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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Wall Street Arithmetic

From Philip Greenspun:
I attended a seminar this evening presented by one of our largest banks (name not mentioned to protect some friendships). A middle manager introduced Eugene White, an economist from Rutgers. “I earned nothing last year,” said the hard-working bank employee. “Zero for 2008. No bonus. No options. No stock.”

Over dessert and coffee I asked one of the guy’s subordinates if the boss wouldn’t also have gotten some sort of base salary. “Sure,” he replied, “but maybe as low as $500,000 per year.” How did that round to zero? “Well, he might have made $12 million the year before.”

And you thought Peano arithmetic was challenging….