, chief executive of the Brooklyn Nets basketball team, has his way. Brett's up by 3.30am and in the office within an hour, from where he bombards flunkies with apparently "motivational emails".
The image Armstrong and his kind are seeking to project with such remarks is easy to read: look how productive I am. Employees, shareholders and pension-fund investors are meant to gaze in awe upon these treadmill-pounding, conference-calling, BlackBerry-monitoring titans of the corporate world.
Far be it for me to claim these people aren't toiling away.And yet, the tone of your article suggests just that…
Sure, it suits the right-wing propagandists to bang on about how busy the elite are.See what I mean? Whereas the Guardian elite just seem to worry about inconsequentialities like ethical phone purchases...
Indeed, one trope of this economic crisis is that the victims – be they Greek pensioners or British welfare claimants – are lazy or, as Osborne puts it, have "the curtains drawn all day". But it's a lie: studies show that people at the bottom of society have among the least amount of sleep – and the most disturbed.
A couple of years ago, I interviewed a cleaner at Buckingham Palace. Anthony, as we called him, had to make a three-hour round trip to get to work from his one-room bedsit, because he couldn't afford rents any closer in. He did two jobs and relied on public transport and the result was three hours' sleep a night. By Friday night he was so exhausted, he would crawl into bed fully clothed and sleep until the next evening. Anthony's housing estate was full of people like him, he said: the cleaners, the cafe staff, the office security guards. And they were all doing the same sort of hours.I wonder why he sought out a cleaner at Buckingham Palace to make his point; does the ‘Guardian’ office not use cleaners or security guards from the outskirts?
It didn't sound particularly heroic to me. But then Anthony hadn't chosen this lifestyle and he wasn't boasting; if anything, he seemed slightly ashamed. And Anthony and his neighbours don't get profiled in the papers.Except by…well, journalists like you.