It's not that I have no words, I just haven't felt like saying them out loud.
A few of you know what I do for a living. I never talk about it here for ethical and compliance reasons. I'm a part of the operations team for a 1st tier international brokerage/bank.
That means it's been brutal.
My firm will survive.
I still have a job.
My division is profitable.
But yes we have lost billions of dollars, and we have had to shed costs, and that means that even in my division we fired 500 people two weeks before Christmas. Four were from my department and I knew them all. Our manager didn't want to do it. He was told from on high that he had to do it. We were already understaffed and this just made it harder. He had to make the selection, and carry it out of course. He's an honest ethical man and none of these was an obvious loser. One was a senior supervisor with more then twenty years of service. They all got a generous package.
But they all need new jobs in an area and industry that's already laid off over 60,000.
..... and every one of us that remains has had the same thought. If it had been five or six instead of four, would I still be here?
Not all of those Wall Street bonuses that you hear about go to the higher echelon. In my firm they go all the way down to the lowest clerk and even the mail room runner. We've come to rely on them to pay Christmas bills or or for winter heating. Or at least we did. We don't have the numbers yet, but we've been told that the lowest levels will still see something. Probably it will be less then half of last year. Above a certain level, maybe 60 or 70 a year, there will be a cutoff with no bonuses. It's also annual review time. Normally raises have averaged between 2 and 2 1/2% per year. Not generous, but something. This year almost certainly there will be none at all.
Frankly, it's all a bit bleak. At least the price of gas has come down, although who knows for how long. It actually does need to go back up to maybe $2.25/gallon. That's somewhere around the break even point for finding new oil after we consume the stuff we found ten years ago.
A couple friend of ours belongs to a country club. There was a black tie dinner dance tonight and we attended by invitation. It was a near perfect event. Good food, a sophisticated crowd, an eight piece band that thought ahead and used a good mixed play-list. It was a great party and I'd do it again without hesitation. We left at about a quarter to one. The band was still playing and I realized the song.
It was Donna Summer's, "I will survive....."
Somehow, that seemed rather appropriate.
I was driving, so I had stayed sober.
I think I managed to not be too somber.
Sometimes, that's not easy.
I'm also somewhere in the middle of a head cold.
Have a good and healthy new year.
....and may it indeed be a better one.