Friday, May 23, 2008

Layoff Season

(New York, NY) –-

Taylor was strolling the streets of Midtown on Saturday, Blackberry in one hand, red accordion folder in the other; he wasn’t even working—he just felt naked without some sort of financial document on his person. “Every day I’m hustling,” he texted in response to his mom’s inquiry into how his week had gone. Looking up, he saw an attractive girl walking towards him. It was the middle of the afternoon, but she was dressed in full MPD uniform—a shiny T-shirt-dress that somehow ended right at her crotch without revealing anything, heels, and a Chanel bag she held by the chain, the purse dangling a bit above the ground.

“Goldman Sachs…” Taylor whispered as she walked by. He held his folder up a bit in her direction, channeling its magnetic powers. To his alarm, her gait didn’t even slow.

“Waaaall Street…” he tried again, now walking slowly but turning up the volume a bit and really enunciating. The girl just kept on marching. “Fuckin iPods,” Taylor tried to rationalize, although he had seen no headphones. Stomping his loafer on the ground in frustration, he began hurling everything in his arsenal at the girl: “money,” “finance,” “merger,” he shouted. “$5 Bn assets under management!” he hedged the Sell Side. But the girl’s pace actually increased slightly and the tiny silk shorts she had on under her shirt-dress-thing became visible as she clacked along more quickly.

“EBITDA!” Taylor screamed in a last ditch effort, craning his neck to increase his range. But it was no use. Incredulous, he stared down at his hands in disbelief. He slapped them together, hoping for some sparks. Had he forgotten how to do the magic? The girl was now long gone—Banking had given him a set of cheat codes to the game of life, but they no longer seemed to be working.


For weeks, Bankers across Manhattan have been experiencing situations similar to Taylor’s. The global economic crisis has caused thousands of lost jobs, imposed a huge burden on our government, and created widespread paranoia. But more important, and more palpable than any of these things, is that the social dynamic of New York City has been turned on its head.

The most elite subset of our metropolis, Investment Bankers—those who guided our fashion and nightlife trends, buoyed our real estate prices, and, most of all, gave us something to which to aspire—have, to put it gently, fallen from grace. The black box that was Banking has been exposed, and after decades of only being able to admire the brushed ebony exterior, the world has finally been able to examine its largely nonexistent contents. At this time of year, we’d normally be abuzz, eagerly anticipating the bonus numbers of first year analysts; but instead, the City is confused, unsure what to do with itself or how to behave.

Most affected have been the City’s females. New York’s women aren’t the most mentally agile, but at least there was a single concept they could grasp—the UES girls, the B&T, the Eastern Europeans models—they all knew one thing: they wanted guys in finance. But even they have gotten wind of the recent firings and reduced bonuses on Wall Street, and now, without a distinct target, they are lost, like drunken soldiers firing bullets blindly into the air.

“I fucked an accountant last night for Christ’s sake,” lamented Whitney, wiping tears out of her eyes. “They make decent money, right?” she asked, with hopeful naiveté.

In response, Bankers are being forced to lie about their current and former occupations.

“Industrialist,” we were told when inquiring about the occupation of Jason, a 1st year analyst at Lehman Brothers. “Mogul,” “Hollywood agent,” “Painter,” he rattled off mechanically and confidently, while demonstrating how he used the ink from various dry erase markers to simulate the hands of an artist. Then, with the bravado of a true artist, he completed the formatting on a football field slide.

We also spoke to Sarah, a young girl living in NoLiTa who was duped into going home with a guy who used one of these ploys. “You know, I was hunting in the cabinet under his sink like I always do the morning after I go home with a guy,” she told us, somehow convinced that the morning after was better than never. “And get this—stuffed away in a corner, he had an economy sized box of Valtrex and” Choked up, but waving at us to signal that the worst was yet to come, Sarah finally was able to force out the clincher: “an old Bear Sterns T-Shirt.” She exhaled loudly, the vile words expunged from her system. Now exhibiting slight fever and swollen glands, she remarked: “I’m not sure which disgusted me more.”

“…I guess I should have known when he asked me to pay for my own taco at La Esquina.”

In addition to the social repercussions of the current economy, what most mainstream media outlets are neglecting to address are the local, microeconomic impacts that results when dudes in finance aren’t opening up their wallets “just to let some air in.”

We spoke to Salim, a deli owner near 46th and Madison. His English was choppy and laced with the terrifying, almost Middle Eastern throat sounds of Urdu, but he probably grasped the significance of the economic meltdown better than any Wall Street analyst. He took us into the back area, and, pointing at a tower of cases of Red Bull, he asked: “What the fuck am I going to do with this shit?”

Tailors, street vendors, manufacturers of table showers used at Asian massage parlors—they’re all feeling the tabs of Wall Street’s bespoke pants tighten. Most frightened, however, are nightclubs owners, aghast at the notion of slashing bottle prices and having to let in hipsters. On a recent Friday, Mark, the bottle host at Tenjune was furious as only 20% of the normal number of guys tried to bribe him. “It’s all your fault!” he screamed, hurling an empty dome-shaped bottle of Patron at Cielo, a club known to be frequented by CDO desks.

Tiffany’s opened a branch on Wall Street in late 2007 and commemorated the event with a Heart of Wall Street pendant. Now, in an attempt to offer Bankers a place to turn to for refuge, they will be focusing their efforts on crosses, stars of David, and, cheekily, mini dart board pendants. We were reassured that production of the highly anticipated $2 charms was delayed but nearing completion.

So what are all the young bankers getting laid off from the Goldmans and the Morgans of the world actually doing? Are they moving back home? Going to business school? Traveling?

What does one do with a skillset primary consisting of an impeccable attention to detail and potent masochism?

“Industry,” grieved Kevin, a lanky Korean-American who worked at JP Morgan, illustrating how even the slightest change can make a once alluring word sound horrifying.

Some might imagine the layoffs to be a boon for junior Bankers. With generous savings in hand, they’d finally be able to take some time to explore other potential career paths beyond finance and broaden their horizons. Perhaps there would be a surge of untalented yet highly persistent Banker-esque indie rock bands, an entire collection of Vampire Weekends, if you will. One could imagine this group of well-educated business minds might try their hand at executing any one of those many entrepreneurial ideas (high-end liquor company) they are known to spout out while hammered.

When queried along these lines, Jane, a Korean-American who was a History major only a year ago, could do nothing to help her face from falling into her hands. Sobbing, a few words eked out from behind the moans: “This is all I know.” (job board: Jane is highly motivated individual actively seeking employment at a Bulge Bracket Bank.)

But is there any upside for young Wall Streeters of today? A silver lining? Patrick, an analyst still working at Morgan Stanley, offered: “Well, at least it isn’t as hard to get a car home now.”

99 comments for this post.

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  1. +8 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Power & Alt. Energy Like frosting, baby? sitting on cake Not to mention, ladies love to hear the pitch of an Environmentally Friendly Banker

  2. +24 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Going forward? its Investment Banking Not I-Banking We?re not Apple products thank you

  3. +16 votes + -
    Bear Cub Said:

    This recession isn?t all that bad. I mean I use my old Thomas Pink sleeves to wipe my hands during break at Jiffy Lube?oh wait. Damit!

  4. +5 votes + -
    Bond Girl Said:

    Glad you?re back with a post. ANY post. We?re all willing to sell out for much less these days, no pun intended.

  5. +1 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    see you all in the gym for the next three hours!

  6. -4 votes + -
    Countrywide Guy Said:

    Sorry for the subprime mess!!!

  7. +6 votes + -
    dude Said:

    ?Perhaps there would be a surge of untalented yet highly persistent Banker-esque indie rock bands, an entire collection of Vampire Weekends, if you will.? Hahahahaha. Easy transition, considering bankers are over-hyped pieces of shit anyway.

  8. -7 votes + -
    Now in Houston Said:

    hahaha cry you monkeys cry?maybe in 5 years, when (if?) the M&A market picks up you will be able to claim your old glory?.until then come to Texas?we (the oil industry) are hiring finance people:)

  9. +6 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    why are some people so bitter?

  10. +7 votes + -
    Now in Houston Said:

    not bitter?just amused?was in NYC a week ago hung out with a bunch of DB and UBS bankers?they said work is like lottery?you never know who will be next?hah

  11. -3 votes + -
    btraven Said:

    Hey, there?s always law school?three years on the beach and then back into the fray?.

  12. +23 votes + -
    american bandersnatch Said:

    Way to miss thed window for your book. Have to retitle it ?damn, it was good to be a banker before it all went to shit?.

  13. -18 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Most bankers couldn?t hack it in law school.

  14. +3 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Keep telling yourself that?.

  15. +24 votes + -
    The chosen one Said:

    law school? ew. i would rather buy a BBB- rated brokered florida and cali resi CDO from Citi.

  16. +14 votes + -
    hedgehog Said:

    $5 Bn assets under management!??? he hedged the Sell Side Haha!!!

  17. -1 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Obviously most bankers cannot hack it in finance either. In responce to the kid making fun of the corp-law people? We have plenty of work now that banking is going to shit. All the securities litigation against banks will provide for years of corp-representation and class action claims. Thanks!

  18. -7 votes + -
    Louis Winthorp Said:

    Strong to quite strong return. To the Class of ?08: Good luck. Duke & Duke -for one- is not hiring.

  19. +1 votes + -
    loose_seal_2 Said:

    Welcome back! You were missed. Fantastic post. LOVED the red bull line.

  20. +3 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    TED Real law firms aren?t laying people off. Unlike IB?s most law firms are diverse and when M&A is down lit/bank/re picks up. I wont be worried until Cravath, WLRK, and Simpson start layoffs. Until then enjoy your job search, I?ll enjoy my job.

  21. -15 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Fuck you anon. Go write me a legal opinion / UA

  22. +2 votes + -
    Sell-Side Said:

    Upgrade to ?Hold?.

  23. -4 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    I have both an MBA and a JD. Compared to the JD, the MBA was a fucking cakewalk. Most bankers I have met would not fare well in law school.

  24. +25 votes + -
    Gekkko Said:

    Wake up will you pal. If youre not inside, youre outside. Im not talking about some $400,000 Wall Street stiff who flies first class. Im talking liquid. Rich enough to own a jet.???

  25. +23 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    My review is tommorrow?fuck, fuck, fuck

  26. -4 votes + -
    FCCR Said:

    feels good to be on the buy side with a fresh fund ready to deploy?..

  27. -2 votes + -
    ank Said:

    what is a full mpd uniform?

  28. -1 votes + -
    r2d2 Said:

    is taylor a lez?

  29. -1 votes + -
    Fuck Said:

    what is a good raw summary review number at goldman sachs?

  30. -14 votes + -
    hilarious Said:

    ?Going forward its Investment Banking Not I-Banking Were not Apple products thank you ? As you are overpaid, ersatz, and quite poor quality for a human, you really deserve to be called the iBankers. Got what you deserve, douches.

  31. +28 votes + -
    Not an Ibanker Said:

    I think a lot of people tend to be too hard on the jr analysts. How else do you expect someone who is in their early 20s, fresh out of undergrad, given an insane amount of money relative to other entry level jobs, and surrounded by the biggest egos in their respective cities to behave? The ones who have grown up with money their entire lives don?t really have an excuse, but i think people should lighten up on the bashing of everyone else and stop telling themselves they wouldn?t act differently if they were surrounded by that kind of money/job pressure

  32. 0 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    ROCK ON!!!

  33. +3 votes + -
    anon Said:

    Looks like the BSDs are returning??play ball!

  34. +15 votes + -
    AP Said:

    I fucked an accountant last night for Christs sake,??? lamented Whitney, wiping tears out of her eyes. They make decent money, right???? she asked, with hopeful naivet. Ahh, it?s good to have you back.

  35. -14 votes + -
    '08 grad Said:

    It was tough but i landed a job in trading. The most deserving candidates from my school got the jobs they wanted. A far cry from boom-time, grab-anything-that-walks-from-an-ivy hiring to be sure.

  36. +7 votes + -
    already made it Said:

    It?s Tiffany. Not Tiffany?s. I know it is a half-assed jeweler for the masses but at least get it right. Best post in awhile though.

  37. 0 votes + -
    Baller VP Said:

    decent post – hearing immigrants bank are hiring dudes, otherwise there is always backpacking

  38. +2 votes + -
    Buy Side Brother Said:

    Who would of thought the environment would help a finance grad make money?thank goodness for CO2 scrubbers and environmental protectionism. Al Gore and the Environmental Defense Fund?I love you. Too bad the girls wearing juicy couture and gabana don?t give a shit about research and trading around carbon credits. Right now, the only thing that seems to be working in a recent trip to Shanghai. Have to be international to get laid now!!!

  39. +2 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Haha, love it? Guess I should actually stop reading this blog after getting my ass kicked out onto the street, but it?s just so funny. Gotta say it?s actually good to do something other than work and sleep during the week and the black bags under the eyes are almost gone too Don?t think I could have quit myself but I never thought i?d be so happy about getting my ass fired!

  40. -5 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Two decimal places? Someone needs to F 9 that piece. What is this, rookie hour?

  41. +6 votes + -
    Karl Funmanton Said:

    I?m looking out my lower Manhattan office past Chase Plaza and into Jersey City. I can see quite a few of you leaving the Goldman Sachs back-office walking to the PATH (that surely takes you deeper into New Jersey). Make sure you park your caddilac under the car park of your Edison aparment complex. Take the space between the community pool and laundry facility!

  42. -2 votes + -
    '08 Grad/Bulge Bracket IB Said:

    Speaking of ?impeccable attention to detail,? can you find the flaw in the following sentence? ?What does one do with a skillset primary consisting of an impeccable attention to detail and potent masochism??

  43. -2 votes + -
    Big Law Said:


  44. -6 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    My room mate would act gangsta and put me down for the past one year while I worked operations at a PE firm and he IB?d at a bulge bracket bank. Now, I have moved up to be a bad-ass mofo at this firm and he is laid off?.class reversal of tables!!

  45. +5 votes + -
    Dooche Said:

    LMAO Urdu isnt Middle Eastern its South Asian.

  46. +15 votes + -
    what Said:

    I?d rather be a layed off investment banker than currently employed operations guy.

  47. -15 votes + -
    douche Said:

    all you layed off fags must be loving life right now

  48. +1 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    leveraged sell-out?living the dream. Damn, it turns out to be the fucking darkest nightmare.

  49. +6 votes + -
    Patrick Bateman Said:

    @douche – I want to stab you to death, and then play around with your blood.

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