Wednesday, February 17, 2010

And I Can't Get My Job in the Financial Industry Back?

Maybe this is why....

And that's nothing; in my days on Wall Street, the stupidity of management was always on display. In fact, they would call you into great, big meetings to proudly announce their stupidity publicly, on a regular basis. Complete with leather-stadium seating in the air-conditioned 300-seat amphitheatre, to introduce a parade of people you've never heard of to explain what's on the expensively-produced and vividly colorful overhead slides -- and once even, a really kick-ass light and music show -- complete with expensive gadgets and huge binders full of expensively-printed materials -- usually to announce that Management has stopped serving fresh fruit in the Executive Dining Room as a cost-cutting measure, or has come up with a new-and-improved Parking Spot Distribution Plan.

When I worked for Smith-Barney, they once spent $3 million dollars to install a big, red, solid-steel umbrella outside the office (Smith-Barney was then a member of Traveler's Group) embedded in concrete, right on the sidewalk. That same week, practically, they announced that executives would be expected to share limo rides in order to reduce overhead.

This guy got even less of a vetting than most Obama Administration nominees. When I apply for a job on Wall Street, they usually check my background very thoroughly -- even my credit score -- to evaluate my potential 'risk' as an employee. This process, which includes fingerprinting, photographing, and in some cases, a request to see your medical records or even a polygraph test, can kill many applicants before they barely finish the complimentary cup of coffee before the first interview. This phony not only got a tony job, he got it with false documents and barely a phone call to his former employer to ensure he was who and what he said he was (that former employer no doubt talked his virtues up -- probably because he knew this guy was as thief and was happy to be rid of him). Expect the clients of of his former employer to begin asking serious questions about whether or not their portfolio crossed paths with this douche.

You can just see the vultures...errr...lawyers circling now.

This guy walked in, and on a handshake, got a $700k loan on favorable terms?

These are supposed to be the Best and the Brightest. The Harvard, Wharton and Stanford MBA's. The Economic Experts. The Big Guns. The very cream of the crop. Your money couldn't be in better hands, right? Now you know how 'bubbles' are created and quickly burst; these guys have no common sense whatsoever, and they routinely bend or ignore the very rules they put in place to protect the shareholder (really, to protect the Firm) to torture the salaried cubicle slaves with. But not their Own Kind. Or people they think are their Own Kind. Don't worry about the idiot who gave him the money: he'll no doubt be fired, but probably land at Citibank or JPMorgan in a few weeks...with a higher salary and zippier title.

That how it works. The path to success on Wall Street is to be a fuck-up. Fuck-ups get promoted to where they can do less harm.

I would not be treated this way, for despite my former importance to the company (my work not only enabled Smith-Barney to trade securities at high speed, cheaply, and in fantastical quantity, but with the added benefit of being able to fire thousands of back-office untermenschen, to boot). My sort of work was merely considered a necessary expense, and so, I could never expect a million bucks a year, especially since I had no college education. But, it's an amazing thing that a Wall Street firm will relentlessly investigate and pry into the life of a 100k-a-year System's Programmer like me, to make sure I don't smoke pot, kick my dog, have a sterling reputation, and even then they'll record my phone calls and monitor my Internet activity, like I was some sort of criminal, and still expect me to work 70 hours a week...with a smile. But a guy who turns out to be a REAL Criminal, armed with a stack of phony documents and a talent for bullshit can be given a massive loan on very favorable terms. On his very first day?

Even if this guy wasn't a scammer, all he really is is a Federally-licenced bookie. The only difference between him and Tony the Nose at the corner Bar-and-Grill is that this guy would have handicapped stocks, bonds and commodities instead of football teams and racehorses. Tony breaks your kneecaps when you don't pay up, these guys just bleed you to death with a thousand papercuts. But I digress...

This is why Merrill Lynch, amongst others, should have been allowed to fail; people who treat other people's money (and it is Other People's Money, after all) so casually-- allegedly -- shouldn't be allowed to stay in business.

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