My friend Miss Fipi Lele tells me that the photo below was taken Friday — it’s a shot of the London office of Lehman Brothers in Canary Wharf. Note the gathering in the window on the upper right and the body language of everyone except the guy on the left in the khaki pants:
In my experience of working at small-to-medium-sized software companies, there are two reasons for the sort of impromptu all-hands gathering like the one pictured above, where everyone is called into the biggest room in the place and stands while one of the C-level people makes an announcement:
- The company has done well and has either acquired another company or been acquired by another company, or
- “Game over, man.”
Lehman filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy today, so the meeting is probably of the latter type. This article says that they’re in debt to the tune of 613 billion dollars to various banks in Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York, Singapore and Taipei.
Some quick thoughts:
- Looking at khaki guy’s clothes — and the fact that he’s in khakis while everyone else is in “regulation charcoal business pants” — and body language, I think he’s got a backup plan.
- It’s probably a good thing those windows don’t open.
- I’m wondering what kind of impact that the implosion of yet another major financial house is going to have on me in both the short and long term.
- I’m reminded of the Simpsons episode in which Homer becomes the coach of the school football team: “You’re cut, you’re cut, you’re cut, you’re cut…”
- Maybe the truly dangerous “LHC” isn’t the Large Hadron Collider, but the Lehman Holdings Collapse.
- One wag who saw the photo posed an interesting rhetorical question: “What happens when you put frat boys in charge of one of the world’s largest banks?” Having worked for at least one irresponsible frat boy, I think the question’s got some merit.
For more on the Lehman layoffs, see this entry.