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From Ordering Steak and Lobster, to Serving It...

posted 6/3/2009 12:10:52 PM |
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Somehow, I really don't feel much pain for this guy and his other colleges! Sorry for the length of this article but, I didn't write it! What the article doesn't say is, he's quite capable of trading oil futures contracts at home on his PC- just needs an account, fund it and off he goes, making money! So, no dice pal! I will say this: maybe now, some will learn in real life, the damage they cause to others, with, IMO, over 'speculating' like they do, on a daily basis!

lost his job in 2007 as a crude oil trader on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Therein... lies part of the problem(s) regarding the fluctuations in oil prices and not the oil/gas companies, per say! Which by the way, causes most all other commodity prices to fluctuate accordingly! Any thoughts on this?

Story below:

by Mary Pilon
Monday, June 1, 2009

Carlos Araya used to order lobster, filet mignon and $200 bottles of red wine at the Palm Restaurant in midtown Manhattan.

Now, he seats customers at its Tribeca branch.

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Mr. Araya, 38 years old, lost his job in 2007 as a crude oil trader on the New York Mercantile Exchange. After visiting dozens of headhunters with no luck, he applied in August 2008 to be a host at the Palm to support his wife, two young daughters and mortgage payments. His salary has plunged from $200,000 to $25,000.

If the financial crisis was the flood, then the Arayas are one of the families standing in the stagnant waters left behind. Some former Wall Street employees, highly trained and accustomed to comfortable salaries, are having trouble translating their specialized skills to other fields that pay well, and instead find themselves forced to accept low-wage work. Now, Mr. Araya is on the brink of losing it all and is doubtful that he will ever return to Wall Street.

And he isn't alone. Nearly 25,000 jobs have been lost in New York City's financial sector since August 2007, according to the New York State Department of Labor. The finance industry in New York is expected to lose 56,800 jobs from the end of 2007 to the beginning of 2012, according to projections from the Independent Budget Office, a publicly funded information agency.

John Carbonaro was let go as a floor clerk by Bank of America in January 2009, and despite his job-hunting efforts, remains a "Mr. Mom." Joe Morrone, a laid-off trading clerk from Prudential, has been unemployed for two years and struggles to support his daughters and grandson. He has had stints as a deli worker, a doorman and a bouncer. "I used to have three cars," Mr. Morrone says. "Now I share one."

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The result is an unlikely stream of erstwhile Wall Street pros need help.

"I've got 'em all -- Lehman, AIG, Citi," says Bob Townley, head of Manhattan Youth in Tribeca, an organization that gave the Arayas financial assistance to pay for childcare while they are working. "I can hear it in a parent's voice when there's trouble. Others are too proud to ask for help."

Many of these parents once made donations to Mr. Townley's program. Now they are asking for aid to pay for their kids. Mr. Araya's daughters, ages 6 and 7, are in an after-school program at Mr. Townley's center.

Nowadays, during Mr. Araya's late nights at the Palm, reminders of his old life crop up when former colleagues come in. Some are encouraging and offer hugs. Others sneer, he says. "The way they look at you, you know they're thinking negatively," he says. Some are laid-off like him, and ask if the restaurant is hiring.

As a host, Mr. Araya wears a suit and tie. He's on his feet most of the day, either escorting guests to tables or manning the podium at the front, answering phone calls, managing reservations on the computer and fielding orders from wait staff and managers.

Although he's thankful for the work at the Palm, paydays can be bittersweet. "At the end of the week, I get my paycheck," he says, "and I think, 'I used to make this much in a day.' "

Matthew Craig/MJR for The Wall Street Journal
In Carlos Araya's new job as a host at New York City's Palm Restaurant, he sometimes seats colleagues from his former life on Wall Street.

Mr. Araya's wife, Dennise, has gone back to work as an administrative assistant for a construction company and leaves home at 6 a.m. Mr. Araya often works until one or two in the morning and on weekends, leaving little time for the family to be together. He calls his daughters every night during his break at the restaurant on his cellphone to say good night.

Mr. Araya now is the one who gets his children ready for school. He's learned to tie pony tails, inadvertently shrunk sweaters in the wash and knows which grocery store has the best price on milk.

The Arayas stopped dining out, pulled their daughters out of ballet and tumbling classes, and dropped cable television -- even though the flat screen he bought when they first moved in still sits in the living room.

Last month, for the first time, the Arayas didn't make a mortgage payment. Their savings are almost depleted. The mortgage, taxes and fees for the family's condo cost $6,200. Combined, he and Denise bring in $4,000 a month. Three months ago, he and his wife applied to restructure their mortgage. The bank told them it is still processing the request. They fear foreclosure and bankruptcy.

Recently, their oldest daughter asked Mr. Araya if the family would have to move. He told her he didn't know. She countered: "How much money do we need?"

"The way she looked at me," Mr. Araya says, "I could tell she was counting the money in her piggy bank." He went into the bathroom and cried. After a few minutes, he dried his eyes and walked back into the living room.

Mr. Araya, the son of a cab driver, grew up in a working-class neighborhood in nearby Queens. Like thousands of New Yorkers, he used a Wall Street job to vault into a comfortable lifestyle that included his apartment -- bought for $960,000 four years ago -- in Manhattan's Battery Park City neighborhood and family vacations to Cabo San Lucas, Disneyland and Las Vegas.

The Arayas purchased the condo in 2005 with a 20% down payment and a pre-construction price. The proximity of the two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment to the trading pit allowed Mr. Araya to spend more time with his family and less time commuting. Ms. Araya diligently managed the family budget with Excel charts to ensure that they had no credit card debt, good credit histories even an emergency fund saved over five years that is now depleted. Mr. Araya says he would be lucky to find a buyer and break even on the apartment now.

Mr. Araya dropped

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Jun 3 @ 12:54PM  
Investing in commodity futures is nothing new, crops come to mind. But the practice had become more expansive and speculative with margin options than it once was. Buying on speculation often on margin (not needing to invest the full amount) in futures markets has been a major problem for more than a few decades. The SEC and other regulatory agencies, here and abroad, have been making moves to put a leash on it to varying extents as it is disruptive to the worldwide economy.

Jun 3 @ 1:46PM  
I read that an hour ago and actually wrote to the author of the article.... pretty much what I'm writing below.

I have no sympathy for him. He lived the grasshopper life and just figured tomorrow would take care of itself. Unfortunately, many Americans live the same way. When times are good, they spend every paycheck as soon as they get it. After all, Nike says........ Just DO it.

When the economy hits a down turn, as it does every decade or so, the "newbies" get caught with their pants down. They find out they have twice as much house as they need, luxury cars they don't need either, and they find they really don't need a $5 cup of gourmet coffee every day on the way to work. If they are still working.

As for blaming speculators...... I still blame people buying things they cannot afford, with money they don't have.

Jun 3 @ 2:07PM  
As for blaming speculators...... I still blame people buying things they cannot afford, with money they don't have.

Agreed but they are part of the problem too, along with CEOs of banks, major businesses, mortgage companies, real estate, government- the list goes on and on ad nauseam! It's all about greed, with no self-sustaining principles, anymore!



Jun 3 @ 7:53PM  
I have sympathy for anyone whose livelihood is gone. I don't care who it is.. whether it be a CEO or a Peon. Why? because everyone hopes to keep on being able to support their families in the style to which they hope to be able to keep them.

Let's say dude worked for a local restaurant business as a manager and the restaurant went bust... then what would you be saying about him? Simply having ire for him for the job he did is not the deal. And looky.. that man went out and took what amounts to him as a shit job in order to feed his kids.

I'm sorry y'all.. I'm again slamming the man for doing what needs doing.

Jun 3 @ 7:59PM  
I agree up to certain people that were/are involved in ruining other people's lives- like the Madoffs for instance and the CEOs, pit traders in commodities and people in the government etc., that knew better but didn't care what the consequences to others would be!


Jun 3 @ 8:04PM  
Erm.. yeah, certified crooks do not apply to this equation.

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From Ordering Steak and Lobster, to Serving It...