Sunday, June 29, 2008

Joshua Persky

There has been a lot of Internet chatter about Joshua Persky, the out-of-work Manhattan-based investment banking consultant who took to the streets with an "Experienced MIT Graduate for Hire" sandwich board this week. I commented at "Life After the Oil Crash Forum":

Even if this is a 100% fake stunt, as opposed to a routine bit of attention-grabbing, I still take it as an emblematic momernt. It could be true, so let's discuss it as if it is true.

Clearly, the notion of a New York-based investment banking consultant falling on hard times generates some predictable Schadenfreude here on the board. But whether or not he "deserves" his fate, it's an interesting fate to ponder. No one has five kids and (presumably) a stay-at-home wife in these times, let alone in New York City of all places, without having a high degree of economic confidence (as well as a total disregard for carbon footprints, but whatever). Anyone exposed to city life knows the type -- a guy (usually it's a guy) who thinks he's got it all figured out, and maybe seems pretty smug as a result. But what happens when that economic confidence gets taken away?

We know that can happen. With the increase in structural rather than performance-based layoffs, at the executive level as elsewhere (CEOs actually have horrible job security), it's been happening for a generation now. But a lot of folks will never internalize that reality until it happens to them.

The next few years could be rough on anyone who has small children, ex-bankers along with everyone else. People living high often have no more of a cushion than you or me -- sometimes less of one. As the slow crash accelerates, I think we're in for a panic across the sociological board.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

You can follow Joshua Persky's story on his blog: