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Life After You’ve Been a Master of the Universe

A troubled investment banker writes to Dear Lucy at the Financial Times to tell her about a disturbing experience recently at a dinner party. The investment banker was asked what he did for a living, and when he supplied the answer, everyone at the party turned on him. The reaction, he said, would be akin to his having announced he was a pedophile.

From the FT:

Suddenly the whole table –- all friends of my wife from the art world –- turned on me with such venom I was really taken aback. I tried to defend myself by saying that I had nothing to be ashamed of in the work that I do in M&A, but the more I argued the more hostile the other guests became.

Next time this happens – and I fear there will be a next time – should I accept guilt for what isn’t my fault, or should I lie and say I’m a librarian?

I don’t write an advice column, but since I’m butting in here I’d point out to this guy that if his biggest problem is responding to hostile dinner party guests, he’s far better off than someone, say, in the middle of losing a house to foreclosure. Of all the victims in this crisis, investment bankers with hurt feelings rank pretty far down the list.

But I don’t think I need to bother. In this credit crunch, the system seems, in some cases, to punish the deserving. Here’s the scenario a Dear Lucy reader offered to the investment banker, to solve his dilemma:

As for next time, don’t worry, because when you are asked what you do you will probably have to respond “I am unemployed.”

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