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Abigail Hofman: "Meltdown survivor and proud of it"

Have we learnt anything from the unsettling events of the past nine months? I have learnt that bankers have short memories and exceptionally short recall regarding painful reminiscences. Maybe it’s part of the human condition. It certainly seems to be part of a banker’s DNA.

In the past month I have met a number of senior bankers to discuss their businesses. You can forget about green shoots, their attitude can be characterized as burgeoning verdant forests. Bankers have always suffered from the curse of group-think and this has not changed.

In June, I wrote about under-employed senior financiers: those who were victims of the industry’s savage job cuts. A chief executive penned me a short note: "Abigail," he shuddered, "I hope never to be one of the under-employed whom you mention."

I discern a trend here. Those who resigned or were sacked during the crisis months may never find their way back to the mainstream and probably find life in the slow lane frustrating. However, those who surfed the wave of disaster adroitly and remain at their desks are reinvigorated. They might as well wear a badge stating: "Meltdown survivor and proud of it." I sense a hint of arrogance among the senior survivors. "So few of us made it through to the other side," one chief confided.

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