On Wall Street, when you leave the business you find out who your real friends are. We’ve all heard it before. And it’s true. Whether you’re taking a break, between jobs or off to rehab, your relationships divide into three basic assemblies.
First, you have the Dead-to-me group; they immediately delete your phone number, stop returning emails and cross the street every time they see you coming. I get it. Things change when your words don’t have a 5 cent commission attached to them.
Then there’s the On the Fencing Team. They’re not sure if you’re going to return to the street or not. It’s in their best interest to keep you close. Think of it like this — you’re on their to-do list. They check in once every couple of weeks to see how you’re doing, which is code for: “Do you have any interviews lined up?” If you do, they will adjust accordingly.
Finally there’s your Real Friends, they could care less if you work in the business or not. But when you boil it down, this is probably only 10 per cent of your current working relationships. It’s friendship as usual. They still only laugh at your funny jokes, want to hang outside of work and keep your darkest secrets.
It makes sense. Most relationships on the street are born out of convenience and morph into being mutually beneficial. So what else would you expect to happen when they’re no longer convenient and beneficial? I’ve left the business twice, both times for drug and alcohol rehab. So, I have some experience in this department. The first time was for four months which wasn’t long enough to differentiate the Fencing Team from the Real Friends. The second time I left it was for good. And it took about a year to figure out who’s who and in some respects myself. And this is the thing; inevitably you’ll be disappointed by some and surprised by others. It’s almost impossible to predict.
But… On Wall Street, when you leave the business and write a book about it you find out who your real enemies are. During pre-publication the Dead-to-me group of people tracks down your phone number or email.
“Hey, man, I haven’t seen you in a while; we should get a drink sometime.” I guess they didn’t realise that I’ve been sober since I left the street the last time. Nobody wants to see their name in print unless it’s in a story about them saving a cat from a tree.
I’ve been told I’m a titanic loser and should kill myself, and that I’m a lifesaver for giving a reader the courage to face their own addiction. I’d like to think I fall somewhere in between. The hate comes in waves, but you get immune to it fairly quickly.
While others have commended me for capturing a certain time period on Wall Street to a tee. And I’ve made several lists of what Wall Street is reading. The good has by far outweighed the bad. If I had to pick one word to describe Wall Street’s reaction to The Buy Side, good and bad, it’d be: intense.
Here are some interesting things I’ve heard since publishing the book:
“You’re no Michael Lewis.” – I could have told you that before you read it.
“Even his eyebrows are smug.” — Thanks?
“I can’t afford the book, lost too much money.” – Well, you do know that I’m solely responsible for creating mortgage-backed securities in my secret lab.
“A guy got a divorce because his wife read your book. She accused him of cheating after she read it and he admitted to it.” – So he got divorced directly because of my book and indirectly for cheating?
“You’re stereotyping Wall Street and giving it a bad name.” – Did you think it had a good reputation before my book?
I tried my hardest to write an honest book and I didn’t want any exaggerations. And I’m proud of that. What I’ve learned is I prefer someone disliking me for the truth than liking me for what I only show them.
So in honour of the paperback being available on June 17th, you should read The Buy Side if…… you don’t like standing in lines.