Here's something doing the rounds that was allegedly sent to all staff at one of the big investment banks last week.
Let me first start by saying that I've had a wonderful career working on Wall Street. Unfortunately no part of that wonderful career occurred whilst I was working at this firm. The last two years have been the worst of my professional life. The job I joined up to do was misrepresented at interview and the duties I subsequently undertook were often mundane and sometimes, I felt, compromised my integrity.
As the job axe hovered unceremoniously above my head, I decided that enough was enough. And I've resigned with no job to go. Some will think I'm stupid, and countless colleagues did tell me to hang on in there and walk off with some lay-off cash. Well, I just couldn't live myself anymore. I was fed up of coming into work each morning, going through the motions knowing that no-one cared what I did or what I thought, and seeing an ever-increasing number of fellow risk professionals shown the door. And, perhaps more importantly, I also appreciated that the days of decent exit packages are long gone - there's not much left in the lay-off kitty for foot soldiers like me now, after our failed executives and traders have had their snouts in the trough.
And, in truth, I was fed up working for idiots. Don't get me wrong, working for idiots kind of comes with the territory in investment banking. I understand that. After all, I worked for plenty during the Asian crisis, the Russian crisis, the dom com boom (and bust), and the industry's stock research and IPO self-inflicted woes. But the kind of idiots who run (or ran) my last firm have to take the biscuit. By ignoring all the warnings about the ticking time bomb that was subprime, disregarding the constant concerns voiced by many of us in risk and compliance, and putting high on a pedestal a small group of traders who were clearly chasing the dollar for their own ends, our so-called leaders blew our franchise, compromised our industry, caused our shareholders to suffer financial loss and doomed thousands of my former colleagues to face up to the prospect of unemployment in the biggest market downturn since 1929. Now that is stupid.
I thought long and hard about sending this e-mail. I desperately wanted to be funny and witty. I hoped that it would make the rounds on the internet, and that everyone would think that I was such a clever chap. But, when it came to it, I realised that the events of the last two years or so have been no laughing matter. And, come to think of it, I haven't really been that clever. So, I'm off. And I don't care what the future will bring - at least I'll be able to hold my head up high again. And at least I'll be able to sleep better at night and, in time, I might even be able to come to terms with the fact that I should have tried harder, I should have expressed my views more firmly, and I should certainly have quit a lot sooner.
For 16 years I lived the American Dream. For the last two, it seemed a never-ending nightmare'.
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