I work with clients in the banking and investment industry and see both the good and the bad. It isn't a "necessary evil"; it just is. People have dreams of having big money, enough to retire when the time comes, or maybe younger if the right set of circumstances smile upon them. Coming from a museum background into this arena was truly enlightening.
I deal with client issues. When something goes amiss, it is my job to fix it, or at least point them in the right direction. It is equal parts frustration and reward. Nothing makes me feel as good as turning a client around and helping to save a relationship.
This hasn't always been the case. In my previous incarnation, I worked help desk, which frequently meant dealing with traders. This was my first exposure to this environment, and in all of my years of work, I never ran into a nastier lot.
Not all of them are like this, but all too many are.
They are predatory; if you get between them and what they do, they will run you down. For them, the necessary steps to handle the problem aren't enough, and anyone beneath them is unworthy. I was told once that the reason I had the job I had was because I wasn't smart enough to make the big bucks, then called a "condescending fuck" when I tried to answer the question while holding back the anger. This was over a recorded line. That was back when the market began its convulsions, though I confirmed that the same person brought one of our supervisors to tears once long before.
We just tried to stay out of their way, even if we couldn't.
That people like him were successful could be surmised by the arrogance; I guess there is something to this whole sociopath thing.
When I went to client operations, things were much different. I was fortunate enough to find that many of my supervisors were sympathetic to the clients, even the ones who could be frequently impossible. That attitude, though, does not exist throughout the entire company. I think that's where the problem arises; clients are judged by value, their "worth", though of course our advertising says otherwise. Clients are frequently passed along, too often to their surprise, and frequently to mine. I've been a client, and am aware that it sucks to be treated like that. Yet it happens anyway, and I always keep that in mind; I won't transfer a client unless I really have to.
Call it co-dependency in the work place, with people I will never meet.
Once you navigate beyond the group that I work in, things really deteriorate. You start moving up in pay grades, and people devolve into numbers. It's that way in every company. It is worse now in this industry, since its ascendancy over the past few decades. The people I work with closest really do try, but their superiors thwart them. There are some ridiculous measures in place, some that will make you scratch your head, all in the name of keeping overhead low and profits high, clients be damned.
Accounts have been bungled, clients ignored, money misplaced, money moved, money lost, money made. As an employee, I'm not allowed to have an opinion on the matter any longer. It's open season on hourly employees.
But that's the way it is, and I doubt it will change any time soon.
That trader (or traders) in Chicago, who wrote that letter for the OWS crowd, was well aware of one aspect of this industry akin to gambling; it's the House's rules, and the House never loses.
Anonymous works in the finance industry