First, though, a story.
One of the common refrains you hear from the critics of Wall Street is that financial services employees don't build anything or make anything. To them, it means you don't do anything for society. We know that's not true but because one can't reach out and touch your product, they like to say you earn a living by moving money around without ever creating anything real. The same can be said for my line of work. What do I do? I put words out there but it's not like you can hold them in your hands or see someone walking down the street carrying them. And on some days, you start to wonder if the haters are right. You start to reevaluate. You question things. You wonder if you should quit and become a bricklayer or a shepherd.
Then a moment comes along, like one did today. Wherein you read a story about an employee of a noted analyst dressing up as the alter ego you conceived for her a couple years back on a lark and then proceeded to fill out, giving her all kinds of storylines and accoutrements like a spreader and truss bar and testicle clamps, which you suggested she used on the heads of various banks and it all becomes clear-- you can see it before your very eyes-- your undeniable impact on the world.
Ms. Whitney who came as Paris Hilton, and the other members of her staff vie for the best-dressed honors (and a prize to be determined later), while crunching numbers on their computer screens and assessing the latest figures for gross domestic product. The rules are as almost as stringent as Regulation FD. “There is a lot of self-imposed pressure,” said Ms. Whitney, clad in a purple sequin frock and oversize sunglasses with a stuffed version of Ms. Hilton’s Chihuahua, Tinkerbell, in tow. “All costumes must be homemade. No Ricky’s.”
Ms. Whitney said she and her team took work seriously, but stressed the need to have fun – especially in light of a steady stream of grim research reports. She settled on the idea for a costume competition last year, after one of her assistants asked whether he would have to work the Friday after Thanksgiving.Not if everyone in the office came in costume on the Friday before Halloween, she replied. On the best-dressed list last year were look-alikes of Jamie Dimon and J.B.L, the professional wrestler who happens to be Ms. Whitney’s spouse. Someone even came as the “Dollar Dominatrix” – the nickname that the Dealbreaker blog gave her after several punishing market calls.
At Meredith Whitney's Office, Trick Or Treat [Dealbook]
Illustration by an awesome reader with an obvious fall-back career should he leave Wall Street.