As it winds its way up the East Coast, Hurricane Sandy is wreaking havoc on Wall Street. U.S. stock and bond markets are closed today and tomorrow, with a possible open on Wednesday, and big banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup with offices in Zone A have instructed their employees to work from home until the storm clears.
For many bankers accustomed to eighteen-hour days at the office, staying productive while working from home can be a challenge. But even though markets are closed, this is no time for rest. The health of our capital markets depends on Wall Street staying high and dry, buckling down, and keeping the capitalist machine churning.
In the spirit of helping homebound Wall Streeters weather the storm, we present our five-step guide to making the most of your weather-induced homestay:
1. Maintain connectivity at all costs.
You might think that, with power outages expected in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, the rules about being constantly available by e-mail don’t apply. You’re wrong. In these crucial days, your MDs and partners will expect superhuman efforts to keep that little red light on your BlackBerry blinking, up to and including re-wiring your car battery, making homemade electricity generators out of potatoes, and siphoning power from the generator at the local homeless shelter.
2. Simulate a familiar environment.
It’s hard to feel like a rainmaker in your sweatpants, surrounded by half-finished bags of Hot Cheetos while the TV plays Arrested Development reruns. Therefore, to avoid losing any edge on the competition, you’ll want to make your apartment resemble your office environment as closely as possible.
Traders: Cut out Bloomberg-terminal-size pieces of cardboard, then tape them to the sides of your laptop. Sprinkle dirty gym socks around your floor for scent mimicry, then use a digital voice recorder to tape yourself screaming bits of trader lingo, like “GET ME EIGHTY AT TWENTY!” Play at full volume directly into your ear until the storm passes.
Bankers: Sit around all day, fiddling with paperclips and playing Temple Run. Then, at midnight, ask a neighbor to drop an error-ridden pitchbook on your coffee table, and say, “Think you can turn this around by tomorrow morning?”
3. Conduct business as usual.
Traders: You probably won't have to work until the markets open. In the meantime, come up with a killer hurricane-arb trading strategy to present to your boss on Wednesday. Think about going long battery companies and granola-bar conglomerates, and getting short climate change denial.
Bankers: You'll still have to work, but your bosses may be too busy dealing with tree damage at the East Quogue house to remember to load you down. Feel free to apply your investment-banking skills to all parts of your daily routine. Are there unexploited synergies in your breakfast omelette? What would a DCF model of your cat look like, assuming steady interest rates and fair market value for all feline components?
4. Don't forget the essentials.
Junior analysts and associates: Remember to keep yourselves clean, dry, and well-fed. Seamless may not deliver, but word on the Street is that there is a little-known bespoke nourishment strategy called "cooking" that involves combining store-bought ingredients into edible meals. Give it a try!
MDs/partners and above: Stay bundled in cashmere blankets and await the arrival of your hired help. In an emergency, enter underground caviar-lined bunker. Do not, under any circumstances run into a rising wave while yelling, "Do you have any idea who I am? You'll be hearing from my general counsel!" Waves cannot be sued, and you will drown.
5. Don’t get too relaxed.
Contrary to popular belief, a work-from-home day is not a day off. Bonus season is fast approaching, and it behooves you to work just as hard during Sandy as you do under clear skies. At certain firms, MDs may even take an eyelid survey tomorrow, noting any that look refreshed and un-baggy for possible demotion and/or dismissal. You’ve kept your foot on the gas pedal for years, Wall Street. Don’t mess it up now.