01 May 2010

Retraining and Rehabilitation of Financial Sector Employees May Be a Daunting Task

Prospero: Mark but the badges of these men, my lords,
Then say if they be true...
These three have robb'd me, and this demi-devil—
For he's a bastard one, had plotted with them
To take my life. Two of these fellows you
Must know and own; this thing of darkness I
Acknowledge mine.

Caliban: I shall be pinch'd to death.

The Tempest Act 5, scene 1

"Even knaves may be made good for something."

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

According to the email below there is some concern among employees in the financial services sector about their future employment prospects if reform legislation should be enacted, and some tentative, but perhaps unrealistic plans, of coping with it if it happens are expressed.

I can always use a little help around the kitchen and the yard, cleaning up and minor repairs, and I would gladly pay a fair wage based on effort, moderated by experience and capability. My son and helper is leaving for university soon to begin his studies in engineering, which is the manipulation of real things for practical purposes with benefit to the customer. So it might be unfamiliar to you. And I am not getting any younger.

By the way, since most of the suburban teaching jobs are filled, have you considered going back to school to learn to be a Registered Nurse? There will be plenty of openings in nursing homes and hospices, and your selfless dedication to hard and sometimes distasteful work will be most useful and appreciated.

I suspect there will be a lot of cheap labor available from dislocated FIRE sector workers in the years to come, as well as from those serving out community service judgements. At least the highways will be cleaned of litter. Perhaps exposure to the common people and honest labor will do them some good.

I am a little concerned that this type of person probably has little or no practical skills, but they do claim to bring high energy and a willing spirit, so it could be put to work on the cleaning up of America and Europe, and the rebuilding of their infrastructure. They make themselves sound like teachers, firefighters, policemen, or even soldiers, but there are dimensions of duty and honor and self-sacrifice and service to others in those callings far beyond any monetary recompense of which they probably have little experience or even a vaguely realistic expectation.

His or her description of what it is like to teach elementary school is good for a laugh. Someone is in for a rude awakening.

All things considered, we can surmise that there is no excess of common sense in their portfolio, or an ability to listen well and learn about things which they think they know, but really do not understand at all. That speaks to the main question which is, 'are they educable' or will they be prone to recidivism?

I find it hard to believe, however, that this letter is anything but a hoax. But considering the imputed source of these sentiments is the "derivative of a human being," it could be genuine. I am a bit undecided, but will allow for it.

So grab a pair of gloves, my boy, and I will be glad to teach you how to prune a tree and clear some brush. But although you might be willing to do it more cheaply, don't expect to displace the little girls of their job of walking the dog to earn money to purchase new dollies. They can be more ruthless and determined than the most hardened union boss. And the nine year old tells me she is still the strongest person in her class, but boasts of it less of late, owing to a nascent attraction to a classmate known only as 'Will.' But you might be able to help them with the clean up.

And if you should happen to play any card or board games with them, I warn you beforehand, they cheat, obviously, clumsily and shamelessly, to win, with a somewhat cavalier regard for the written rules. Ah, but I forget, that has long been your raison d'etre, your hallmark, and a particular area of specialization and expertise.

Time, life and a benevolent and orderly society tend to teach children to be better, to be human, essere umano. But apparently it does not always at first succeed, and must try, try again.

The Reformed Broker
An Email Purported to be Making the Rounds of Wall Street

"We are Wall Street. It's our job to make money. Whether it's a commodity, stock, bond, or some hypothetical piece of fake paper, it doesn't matter. We would trade baseball cards if it were profitable. I didn't hear America complaining when the market was roaring to 14,000 and everyone's 401k doubled every 3 years. Just like gambling, its not a problem until you lose. I've never heard of anyone going to Gamblers Anonymous because they won too much in Vegas.

Well now the market crapped out, & even though it has come back somewhat, the government and the average Joes are still looking for a scapegoat. God knows there has to be one for everything. Well, here we are.

Go ahead and continue to take us down, but you're only going to hurt yourselves. What's going to happen when we can't find jobs on the Street anymore? Guess what: We're going to take yours. We get up at 5am & work till 10pm or later. We're used to not getting up to pee when we have a position. We don't take an hour or more for a lunch break. We don't demand a union. We don't retire at 50 with a pension. We eat what we kill, and when the only thing left to eat is on your dinner plates, we'll eat that.

For years teachers and other unionized labor have had us fooled. We were too busy working to notice. Do you really think that we are incapable of teaching 3rd graders and doing landscaping? We're going to take your cushy jobs with tenure and 4 months off a year and whine just like you that we are so-o-o-o underpaid for building the youth of America. Say goodbye to your overtime and double time and a half. I'll be hitting grounders to the high school baseball team for $5k extra a summer, thank you very much. (Note: How many moons are there on this guy's planet?)

So now that we're going to be making $85k a year without upside, Joe Mainstreet is going to have his revenge, right? Wrong! Guess what: we're going to stop buying the new 80k car, we aren't going to leave the 35 percent tip at our business dinners anymore. No more free rides on our backs. We're going to landscape our own back yards, wash our cars with a garden hose in our driveways. Our money was your money. You spent it. When our money dries up, so does yours.

The difference is, you lived off of it, we rejoiced in it. The Obama administration and the Democratic National Committee might get their way and knock us off the top of the pyramid, but it's really going to hurt like hell for them when our fat a**es land directly on the middle class of America and knock them to the bottom. (I would pay to watch that. There are a lot of former customers named 'Bubba' who would like to make your acquaintance.)

We aren't dinosaurs. We are smarter and more vicious than that, and we are going to survive. The question is, now that Obama & his administration are making Joe Mainstreet our food supply…will he? and will they?"