Life on Wall Street is Hard

From today’s New York Times:

Being partner at Goldman is the pinnacle of Wall Street; if you make it, you are considered set for life,” said Michael Driscoll, a visiting professor at Adelphi University and a senior managing director at Bear Stearns before that firm collapsed in 2008. “To have it taken away would just be devastating to an individual. There is just no other word for it.”

The financial blow can be substantial as well. Executives stripped of partnership would retain their base salary, roughly $200,000, but their bonuses could be diminished, potentially costing them millions of dollars in a good year.

Life on Wall Street is really hard, especially with the occasional humiliation of not getting a multi-million dollar bonus or a demotion for not doing your job well.

Of course, in contrast, here’s what a hard life of work looks like for a whole lot more Americans than the 60-odd Goldman Sachs tycoons who are de-partnered every year. It comes from today’s New York Times as well and appears under the painfully obvious headline of “Retiring Later Is Hard Road for Laborers“:

At the Cooper Tire plant in Findlay, Ohio, Jack Hartley, who is 58, works a 12-hour shift assembling tires: pulling piles of rubber and lining over a drum, cutting the material with a hot knife, lifting the half-finished tire, which weighs 10 to 20 pounds, and throwing it onto a rack.

Mr. Hartley performs these steps nearly 30 times an hour, or 300 times in a shift. “The pain started about the time I was 50,” he said. “Dessert with lunch is ibuprofen. Your knees start going bad, your lower back, your elbows, your shoulders.”

He said he does not think he can last until age 66, when he will be eligible for full Social Security retirement benefits. At 62 or 65, he said, “that’s it.”

I’m sure Mr. Hartley feels deeply the pain of Goldman Sachs partners who lose their million dollar bonus and are quietly asked to move out of their office overlooking the Hudson River.

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