Monday, May 12, 2008

So what happened?

Lots of things really.

Before I go on, I want to extend my gratitude to Donald Douglas at American Power, Gayle at the Dragon Lady's Den, Mark at Publius Endures, and Patrick at Driving Out the Snakes for their kind words of encouragement. It meant a lot. Thank you.

Things have turned out just fine, as I thought they would; however, I did not expect things to turn around as quickly as they did. Some background:

I work in the commercial real estate business on the capital markets side. I spent the last three years at one of the major Wall Street banks working in the capacity of advising on major institutional real estate transactions (I was more of a junior level person at that firm). I had a front row seat to the sorts of major transactions that were getting executed whether in the capacity of single asset sales ($1 billion plus transactions in New York City at very high per square foot prices), major securitizations of commercial real estate mortgages, bank loans, residential mortgages, etc. etc. and some of the largest mergers and acquisitions transactions that have ever taken place, driven largely in part by Wall Street's ability to finance these transactions which was driven in part by the demand for securitized paper. I learned more in those three years than I did in my first nine, by several multiples.

I also watched the whole thing hit the skids (I am hesitant to declare that the whole operation has fallen apart because there will always be markets for securitized fixed income products in my opinion (even with those markets in the shape they are in now, investors in that sector are looking to buy existing paper and take advantage of perceived dislocations in those markets). I was caught up in the layoffs. I had friends who got laid off and I have friends who are constantly worrying about whether or not they are going to be next. A significantly slower deal flow adds to the anxiety.

I really feel lucky. I was laid off on March 31. I was going to be alright for a while, as I received a rather generous severance package, but as luck would have it, on April 3, I received a job offer with another commercial real estate company. In hindsight, the second I walked out of the interview the Thursday before, the second I knew that I would receive an offer from the company, only I wasn't sure whether it would be a good one. I did accept the offer but because of my severance agreement, I was precluded from starting another job until May 1st. Basically, within 3 days of being laid off, I had accepted a job and got to take a month off of work. I can't complain about that, although it got old being off of work for so long.

I hope no one takes this as anecdotal evidence that things are good. I just happened to find a situation that matched my skillset to a "T" with a company that has a mandate to grow, selectively increase headcount and ride out this market downturn. The fact that I have a real estate-based skillset as opposed to a loan underwriting skillset allowed me to stand out against others whom I was competing with in a job market that is, at least in my end of the business, incredibly soft. While I am not going to paint a gloom-and-doom picture for anyone, there are a lot of things that concern me right now.

I've spent the last month more or less off the reservation. I haven't had time to blog. My days have been very busy and, as an avid gamer and flight simmer, I tend to spend my evenings in the skies engaging in combat in WWII-era fighter planes (and eagerly awaiting the release of the next generation combat flight sim that will recreate the Battle of Britain). I'll try to emerge from my slumber and increase my presence a bit, but for now, all is well and thanks again for the concern.

About that other thing, there's that old saying "if at first you don't succeed..."



KipEsquire said...

Glad to hear things are okay-ish. =)

Patrick said...

Congrats on the new job. It's good to know everything worked out for you.

Americaneocon said...

That's great you're getting back in the swing of things!

GrEaT sAtAn'S gIrLfRiEnD said...

Sounds like a tough gig - but you are one tough cat - you can handle it. Congrats on the rebound.

Henry said...

Back in action, eh?

Good to hear it!

Mark said...

Great to hear you're re-emerging and doing better.
During my blogging hiatus (which had surprisingly similar causes), I pretty much did exactly as you did, except my crutch was Civ IV rather than flight sims. Still, it's always good to get back on your feet and re-join the outside world.

Mark said...

Given your career change, along with similar events going on in my life and the lives of one or two other libertarian bloggers, I have a proposition for you, involving the possibility of a group blog. Unfortunately, I can't find an e-mail addy for you. Send me an e-mail at and I can fill you in on the details (there really aren't that many I suppose).