Many Lehman staff lost a lot more than just their jobs

Toy Soldiers Marching

On the 5th anniversary of the fall of Lehman Brothers, it might be worth sparing a thought for some of the other victims of this catastrophe - the thousands of employees who lost their jobs.

Here's the latest from our Highly Placed Professional:

Countless people lost money as a result of the global financial meltdown that came after the fall of Lehman, but the employees of the firm itself suffered too. Many employees left the firm on that Friday evening 5 years ago thinking that things would get better - a solution to their difficulties would be found; management would come through; a buyer would step forward.

Little did they imagine that the following working day many would be returning to their offices and clearing their desks.

I know several former Lehman employees who were not Managing Directors or such like, who had no management responsibility, but who had been at the firm for many years and gave their all to the cause. These people worked in traditional stock broking, money markets and as bond salespeople like me.

They had seen the price of Lehman stock rocket to unheard of levels, on the back of the huge 'profits' the firm was making from mortgage backed products and the like. As one of my mates told me, it was difficult to cash in your stock when it kept doubling in value every few years.

But these people were not shoddy speculators. They were loyal to a firm with a great atmosphere and work ethic - a firm that always punched above its weight, and which had the full respect of the market.

But a lot of people who became paper millionaires after a career at Lehman suddenly found that they weren’t just out of a job when the firm failed - they had lost most of their net worth overnight too, not to mention the mental blow of knowing that you were about to look for another job in probably the worst employment market for 80 years.

It is indeed a testament to the quality of Lehman’s people, however, that so many of them have secured decent jobs back in the financial markets. To them, those five years since the firm’s fall will probably now seem like a lifetime away.

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