Thursday, May 22, 2008

Still Standing... barely.

Ah, it feels good to be back - I think. Professionally, the past 10 months have been a roller-coaster ride of epic proportions, and even now, when I am all puked out, it still goes on. In the last year Wall Street and the US economy have gone through a slide that is historic in scale. When I joined The Bank last year, business was at record highs. We were on our way to having a banner year and in the grip of some serious hubris - we could do no wrong! People were lining up to buy just about any product that the Street would sell.

And then, the bottom fell out. A combination of banks and financial institutions making loans to people who didn't even come close to qualifying for them; selling loans that were little more than lipstick on pigs and selling securities that promised to turn base metal to gold has led the Street to the brink of the greatest financial disaster since the Great Depression.

About a year later, nearly 20,000 people have lost their jobs on Wall Street alone, with no signs of the bleeding stopping anytime soon; the venerable Bear Stearns has ceased to exist, foundering from it's perch on the Fortune 500 in less than a week; and fear and paranoia stalks those of us still standing. Going to work every morning not knowing if one will have a job at the end of the day makes for a whole new definition of stress.

A few years from now, if not already, histories will be written about the 'Great Credit Crunch of 2007' and learned scholars will try to explain what happened, why and who did what to whom. It will all be very well researched and footnoted and annotated and will become part of business school syllabi. But, as Rose Bukater says of surviving the shipwreck at the beginning of Titanic, "the [actual] experience of it [is] somewhat less clinical."

An experience I would never want to relive.


Hrishi said...

Hang in there mate.
Same storm, different ship.


Kautilya said...

Thanks bud, appreciate the encouragement.