One of the three main pieces of the fallen Lehman empire that Barclay’s has swooped in and salvaged at a bargain-basement price is their headquarters on 7th Avenue in Manhattan – literally 3 blocks from me. Do you know how many of my clients and neighbors work there?? You should see all the real estate agents swarming this place, showing the bundle of apartments that went up for sale two weeks ago. But more important for my bottom line are the many traders who have found their way to my massage table over the years.
One of them came in last week, and I remarked that I was surprised to see him, thought he was out of a job, yet there he was in his nice charcoal suit. I expressed disgust at the news coverage that day, with its live feed of people leaving the building with their little boxes of personal effects. He informed me that they were all back at their desks within 48 hours, but the media didn’t find it interesting enough to mention it as anything more than a footnote to the week. Barclay’s saved 10,000 jobs, most of them right here in NYC.
While only ~5% of my income can be attributed to Lehman employees, half of my clientele works in finance/trading/investment banking. When Bear Sterns collapsed in February, they all avoided unnecessary spending on things like massages until they had a better idea how the dust would settle. It was the first month in my 5 years as a self-employed massage therapist that I finished in the red. So I girded my financial loins and prepared myself for the worst September ever. I stopped researching the exotic trip I wanted to take over Thanksgiving (the cheapest week of the year to travel internationally, in my experience)…
And then it didn’t happen. The media is going nuts over all this stuff, but the people on the inside of this industry are taking it in stride. So here’s hoping that they also able to take today’s 777-point drop in the Dow in stride as well. Guess I should still hold off buying that ticket to New Delhi. Or Kathmandu. Or Damascus. Or Cairo….remember, I stopped mid-research for this trip and only got as far as a shortlist.