Common Sense

Life Goes On

A guy named John got laid off today.

I won't give you his last name. Suffice it to say, John was a big muckety-muck -- as big a muckety muck as you can find in the brokerage business. But now he's out of the brokerage business. Fired by his brokerage business.

John got no warning. No advance word. No telltale signs that he was toast.

It is an odd twist for a guy who once seemed to rule the world who is now added to the growing unemployed ranks of the world.

There was a time when John was king. He made millions following hot stocks. He was quoted everywhere. He showed up everywhere: The best parties; the toniest events; box seats; inside seats and top seats. John got them, because John wowed them.

He was the money man who could do no wrong, until the market turned sour and his bosses obviously turned dour.

We talked briefly today.

"I don't know, Neil," John told me. "They didn't even do it in person. They left it on voicemail. After all I did."

Then, as if pondering what he just said, he added, "I thought I was the last person to go. What do I tell my wife? What do I tell my kids?"

Namely, John, that life goes on, even though your job does not.

Status and power, wealth and box seats -- they're all nice, but they're all fleeting.

John lost the fun stuff. What I tried to convey, maybe poorly, thinking about his great kids and great wife, was that he still has the good stuff.

End of job. Not end of life.

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