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Why I left Wall Street

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                              Joe Guzzardi Many years ago, discount antiox dogs 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, discount antiox dogs people ask me what happened. I was an officer, discount antiox dogs earned an excellent salary, discount antiox dogs had a generous expense account and a corner office with a panoramic view of the Hudson River. Looking back, discount antiox dogs I count five reasons. First, discount antiox dogs I had grown increasingly uncomfortable with most of my peers. The simple fact — true then and still true today — is that the bankers, discount antiox dogs 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, discount antiox dogs it was money. Discount antiox dogs No one works on the Street for its aesthetics. Second, discount antiox dogs I had reached a period in my career where, discount antiox dogs after a series of promotions, discount antiox dogs I was swimming with the sharks. Doing deals and bringing in revenue to the firm had been enough at the beginning. But eventually, discount antiox dogs my early successes led to becoming a department head with a large staff reporting to me. By then I was a visible target. Discount antiox dogs 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, discount antiox dogs survival became key. That meant being willing to out-maneuver the hard chargers around me. Discount antiox dogs 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, discount antiox dogs and closely linked to reason two, discount antiox dogs I was increasingly disappointed in myself. Discount antiox dogs I silently rooted for my superiors to fail. Discount antiox dogs Their downfall could accrue to my benefit. Wishing bad things to happen to others is an ugly way to live. Fourth, discount antiox dogs I had over the years already avoided several corporate reorganizations and purges. Discount antiox dogs No one dodges them all. Fifth, discount antiox dogs my father, discount antiox dogs a businessman all his life, discount antiox dogs died. During many searching bedside conversations we had throughout his prolonged illness, discount antiox dogs 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, discount antiox dogs 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, discount antiox dogs however, discount antiox dogs I would make the same decision today. This week's events — the Bank of America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch, discount antiox dogs Lehman Brothers' Chapter 11 proceedings, discount antiox dogs and the last-minute federal rescue of AIG — re-confirms my judgment. The unthinkable happened. Discount antiox dogs Merrill Lynch, discount antiox dogs my former employer, discount antiox dogs Wall Street's giant and the dominant securities firm for a century, discount antiox dogs is gone. What precipitated Merrill's demise was moral bankruptcy. In 2007, discount antiox dogs while America tried to cope with growing financial uncertainty, discount antiox dogs the big boys had no worries. While your savings vanished, discount antiox dogs your home equity plunged and the value of your investments dwindled, discount antiox dogs Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain earned over $80 million. Thain worked at Merrill for less than three weeks. His short time aside, discount antiox dogs Thain was, discount antiox dogs according to the Associated Press, discount antiox dogs America's most highly paid executive. On Dec. Discount antiox dogs 3, discount antiox dogs 2007, discount antiox dogs Thain brought in his close friend , discount antiox dogsNelson 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, discount antiox dogs Thain added his former Goldman Sachs associate Thomas Montag to the Merrill Lynch roster for $40 million. If you really want to feel outrage, discount antiox dogs think about this: Just prior to the Bank of America acquisition, discount antiox dogs over the last four quarters Merrill Lynch wrote down $52 billion in assets, discount antiox dogs 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, discount antiox dogs former chief executive officer Stanley O'Neal, discount antiox dogs to resign last October. Before being shown the door, discount antiox dogs O'Neal received a $160 million exit package. Today, discount antiox dogs O'Neal is sitting on his fortune playing golf, discount antiox dogs no doubt at one of the finest resorts in the world. Given today's real estate values, discount antiox dogs O'Neal could use his golden parachute to gobble up his native Alabama. In the meantime, discount antiox dogs who knows? Maybe one of the 24, discount antiox dogs000 employees dismissed under O'Neal's watch would be willing to serve as his caddy. Joe Guzzardi recently retired from the Lincoln Technical Academy. Discount antiox dogs He has much fonder memories of his career at the school than he has of his Wall Street days.