A Blow to Pinstripe Aspirations: Wall Street Layoffs

This piece in today’s NYT’s Dealbook has generated a flurry of comments. It’s about young people losing their jobs from investment banks and other financial firms. Read the entire piece here and then judge for yourself…

The money quote:

Sam Meek, 27, who was laid off in September when his Connecticut hedge fund decided to downsize, used to spend $500 on charity dinners and lavish golf outings. Now, it’s home-cooked meals and beer on the sofa. Recently, Mr. Meek and his roommate, another unemployed banker who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to jeopardize his job search, sat together in the kitchen filing for unemployment and drinking a bottle of Champagne.

“I’m scraping by right now,” he said.

Scraping by, huh? Needless to say, the majority of the 300+ comments have been pejorative; many have been deleted for abusive language and/or content.

And this was a good quote about the sentiment of elite/prestigious jobs:

The mood has darkened so much that even the young Wall Street workers who still have prestigious jobs are considering letting go of the brass ring.

“It’s lost its luster,” said a former Goldman analyst who left the financial sector this year. The former analyst, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he signed a confidentiality agreement with the firm, said that in addition to losing some of the monetary benefits of their jobs, his friends who remained in finance were suffering from peer envy. “The new status jobs aren’t at Goldman Sachs. They’re at Google, Apple, and Facebook.”

A brief collection of comments was posted in another post here. I will agree with the nuanced comment by Timothy C. from Queens:

“Let’s not be too harsh here. I work in the financial industry, and in my own company, about half the workers (myself included) are in the back office, where salaries are generally in the middle-class range. Cuts in the financial industry tend to hit support staff much harder than the headline-grabbing six-figure earners in the front office. Many of my friends who have been laid off were making $40 or $50K a year. Not bad, of course, but nowhere near the stereotype of the financial industry worker.”

What are your thoughts on these young unemployed? Do you have any sympathy for them?

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