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No bonuses for bankers in Paris, London and Milan

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Nabeelah Shabbir


The impact of the American property bubble has affected the professional lives of generations of bankers. Without bonuses or even a job, life is about getting accustomed to the rhythm of the global market

Lola, 29, London: ‘I’ll find a better job when the crisis is over’

(Image: Word Freak/ Flickr)She might have been made redundant for economic reasons recently, but Lola has faith in the future. She was ultra-motivated as a student and ready for whatever sacrifices it would take to join a big city bank, in the financial heart of Europe. After a few years garnering worthwhile experiences, she managed to get into a well-known bank based on the Canary Wharf. She can put the problem in perspective now, and looks forward to getting an equally interesting job within a few months, after the tornado is over. In the meanwhile she’s spending more time with her partner.

Mr X, 60, Paris: ‘It will never be like before’

Mr X started working in the markets at the age of fifteen, during the sixties, when they still used to scream to get their voices heards on the trading floors. He slowly climbed his way up, from carrying bags full of golden pieces to founding his own brokerage house in the eighties. The financial markets and the EU countries in general were going through an incredible period of growth. During these crazy years, Mr. X often frequented Parisian hotspots, bumping into all the prominent characters of the time. His address book and fortune grew in equal size.

(Image: ~BostonBill~/ Flickr)Mr. X has known his fair share of arguments, crashes, riots and deaths. He has known adrenaline rushes, the big time, the bubbles and the men who effectively were the stock exchange. A real living memory of the markets, a reservoir of passionate anecdotes, he doesn’t recall the markets without an element of regret. He would have liked to have gone out on a positive note, but the current climate won’t allow that. Many of the banks which he previously witnessed prosper have fallen like houses of cards or been knocked momentarily off-kilter. What’s left for the others, he questions.

Mr. S, 39, Milan: ‘We’re done for’

(Image: sean's jawns/ Flickr)

Mr. S started his career in the nineties, in an atmosphere perfectly captured in Oliver Stone’s 1987 hit film Wall Street. Trained ‘on the spot’ in the markets themselves, he lost his job after a crash from the emerging countries in 1998, and has learned to make the most of his address book. Since that time, he multiplied his experiences whilst managing to live a comfortable life. He has learnt not to stay in one place for too long, to avoid suffering from the unpredictable twists and turns of the financial markets.

Mr. T, 26, Paris: ‘You’ve got to roll with the blows’

(Image: jungle/ arctic/ Flickr)

Employed in August 2007, Mr. T feels lucky to have got his job at that time, since the real troubles kicked in that same month. On the one hand, he is aware of the difficulties and tells himself frustratedly that he has to wait before he gets the dreamed bonuses he has so been looking forward to. Even worse, he won’t ever know the same stock exchange eras as his predecessors. With the current rocky climate, he is aware he may soon be leaving his job. But as a true lover of the economy and the financial markets, he crosses his finger for better days.

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Translated from Fragments de vie sur les marchés financiers