20 October 2008

Fox-hole friends

picture by over.expozed
The bear seems quiet, but cubicle wisdom says : it's not gone. It may be even be an armoured bear, built to last.

It's not a good time to work in a bank, people keep their heads down and think of other careers.

Back in the summer the FSA raised cheers in back offices  City-wide when it warned banks not to cut back on control staff, but August is a long time ago: why there were still investment banks around back in August.  Now in October with perfect irony just as our new joiners all arrive, snatched in the hiring frenzy that was the collapse of Lehman's, employee consultation starts for another reduction in force, and it doesn't feel unduly pessimistic to believe the rumours that a further round follows close behind.

At the bank where I worked in 2002 each successive wave were rumoured to receive a worse deal. I don't know if the people on the first list of 2008 will feel angry or relieved. Either way I suppose they will go to dinner parties and reflect that they are greedy irresponsible risk takers and deserve it (were there so many people actually welcoming the propsect of a recession last time around? But then, were so many people with Government jobs and up-yours final-salary pensions last time around? Still, at least they are not greedy.)

It's a time for networking. Alumni groups flourish and old colleagues pop up on LinkedIn with freshly minted profiles.  I have three friends, which is 145 fewer than my daughter has on Facebook. "That many??", I said, "Wow... On the other hand - you've been doing this for ages". "Yes", she said, "nearly a week".

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