HR Strange But True!
March 28, 2002
We all know that HR is never boring. But sometimes it can get downright strange...

Sex, lies and Enron (Part 1)

It was inevitable.

Playboy has announced plans for a photo spread showcasing current and former female employees of Enron.

The Chicago-based magazine has issued an open call for models to pose in a spread to be entitled the "Women of Enron," calling it a second chance for employees of the ruined Houston energy company. "We're looking at this as something fun for them to do while they're looking for another job," Playboy spokeswoman Elizabeth Norris said. "This might even turn into a modeling career for them."

Even an Enron spokeswoman, Karen Denne, couldn't resist a joke. Enron's impenetrable financial statements, which hid billions in debt and mounting losses, may have brought calls for better disclosure, but Playboy is "taking transparency to a whole new level," she said.

Source: Reuters, via Lycos

Sex, lies and Enron (Part 2)

Long the butt of "bean-counter" jokes, accountants seemed poised to endure even worse after Enron collapsed and its accounting firm, Arthur Andersen LLP, was indicted. "But the whiff of scandal seems to have made the green eyeshade just a little sexy," according to the Wall Street Journal Online.

The WSJ provides this evidence: Accounting experts are pitching books and turning into the life of the party. A movie about an accountant (called - you guessed it - "The Accountant") even won an Oscar this year for best live-action short. And there's a new breed of jokes. ("Being an accountant gives him that extra aura of danger," says one woman to another in a bar, in a Jack Ziegler cartoon in the March 11 issue of the New Yorker magazine.)

On Ebay, Arthur Andersen memorabilia for sale includes a branded sports bottle with this pitch from the would-be seller: "something to keep you cool, whether you are sweating in front of a Congressional investigative panel or running a high-paced shredding department."

Accountants themselves sound flabbergasted. David Zion, an accounting specialist at Bear Stearns Cos., says he was taken aback when, over cake and balloons at his daughter Amber's birthday party, another father sidled up to him to chit-chat about the effect of accounting scandals on the stock market. "I was, like, 'What?' " Zion recalled. At a pottery-painting party for four-year olds, "accounting is just not a subject that tends to pop up."

His colleague Janet Pegg says, "You used to go to parties and when people asked about your job, no one was interested. Now you're the star."

"We've never been so popular," adds Robert Willens, an accounting analyst at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., who says he's been so overwhelmed by calls to appear on television that he now knows how "rock stars and athletes feel."

"This is our 15 minutes of fame," he says. "We knew it would come eventually."

Source: Wall Street Journal Online, via

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