Serevent In Us

Why I left Wall Street

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                              Joe Guzzardi Many years ago, serevent in us 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, serevent in us people ask me what happened. I was an officer, serevent in us earned an excellent salary, serevent in us had a generous expense account and a corner office with a panoramic view of the Hudson River. Looking back, serevent in us I count five reasons. First, serevent in us I had grown increasingly uncomfortable with most of my peers. The simple fact — true then and still true today — is that the bankers, serevent in us 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, serevent in us it was money. Serevent in us No one works on the Street for its aesthetics. Second, serevent in us I had reached a period in my career where, serevent in us after a series of promotions, serevent in us I was swimming with the sharks. Doing deals and bringing in revenue to the firm had been enough at the beginning. But eventually, serevent in us my early successes led to becoming a department head with a large staff reporting to me. By then I was a visible target. Serevent in us 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, serevent in us survival became key. That meant being willing to out-maneuver the hard chargers around me. Serevent in us 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, serevent in us and closely linked to reason two, serevent in us I was increasingly disappointed in myself. Serevent in us I silently rooted for my superiors to fail. Serevent in us Their downfall could accrue to my benefit. Wishing bad things to happen to others is an ugly way to live. Fourth, serevent in us I had over the years already avoided several corporate reorganizations and purges. Serevent in us No one dodges them all. Fifth, serevent in us my father, serevent in us a businessman all his life, serevent in us died. During many searching bedside conversations we had throughout his prolonged illness, serevent in us 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, serevent in us 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, serevent in us however, serevent in us I would make the same decision today. This week's events — the Bank of America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch, serevent in us Lehman Brothers' Chapter 11 proceedings, serevent in us and the last-minute federal rescue of AIG — re-confirms my judgment. The unthinkable happened. Serevent in us Merrill Lynch, serevent in us my former employer, serevent in us Wall Street's giant and the dominant securities firm for a century, serevent in us is gone. What precipitated Merrill's demise was moral bankruptcy. In 2007, serevent in us while America tried to cope with growing financial uncertainty, serevent in us the big boys had no worries. While your savings vanished, serevent in us your home equity plunged and the value of your investments dwindled, serevent in us Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain earned over $80 million. Thain worked at Merrill for less than three weeks. His short time aside, serevent in us Thain was, serevent in us according to the Associated Press, serevent in us America's most highly paid executive. On Dec. Serevent in us 3, serevent in us 2007, serevent in us Thain brought in his close friend , serevent in usNelson 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, serevent in us Thain added his former Goldman Sachs associate Thomas Montag to the Merrill Lynch roster for $40 million. If you really want to feel outrage, serevent in us think about this: Just prior to the Bank of America acquisition, serevent in us over the last four quarters Merrill Lynch wrote down $52 billion in assets, serevent in us 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, serevent in us former chief executive officer Stanley O'Neal, serevent in us to resign last October. Before being shown the door, serevent in us O'Neal received a $160 million exit package. Today, serevent in us O'Neal is sitting on his fortune playing golf, serevent in us no doubt at one of the finest resorts in the world. Given today's real estate values, serevent in us O'Neal could use his golden parachute to gobble up his native Alabama. In the meantime, serevent in us who knows? Maybe one of the 24, serevent in us000 employees dismissed under O'Neal's watch would be willing to serve as his caddy. Joe Guzzardi recently retired from the Lincoln Technical Academy. Serevent in us He has much fonder memories of his career at the school than he has of his Wall Street days.