Ahh, it's bonus time on Wall Street. Time has certainly flown by for me. It occurred to me that it has been nearly three years since I shaped up for the "big year-end meeting". Usually I was sitting across the table from some guy I thought was a complete D-bag (one time it was a female D-bag). The D-bag would talk and as far as I was concerned he might as well have been Charlie Brown's teacher. Remember that from "Peanuts"?
Teacher: Blah blah blah...blah blah blah
Charlie Brown: "Yes mam."
Teacher: "Blah blah blah bla-bla!"
Charlie Brown: "Yes mam, school is no place for a dog. I'll bring him home now."
Until they got to the number. I would get the number and then I would become the D-bag. Not to the bossman's face....except one time. No, I would wait till I got outside and I would call the missus and start bitching about "how I got screwed...blah blah...." I didn't think I was a D-bag back then. I thought I was an undervalued, unappreciated "asset". Now that I look back at it, I know I was beyond a D-bag (last time with that word!) back then.
I usually got handed a check that was bigger than 5 or 10 of my Dad's yearly paychecks combined and it pissed me off that it wasn't enough. Afterall, all Dad did was educate kids. What did I do? Looking back on it now I don't have a freaking clue! I pushed pieces of paper around, thought about "big thoughts", explained why one piece of sh*t bond was better or worse than another..etc...etc. In the end I hated it, which may explain why I got my ass canned in late '07. It was probably written all over my forehead.
Actually, I liked trying to figure out things regarding bonds,interest rates, economics and all that other-mother jazz out (a little Francis Albert Sinatra there for ya!). I just got sick of the whole idea of what banks had become. All the "clever" boys and girls had taken over. Clever people figure out how to feed you chicken sh*t and make you think their feeding you chicken-cordon bleu. They don't actually add value. Rather they subtract value from others, put it in their pocket, and keep doing it until they can't anymore. And then they go on to something else. When I hear people say that Goldman Sachs is "the best" Wall Street firm....they are right. However, I'm not sure in the greater scheme of things if it's a compliment! In fact, I'm pretty sure it's a pretty big insult. At least in my mind it is. The bullsh*t that they run over in that joint boggles the mind. If you really pinned them down and made them explain how they make their money....how they REALLY make a good bulk of their money...it's a game of robbing Peter to pay Lloyd. Wash, rinse, repeat.
When I think back to where I worked in the end of my institutional Wall Street career, the memory gets colder and harsher every day I get away from it. As the great Mike Ness would say, "colder than a pimp's heart." Even better, I had a good friend on Wall Street who fought in a war. He said to me one day, "Eric, I've been to war and I've seen the best and worst in man. Here on Wall Street, I've only seen the bad."
Don't get me wrong, I love a lot of the people I became friends with in my old career. However, when I think back to to the last two shops I got recruited by (I did a little stint at a regional in '08 that doesn't count. I tried to go back and I just couldn't do it anymore....and yes, I used to actually get recruited to go places!) I remember they both made a point of telling me that, "The Ass-h*le Factor here is pretty low." Firstly, they were lying because there were PLENTY of assh*les. Secondly, any industry that uses the relative "Assh*le Factor" of a particular firm as a selling point is essentially telling you that there's an exceptionally large concentration of assh*les in that particular industry!
Anyway, I miss the bonuses I got for doing Lord knows what. I realize now it was like winning the lottery. As for the rest, well....not so much.