I was lucky enough to directly hear one of the best comments I’ve heard or read about the credit crunch. It involved someone I'd recruited to a job well below his abilities (in my defence he gave an atrocious interview) and some other bloke who was a refugee from a much sexier part of the bank who had previously taken part in some of the big deals that made my employer the institution it is today. Anyhoo, the guy I recruited was moaning about how things were post August 2007 to which the former dealmaker replied “Aye, but you didn’t complain before when you were getting your annual bonuses did you?”
Touche you might think. Check mate even. Except as the guy I’d recruited quietly explained he’d have happily foregone the extra £500 his dealmaking superior’s antics had generated if it’d meant he’d still have a job next year, what with his bonus just scraping into 4 figures as opposed to the high 5 possibly 6 figure bonuses dealmakers were paid.
To me, that perceptive appraisal has much wider applications. The way the good times actually worked out for the most part meant most people only ever got crumbs off the table – a new arts centre here, an income tax call centre and associated shit pay job there i.e. a wee bitty extra, but not too much. By contrast, the people that caused the credit crunch profited from it big time and for the most part still are.
Except, now what with the January 2011 VAT hike, pay freezes and April 2011 onwards government spending hack backs and so on we’re moving into a reality when as many of the crumbs as possible get taken away. In fact I’d guess millions of people will be handing back more than they ever received.
On a lighter note the guy I recruited recently jacked it all in to travel the world to the envy of everyone who knows him. The dipshit he had the discussion with on the other hand is still there, still clearing a fat pay check.