In a move that's surely not going to receive much sympathy on Main Street but will likely send more than a little fear into the hearts and minds of young bankers on Wall Street, Barclays Capital yesterday canned numerous junior bankers, sending them into the lines of the unemployed without something very important -- their bonuses.
That's right, BarCap folks were reportedly fired days before they would've found out what their bonus numbers would be for their efforts in 2010.
Now, understandably, if you don't work in investment banking, you might be saying, 'Whatever, man. It was a bonus and a bonus isn't a salary but something you get if you go above and beyond, doing a superb job, and then only if your firm has a good year and isn't some bloodsucking financial institution making money only because governments bailed them out. And, anyway, isn't Barclays mostly made up of ex-Lehman Brothers bankers? That's what I thought. Big f-n deal.'
But, also understandably, if you work in investment banking, you know that not only did Barclays not receive a government bailout but also that, on Wall Street, a bonus is not really a bonus but historically (until the crisis of '07-'08) has been merely another part, albeit a large part, of your expected take-home pay for your handing over your life to a handful of men (and, in one or two cases, women) in blue and gray suits.
In other words, you know that those fired were screwed. And you're hoping that this is an anomaly, and not a precedent.