The Break Up

The hardest part about breaking up with someone you care about is the finality of it. You always hope it will end well. It rarely does. There’s no denying it, breaking up is hard to do.

You want it to be simple & quaint. To say your peace. For it to be noble. For healthy reasons & crystal clear to everyone about why you’re doing it. Clients. Colleagues. Management.

We’re all adults here, aren’t we?

In a perfect world, you get that one thing (or five) off your chest. And everyone goes their way.

Of course, it doesn’t work like that. Especially on Wall Street.

I loved my firm. I truly did. I loved the idea of it. The nobility of wealth. The access. The knowledge. The carrots? 24k.

But then you learn, appearances aren’t always reality. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

I wanted to spend the rest of my career there. I wanted to see past all of the waste & misguided efforts, the reactionary policies based on short term initiatives. I was willing to believe the next CEO would be better. Or worse, but the ship was in good hands.

The IT department really did mean 6 months for that obvious (and simple) upgrade. Ok, but it is the 4th time you’ve told me that.

“…It’s like changing a tire on a moving car”, I understand.

And then “someday” is never. It’s never going to change. It’s 10 years later.

That’s how it happens, one day you’re picking up their underwear. The next day, it’s FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE…

And then you decide, you don’t want to look past it anymore. The toothpaste has been left uncapped one too many times. The tchotchkes aren’t enough anymore.

It’s weird waking up that next day. It’s decided. You’re moving on.

It’s actually not hard to move clients. It used to involve photocopies. Boxes. Now? A flash drive. You’re done. No fuss no muss.

No, the hardest part of breaking up is the people. It’s the relationships. With clients. With your colleagues. Your mentors. Your friends. And in case you’re wondering… two week notices aren’t typically offered (or accepted) on Wall Street.

The poor clients. If your broker is moving from one major firm to the other. It’s for a check. That’s it. They are all the same. Mediocre at best. You’ll just have to Trust Me.

Even still, it’s weird knowing you’re going to break up with someone. Isn’t it? I mean, they have no idea.

“Mommy and Daddy love you, we just need to try something different…”

“It’s not your fault…”

And when relationships are complicated like they are on Wall Street, it can take weeks — months sometimes — to untangle yourself.

First, your broker moves one or two of their personal things out of the office. Slowly. The rest will be shipped in boxes. It’s like a bad tell at the poker table, your broker will take something out. Like they want you to know — you’re about to be dumped.

“Oh, this globe?… My kid…”

Which is then followed by weeks of paranoia– even among the coolest Alphas.

“Hey, can I see you in my office?” (OMG they know….)

Add copious amounts of gusto and new routines, like golf shirts on days not starting with ‘F’ and missed sales meetings complete with the good egg sandwiches; for deliberately scheduled client meetings. They’re working out at the gym now.

It’s right there for most to see, but that’s why most don’t. Especially the Branch Manager.

You’ve been the ‘breaker’ before, haven’t you?

Everything looks different after you’ve decided. That first elevator ride. The walk to your office. The way things used to seem so comfortable, with their dysfunctionally predictable patterns. The same roles being played out. The memos. Taco Tuesday. Top producers in front, assistants in the back for scraps. Those annoyances? Really, really annoying now.

That’s when you realize. There’s no way around it. This isn’t going to be quaint.

Then Friday comes & everyone knows. It all adds up. You’ve been planning this.


Read More:



Wall Street’s Put

Toxic Relationships

Dance of the Tchotchkes

Your StockBroker: The Alpha

Brokerus Maximus: The Branch Manager

Wall Street 2.0: Trust Me.

3 thoughts on “The Break Up

  1. love this post, i am feeling every move. it’s time! So many choices in the indie world and I can’t trust my gut? Ughh. The waiting is the hardest part. What to do?

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