At Bloomberg today you will find a piece that is a bit hard to stomach if you’re the type of person whose heart goes out to the suffering. A bunch of financial services employees’ bonuses were slashed last year and, as a result, their lives have been turned upside down. Perhaps recalling how well their colleagues came off in Bloomberg’s first piece in what is apparently a series on bankers who are down, out, and willing to talk on the record, these people thought it wise to turn to reporter Max Abelson to tell their tale.
First, there’s Andrew Schiff, director of marketing for Euro Pacific Capital. Schiff has almost too many woes to mention but they include having to scale back his Connecticut summer house rental from four months to one; facing the pressure of paying private school tuition for two kids; living in a “crammed” 1,200-square- foot Brooklyn duplex (Schiff and his wife were planning to buy a $1.5 million brownstone nearby but now, who knows); and traffic (“Schiff was sitting in a traffic jam in California this month after giving a speech at an investment conference about gold. He turned off the satellite radio, got out of the car and screamed a profanity. ‘I’m not Zen at all, and when I’m freaking out about the situation, where I’m stuck like a rat in a trap on a highway with no way to get out, it’s very hard,’ he said”).
Then there’s Cobble Hill resident Daniel Arbeeny, a headhunter whose “income has gone down tremendously” and now must buy discounted salmon at Fairway and “read supermarket circulars to find good prices for his favorite cereal, Wheat Chex,” which is one step from giving out hand jobs under the Brooklyn bridge to make ends meet. Hedge fund manager Richard Scheiner had to sell two motorcycles (though because he actually saved some money, Zelda the labradoodle and Duke the bichon frise still get to live the lifestyle they’ve grown accustomed to at $17,000/year). Michael Sonnenfeldt’s friends are suffering from “malaise and a paralysis that does not allow [them] to believe that generally things are going to get better.” M. Todd Henderson feels sick (“Yes, terminal diseases are worse than getting the flu,” he said. “But you suffer when you get the flu”).
All traumatic experiences to be sure. And yet none come close to that of Hans Kullberg, whose harrowing story should serve as a cautionary tale to all.
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