Melanie Berliet Opted Against Having Sex With Her Boss for a Bigger Bonus

By
Photo: Patrick McMullan

Most women who work on Wall Street would say they made every effort to not be looked upon by their colleagues as a mere sex object. Not Melanie Berliet, who writes in Elle this month that she opted to flirt her way through day-to-day as a bond trader, eventually finding herself hesitating outside a hotel room — where her older, married boss Carl waited expectantly with a porno — and wondering whether she'd get a bigger bonus if she went ahead and boned him. As you might expect, common sense prevailed, and Berliet went on to triumph as a journalist who has gone undercover as a plastic-surgery patient, a wayward wife, and a naked sushi model. But at the time, there were consequences.

She writes:

Ultimately, Carl did fuck me. At my year-end review a few months later, I sat in his small, glass-walled empire of an office. He leaned back, hugging himself, then handed me the 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper that detailed my bonus, my worth: $65,000.You bastard, I thought. That number, at least $35,000 too low by my estimate, mocked me. It was less than what I’d received after year two, and being “paid down” was a serious slight on Wall Street back then.

Well, that's horrible, but frankly we have no sympathy, because looking back, those were the days. Now, even when you fuck your gross old boss, you still get a lower bonus than last year.

Sexual Politics: Doll Street [Elle]