Industry News

Wall Street cycles: confetti to crash

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In 1988, I went to work on Wall Street. It was a job that I was thrilled to have, because even though I graduated with highest honors from a top school (Harvard), Wall Street was not terribly friendly to women and it had taken me a year to get hired. This was despite an amazing Wall Street boom during which the banks were throwing around money like confetti. I remember particularly my interview with Merrill Lynch, where I was met at the airport by a stretch limousine (my first ever) and taken to Princeton for a long series of meetings about a job that I hadn't directly applied for -- I couldn't even quite figure out how I'd gotten in the running for it. After my hire I quickly realized that we were at the end of the party. There had been a terrible stock drop -- a "crash" -- in 1987, and everyone was fearful that it would happen again. Banks started cutting costs in all sorts of annoying little ways -- the dinner allowance was only $14 dollars, not quite enough ...