“The group at JPMorgan tasked with double checking the traders’ estimated profit and losses was so “under resourced” and “unequipped,” authorities said, that it consisted of a single employee.” New York Times
I’m Herman. Last name Melville though I try not to tell anybody. Dick jokes galore, as you can imagine. The name’s no accident either–I’m descended from the old line. My surname’s so venerable it makes Brown Brothers Harriman look nouveau riche. My great-great-great-great-grandfather was at the Boston Tea Party, is what I mean–and he was looking good. Say what you will about the new economy, Wall Street still loves an old name. It’s how I got my job, to be honest. That and I play a little squash. It certainly wasn’t my grades in accounting, and I’m no go-getter either, like my forebears. I’m really a bit more like my great-great-great uncle’s spot-on invention, Bartleby. All day in the office, preferring not to–that’s me. The thing is where would I begin? There’s so much. It never stops. You’d need a hundred Hewlett-Packards and an army of men. Yet it’s just me. Solo, alone, crunching numbers and potato chips in solitude. The whiteness! The irony of it all is sickening and heavy. I’m Herman Melville of JPMorgan Chase–and I was supposed to catch the whale!
These guys I’m watching couldn’t balance a checkbook. (You submit all your expenses for company reimbursement for a year or two, see if your skills don’t erode.) And you get tired of saying: WHAT? And then whenever I did find something–and it’s not as easy as you think, it’s tricky–management would just say hush, hush. There’s this one guy I work for that when I picture him all I can see is his index finger straight up in front of his lips. He’d put it there as soon as I’d walk into his office. Before I even said anything. “Let’s not rock the boat,” he’d say to me, and put his hand on my shoulder. “Don’t f#*ing tell me about boats,” I wanted to say, “I’m Herman Melville!” But the name isn’t so valuable after you get hired–I was just a cog. And you get so tired. I mean, they say this new billion dollars in fines “could damage” the reputation of Jaime Dimon. It could? (Imagine if he’d written Pierre!) Let me tell you my job was hard but I did catch ’em. Last year, second quarter, I made the bank say profits were overestimated by $460 million! Such an uncomfortable week at work. I said I wanted to hire an assistant, but they said no. Then they asked if I wanted, maybe, to work somewhere else. I prefer not to! Is what I said. I like it here. It’s hard and it’s lonely. And who wants to be a scold? But whale watching is all right as far as it goes. It helps to know you don’t have much of a chance.