Every once in awhile the wrong person ends up working at a Wall Street firm and lives to tell their story upon exiting.
Ben Younger, the auteur behind the 2000 film ‘Boiler Room’ had, in fact, trained at one – the film is more autobiographical than you might have thought. he was an outsider and it didn’t take him long to realize what was going on around him. My own experiences have been chronicled here and in my book – it had taken me too long to realize that I couldn’t be a “good broker” no matter how hard I tried because the entire business model is set up to reward conflicted action and avarice – he with the least scruples and fear of regulators wins.
This weekend we hear from former Lehman Brothers trader Nicholas Chirls. Nichols worked at the epicenter of credit bubble psychosis in the 2007-2008 period and was every bit as out of place as I was, mainly owing to his possession of a soul and priorities other than compensation…
From Thoughts from Brooklyn, NY:
In the latter months of my time at Lehman, a dark time for me, I found much solace in reading literature and novels that had nothing to do with my job. I read on the morning subway before sunrise and it calmed me. One day when I got to work, I left my book on my desk, The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. My boss saw it and asked “What the fuck is this?” I told him that it was a book I was reading. He replied, “Well get it the fuck out of here. We’re here to make markets and money. And nothing else.” And he was right. There was no place for that book there.
Please head over to read his story, it’s either shocking to you or confirmation of your worst assumptions.