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Why I left Wall Street

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                              Joe Guzzardi Many years ago, buy cheap cholestoplex I walked out of Merrill Lynch corporate headquarters at 1 Liberty Plaza and left Wall Street entirely. I moved as far away as I could and still remain in the lower 48 — Seattle. To this day, buy cheap cholestoplex people ask me what happened. I was an officer, buy cheap cholestoplex earned an excellent salary, buy cheap cholestoplex had a generous expense account and a corner office with a panoramic view of the Hudson River. Looking back, buy cheap cholestoplex I count five reasons. First, buy cheap cholestoplex I had grown increasingly uncomfortable with most of my peers. The simple fact — true then and still true today — is that the bankers, buy cheap cholestoplex lawyers and traders who gravitate to Wall Street work for money. Colleagues who were asked to list the most important thing in their lives would reply that it was their family or their faith. But really, buy cheap cholestoplex it was money. Buy cheap cholestoplex No one works on the Street for its aesthetics. Second, buy cheap cholestoplex I had reached a period in my career where, buy cheap cholestoplex after a series of promotions, buy cheap cholestoplex I was swimming with the sharks. Doing deals and bringing in revenue to the firm had been enough at the beginning. But eventually, buy cheap cholestoplex my early successes led to becoming a department head with a large staff reporting to me. By then I was a visible target. Buy cheap cholestoplex Insecure executives above me were nervous that I might outshine them. And my overly eager underlings wanted my job. Like everyone else who approaches the top rungs of the corporate latter, buy cheap cholestoplex survival became key. That meant being willing to out-maneuver the hard chargers around me. Buy cheap cholestoplex I had two options: scheme to put the skids to my superiors or let myself be undercut by my subordinates. Neither option held any appeal. Third, buy cheap cholestoplex and closely linked to reason two, buy cheap cholestoplex I was increasingly disappointed in myself. Buy cheap cholestoplex I silently rooted for my superiors to fail. Buy cheap cholestoplex Their downfall could accrue to my benefit. Wishing bad things to happen to others is an ugly way to live. Fourth, buy cheap cholestoplex I had over the years already avoided several corporate reorganizations and purges. Buy cheap cholestoplex No one dodges them all. Fifth, buy cheap cholestoplex my father, buy cheap cholestoplex a businessman all his life, buy cheap cholestoplex died. During many searching bedside conversations we had throughout his prolonged illness, buy cheap cholestoplex he encouraged me to step away and live a more fulfilling life. I can't say that I never regretted my decision. The last time I checked, buy cheap cholestoplex the job I once held paid a seven-figure salary — and not just barely seven figures either! Another wonderful feature of the high life that I look back on wistfully was the freedom to order World Series tickets and have the bill sent to accounting. Despite the perks, buy cheap cholestoplex however, buy cheap cholestoplex I would make the same decision today. This week's events — the Bank of America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch, buy cheap cholestoplex Lehman Brothers' Chapter 11 proceedings, buy cheap cholestoplex and the last-minute federal rescue of AIG — re-confirms my judgment. The unthinkable happened. Buy cheap cholestoplex Merrill Lynch, buy cheap cholestoplex my former employer, buy cheap cholestoplex Wall Street's giant and the dominant securities firm for a century, buy cheap cholestoplex is gone. What precipitated Merrill's demise was moral bankruptcy. In 2007, buy cheap cholestoplex while America tried to cope with growing financial uncertainty, buy cheap cholestoplex the big boys had no worries. While your savings vanished, buy cheap cholestoplex your home equity plunged and the value of your investments dwindled, buy cheap cholestoplex Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain earned over $80 million. Thain worked at Merrill for less than three weeks. His short time aside, buy cheap cholestoplex Thain was, buy cheap cholestoplex according to the Associated Press, buy cheap cholestoplex America's most highly paid executive. On Dec. Buy cheap cholestoplex 3, buy cheap cholestoplex 2007, buy cheap cholestoplex Thain brought in his close friend , buy cheap cholestoplexNelson Chai and appointed him executive vice president and chief financial officer. Chai's 2007 salary: $2.5 million for less than a month on the job. In August 2008, buy cheap cholestoplex Thain added his former Goldman Sachs associate Thomas Montag to the Merrill Lynch roster for $40 million. If you really want to feel outrage, buy cheap cholestoplex think about this: Just prior to the Bank of America acquisition, buy cheap cholestoplex over the last four quarters Merrill Lynch wrote down $52 billion in assets, buy cheap cholestoplex posted cumulative losses of more than $17 billion and had to raise nearly $30 billion in capital to stay afloat. The Merrill Lynch board forced the man responsible, buy cheap cholestoplex former chief executive officer Stanley O'Neal, buy cheap cholestoplex to resign last October. Before being shown the door, buy cheap cholestoplex O'Neal received a $160 million exit package. Today, buy cheap cholestoplex O'Neal is sitting on his fortune playing golf, buy cheap cholestoplex no doubt at one of the finest resorts in the world. Given today's real estate values, buy cheap cholestoplex O'Neal could use his golden parachute to gobble up his native Alabama. In the meantime, buy cheap cholestoplex who knows? Maybe one of the 24, buy cheap cholestoplex000 employees dismissed under O'Neal's watch would be willing to serve as his caddy. Joe Guzzardi recently retired from the Lincoln Technical Academy. Buy cheap cholestoplex He has much fonder memories of his career at the school than he has of his Wall Street days.