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15 September 2008

“Are they going to take my BlackBerry?” one yelled out. “Come on, come get it.” [More:]

And somehow....I couldn't care less.

Welcome to the club, oh coddled scions of the privileged few.

Apparently the lunchtime AA meeting at Canary Wharf was packed to the doors today. Lehman's London office is at the Wharf. I know a few people who work(ed) for Lehman's. This means that there's another 5,000 people looking for work in London today.

It's not just the Masters of the Universe, LT. There's all the support staff too, ordinary people trying to earn a living.
posted by essexjan 15 September | 11:21
Eh. Losing your job sucks no matter who you are. And that the recession has hit that high up the ladder is not a good sign.
posted by jonmc 15 September | 11:22
Losing your job does suck, and as essexjan said, plenty of people losing their jobs here had no active hand in what ended up bringing down the company, so a little empathy would be kind. Or at least try to hide the schadenfreude.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 15 September | 11:40
I've no doubt that these financial institutions had a bunch of normal folk working for them. And I feel bad for those folks.

The flip side of the coin is that there was also a bunch of no-good Machiavellian sociopaths working there too. The sort of people who'd have no compunction destroying mine and others lives if it meant they got another $100 on their monthly bonus.

Us: "This creative 'new paradigm' banking means I'm gonna lose my job.'
Them: "Tough shit. I'm off to snort this cocaine off the back of a lap dancer."

So yeah - Those guys - Fuck Em. I hope they lose everything.
posted by seanyboy 15 September | 11:42
Ugh, poor guys. I don't care so much about the arrogant single young bucks, but Lehman had a lot of regular old folks making a living to support their families, etc. I doubt the majority of the folks working there make anything close to six figures- they were there because it was an okay, (if soul-destroying) job that they'd be able to count on for the rest of their careers. I really feel sorry for them. (Why do journalists only interview the jerks?)
posted by small_ruminant 15 September | 11:45
You're right, of course. I know there's probably a good number of regular joes at Lehman that got the sack, and that definitely sucks.

BUT...there's also a lot of asswipe rockstar wannabe's who lived large in Manhattan and London who now have to live in the real world.

Apologies for my tone upthread.
posted by Lipstick Thespian 15 September | 11:48
So yeah - Those guys - Fuck Em. I hope they lose everything.

Fuck you too.

I almost took a job with Lehman Brothers in early '07 in their M&A group, which doesn't really have much to do with what killed the firm. A handful of my friends and co-workers from my previous firm followed a couple of our bosses there. Mostly young guys, some single and some with young families. All of them pretty lucky in terms of education and family, but they all worked their asses off and none of them seemed like sociopaths to me.
posted by mullacc 15 September | 12:53
Thoughts from Bill Taylor at the Harvard Business Review- Let's Sink Wall Street's Ship of Fools
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 15 September | 13:37
Yes, unfortunately, the people who end up bearing the brunt of these crises are rarely the same ones who made the strategic and questionable decisions that resulted in the failure of the company. Those people, of course, tend to make it through these things with a comfortable cushion and plenty of connections. This is certainly one reason I never wanted to work in finance, though, particularly in a public company; the groundlings and mid-level employees will always be targets for getting dumped, since their skills are generally entirely redundant with their superiors'. It's looking a lot like the 80s all over again - witnessing that happen in high school may have influenced my sense of how reliable a career in finance is. It's good when things are good, but that's about as far as it goes.
posted by Miko 15 September | 14:34
There's a lot to be said about the gap modern economic models create between the actions of bankers and the real world. And something in there about cognitive dissonance too. But if you live in a world which forces the closure of good businesses and bankrupts individuals, and you do it in pursuit of mathematical models which do nothing more than keep you and your friends in expensive clothes and designer cars, then I've little sympathy.

I'm sorry I upset you mullac. And you're rightly aggrieved that I'm showing so little compassion towards your friends. But the way I understand this situation is that the bankruptcy of this organisation was a consequence of the greed of the same organisation and organizations like it.

Anyway... If I carry on, I'll probably piss you off more and I don't want to do that.

posted by seanyboy 15 September | 15:04
There goes more of Obama's top 5% tax base.
posted by Ardiril 15 September | 15:25
I think you have to be making about $260K as an individual to be in the top 5%. Not sure how many of the laid-off will be in the category, but I bet it's not that many. There's still plenty to mine in the deep pockets of the top 1 and 2%, whose incomes are staggering orders of magnitude higher than the 3, 4, and 5ers anyhow.
posted by Miko 15 September | 15:53
Not sure how many of the laid-off will be in the category, but I bet it's not that many.

Ain't no lay-offs at Lehman. Liquidation, baby. Everyone goes.
posted by mullacc 15 September | 16:34
I'm hoping that there will be an upside to all this.

Maybe New York City will stop relying on the boom-and-bust cycles of the financial markets to pay its bills. Maybe we'll learn from the experiences of the last couple of decades and build a healthier, more balanced economy.

The odds are that we won't. But I'll throw that out there anyway.

posted by jason's_planet 15 September | 16:55
I wasn't talking about the laid-off, Miko, but those who will take some serious tax write-offs out of all this.
posted by Ardiril 15 September | 17:00
BTW, I predict 2009 will be a record year for IRS refunds.
posted by Ardiril 15 September | 17:13
Lots of people sold mortgage-backed securities. Lots of people sold mortgages to people who clearly couldn't justify them. Lots of people made a lot, a LOT of money while mortgages and housing prices were on the way up. And plenty of those people knew, or should have known, that it was going to blow. I don't cheer for anybody losing a job, but a lot of middle class and working class people are losing their homes and retirement money because investment bankers packaged investments in an irresponsible way.

Investors in Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac get protected. By the taxpayers. When I listen to NPR and hear stories of working class people who have been absolutely screwed out of their homes, which represent their life savings, it's appalling. They certainly should have been smarter, and more wary, but they were straight out lied to by greedy people. As often, those who pay the price aren't always the ones who ran up the bill.
posted by theora55 15 September | 19:12
I heard that President Bush is going to fly over Wall Street today in Air Force One, so he can survey the damage.
posted by BoringPostcards 16 September | 07:12
All dogs go where? || What's wrong with this picture?