Times Tough for I-Bankers, in 'Marie Antoinette' Kind of Way

Tough times prompt some soul searching, but titans confident they'll regain Wall St. primacy
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Oct 20, 2008 3:26 PM CDT
%u201CNo one is getting paid this year,%u201D a mid-level Goldman Sachs banker tells New York's Vanessa Grigoriadis, who points out that he does indeed get a base salary. %u201C$150,000 is irrelevant,%u201D...   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – With Wall Street in free fall, many of its elite I-bankers are seeing the status quo turned upside-down, Vanessa Grigoriadis writes in New York. Once at the top of the heap, working for companies that praised them as smartest people out there, some are fighting to survive on the Street, while others have reversed course, taking jobs with—gasp!—the government.

Still, those hurt by the crisis aren’t exactly struggling for their lives. “The personal cutbacks by the wealthy, at least up until now, are so comical,” says one. “This is Marie Antoinette.” Meanwhile, some Wall Streeters are weighing a more drastic change. “I could go to cooking school in Thailand. Or I could become an artist. I want to do something real,” says a trader.