In Her Words
My Husband Works for Lehman Brothers
Inside the financial catastrophe
-A Lehman Wife
Talk about the craziest weekend ever – and NOT in a good way! Why? In a nutshell, my husband works for Lehman Brothers.
So, last week the stock had officially plummeted – hit rock bottom you might say – dropping 95 percent from its 52-week high. And by Friday morning, it was a well-known fact the Lehman Brothers would not exist in its current form by the end of the weekend. By midnight EST Sunday night, Lehman would either be sold to the highest bidder (at the time thought to be Bank of America or Barclays) or file for bankruptcy. And that’s when the real craziness began … I got a call from my husband on Friday morning from the office and conversation went something like this:
Me: “How’s it going?”
Him: “Really bad. It’s over. Those thousands of shares we have in Lehman stock? Yeah, they are now worth nothing.”
Me: “What’s going to happen?”
Him: “We’re getting bought by somebody. Don’t know who. Not sure what it will look like when it’s all over.”
Him: “I’m sorry. I had no idea it would turn out this way.”
The truth is, though, NOBODY knew it would turn out this way. In fact, everybody, until about 9 p.m. EST, thought that BofA or Barclays was going to buy Lehman, bad real estate assets and all. My husband and I were religiously checking The Wall Street Journal every hour on the hour to see who his new employer would be on Monday morning – only to find out that night, that the unthinkable was going to happen! Barclay’s and BofA walked away (due to the Fed’s unwillingness to help out) and Lehman was going to file for Chapter 11.
So, Sunday night, my husband, along with the entire company, went in to the office to get everything they needed – their contact books, their personal belongings, anything that they might need if the next day their badges couldn’t open the front door or their computers didn’t turn on. Then it was time to wait and see … Nobody, NOBODY knew what to expect next.
Lehman Brother’s Holding Company did file for Chapter 11 on Sunday night, but my husband still went in to work today (Monday). He works for the Broker-Dealer side, which was not included in the bankruptcy filing and his division is still being “shopped” for a buyer. They live to see another day …
So, how has this whole ordeal felt? It’s almost unimaginable. The range of emotions has been extreme – from disbelief, to hope, to sadness, back to disbelief. Did we lose money? Yes. Will my husband need to find another job? Yeah, probably, maybe, oh, I don’t know … But, I think what I realized most clearly is you know what, it’s just money. We’re going to be fine. We have our health. We have each other. We have our family. We WILL get through this. Of course, I recognize that there were other people and families much harder hit by this turn of events than we were and my heart goes out to them. People who put their heart, soul, and trust into this company for 20+ years because they believed in the management and they believed that management would do the right things …
So now what? I guess it’s wait and see time … again. And what about paychecks, and benefits, and expense reports? Is it all over? Is this it? Are there more crises to come in the financial sector? I don’t know and again, nobody knows.
But what I do know now is that it is true what they say – these types of experiences really test a person and marriage and that if you can get through this, then you know it’s meant to be. And at the end of the day, that is what’s really important.
Tell us: have you been affected by the Lehman Brother’s turn of events or the financial crisis?