With the fear of an unprecedented default looming over the collective head of Wall Street, and layoffs moving into the 10,000-range, perhaps it’s time for young Wall Streeters to ‘get while the gettin’ is good.’
And if you’re one of those young financial automatons thinking about escaping The Street, here are a few stories to nudge you closer to the door.
Many of the people who once sat where you sit right now, are sitting elsewhere and enjoying it immensely, many of them sipping wine or tequila while eating caviar or lobster, so how bad can their lives really be?
Old job: Dan Leahy - Analyst, Brown Brothers Harriman (Mergers & Acquisitions)
Ben McKean - Analyst, Merrill Lynch
New job: Co-founders savoured
Their new business allows members to make reservations at upscale restaurants for $10 while offering them a discount for their meal. Leahy told Business Insider:
'There are some sleepless nights about competition for sure. I think the way we're differentiating ourselves is partnering with the restaurants.'
Old job: Equities trader at Goldman Sachs
New job: Co-founder of Poncho No. 8, a gourmet Mexican food spot in London.
Yeung's new venture reportedly made a tidy sum almost immediately after opening its doors.
'To raise the money they saved hard then drew the rest from family and friends as investors, presenting a robust business plan and drawing up formal shareholder agreements beforehand. 'We didn't want to take on any debt. Firms that are overleveraged tend to fare very badly,' Yeung says.
Old job: Summer internship at CRT Capital Group
New job: Making bears with his mother for their new toy company Zylie the Bear
At first McCarty was concerned at being in the toy business but realised:
'I started focusing on how to use the web and all the tools available on it to build this brand... looking at it that way, it doesn't feel weird, because it's just like any other startup'
Old job: Fund portfolio manager and senior equity analyst of health care, RIM Securities.
New job: Author
Dealbreaker first pointed out that she lost her job during the financial crisis and took to writing a book about interracial dating, instead of trudging back to wall street. On her website she writes:
'Most famous authors seem to have a reputation as drunken recluses estranged from their f-cked up family. Some tragic, deeply disturbed figures. I am not a recluse, although, sometimes living among the millions in NYC, I think I might like to be. I have over-imbibed on occasion, but definitely not a drunk.'
Old job: Hedge fund manager, $6 billion Horseman Capital
New job: Making wine at his European vineyard
He told the Telegraph:
'I know nothing about wine. I've just drunk a lot of it. But I have an opportunity to do something totally different with my life and I'm grasping it.'
Old job: IPO research firm
New job: Musician, with solo album Remember Me
Having worked at Bear Stearns before it went under and eventually moving to another bank, Roxanne Emery would unwind with music. After performing at a local bar she was picked out by an indie label and offered a contract. This is how she told it to the Hounslow Chronicle:
'I really wanted my boss to hear me sing to help make my decision, but he wouldn't come and watch me. I think he didn't want to think about me leaving.
So I marched into his office at 6am with my guitar and told him to listen.
He said I should go for it - so I did.'
Old job: Analyst, Cohen & Steers Capital Advisors
New job: Co-owner of Luke's Lobster
Holden started his career at UBS before moving to the investment firm, Businessweek reported. After work began to slow during the recession he started thinking about the lousy lobster rolls he'd been eating. He now works longer hours than he did on wall street.
Old job: Staffer at the Federal Reserve Bank
New job: Running The Little Pearl, a company that sells fresh, preservative-free caviar to Whole Foods markets, local hotels, upscale restaurants, and through mail order. He's also working on new methods of harvesting caviar.
'Personally, I'd like to do this my whole life,' he told the Boston Globe.
Old job: Futures and forex broker (she also posed for Playboy's Women of Wall Street edition)
New job: Founder of Gafnn.com
Ok so Anderson didn't quit, she was fired for posing in Playboy, and chances are she couldn't go back to Wall Street. In her new avatar though, she didn't wander too far from wall street but she merits a nod for starting the Georgia Anderson Financial News Network, a networking site for traders.
Old job: Hedge fund manager at Pequot Capital
New job: Running Tanteo, a Tequila manufacturer that makes three flavours of tequila: 'Jalapeño' (the most popular), 'Chocolate,' and 'Tropical.'
Rojewski told us his story: 'Wall Street was never a destination for me… it was always a means to an end.
'Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I always wanted to build my own company and to create a memorable, lasting brand.
'I had been spending a lot of time in Mexico (Guadalajara and Tequila specifically) and was really intrigued by tequila and tequila culture, specifically the fact that the agave has this mythical history, that tequila has an appellation of origin like Scotch and Champagne, and most importantly that it was so widely misunderstood in the states.'
Talk about passion!