Oh wow. We totally forgot about JumpStart NYC, the new, government-funded program Bloomberg started to retrain laid-off Wall Streeters in new careers. The New Yorker's Lizzie Widdicombe ventured inside the halfway-house-style facility where these reprogramming seminars are held, and although it was not the futuristic torture chamber of our imagination, it was grim. This is, clearly, a place where dreams have gone to die, or at least to take a little vacation, with the help of some mood-altering drugs, Jell-O cups, and sharing circles.
"I wanted to be a dentist," one guy tells the group.
“When I left U.B.S., I started trying to build a T-shirt business, but there was a lack of demand,” said another.
“When I was moving to New York, a lot of people told me, ‘Go get a modelling portfolio! You have the presence,’” one woman, who was laid off from the risk-management department of Citigroup earlier this year, said. ‘I wonder what would have happened if I had done it.’”
Maybe Citigroup would have taken on less risk, is one answer. But we don't mean to belittle these poor people's problems. They could reinvent themselves and be productive members of society! For instance, this guy:
"Having spent several years following the foot soldiers of Wall Street, head-to-toe, I find myself at the focal point of self-reflection. Where am I? What am I doing? ... These are questions tattooed into my psyche."
He could have a future as a lyricist for the reunited Creed.
Take Two [NYer]