Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lehman, Denial, and The Box

Can it all really fit into a box?

Go ahead, imagine putting your professional life in a box.

Over the past several days thousands of faithful workers in New York, London, and other cities around the world have stood in their offices, and tried to understand what in the world is going on in their lives. I know some of them.

And they have had to pack up their box.

In my work, I have stood on the sidelines of this situation for years. I watched as Lehman Brothers bundled up commercial real estate loans into packages and sold them on The Street. Lots of people in my world thought that this was sophisticated and sexy. As a person who works in due diligence, I never felt comfortable with the situation, and avoided it completely in my own investments. And now, it has all come home to roost.

If you just had one box, standing in your cubicle and pondering your future, what would you pack? The plastic cube commemorating a Big Transaction? The stuffed penguin from that Big Meeting in Vegas?

In the end, what DO you have to pack, if you are in the situation of these folks? One would hope that there might be things that you could not pack in a box. After all, we are all going to leave this planet in a box. Or an urn.

Friendships. Shared lives. Wedding, births, birthdays, casual lunches where the conversation turned to more meaningful things. I think that is the best kind of work, the kind that matters.

I hope my life might reflect things that can't get packed into a box.
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