Sabotage in the stock exchange - PJK, a Wall Street broker, recollects...
I worked for Smith Barney for two years. I got my job totally by accident. Headhunters love me. They see dollar signs when they read my resume. I don't make much effort to look the corporate part, since I have college up my ass and will do anything from the lowliest of word processing (I type 100 wpm and am literate in nine computer languages) to the highest level of analytical-type work Wall Street has to offer. I got into Wall Street because I'm a hustler. Six years ago I saw all the money those people were stealing, and I thought, "I want a slice."
When I was hired at Smith Barney, my new boss almost wouldn't let me leave - they wanted me to show up and start working the next day. Of course, this is often a sign that the job has to be filled immediately because the company's a mess, but he wanted me to start the next day because he was a big-shot junk bond analyst and had no helper. He told me I was overqualified but that he'd consider himself fortunate to have me for a little while, doing analytical work at the low salary of $21,000 per year, less than half of what I was making at my previous job. Turns out that this guy is a really nice person and I respect him and like him a lot, but the rest of the shit I saw at that company was mind-bending.
Everything there is done shoddily. I've seen traders lose millions for the firm in minutes because they were hung over and mad at their bosses. You just pick up a phone on the trading floor and start hitting the keys. The touchtone phones are actually computer links to do block trades. One day I picked up some phones, pressed a bunch of buttons and then ran to a Telerate screen to watch the market plunge. I'll never know, but I may have caused a million shares of IBM to be sold that second. This became a big game and I enjoyed scrambling things in the trading department and then running to a screen to see the market fluctuate. It was funny because I'd ask traders if I could use their phones for a second, then get the computer on the line to just pound my fist on the keys.
Once this big, hot-shot analyst - these guys make millions, mind you - wrote this really un-cool memo about how his secretaries had all been cocaine addicts and that's why he'd had to fire them, and personnel should get off his back for using up so many secretaries. I had six people photocopy this memo and send it around anonymously to hundreds of people inside and outside the firm, all at the company's expense. I sent "news releases" to Ray Brady, the CBS news correspondent, via rush messenger. This was before the big drug-testing shit and it must've really caused a stir. I sent copies to all his previous secretaries and all these other people, and a year later he left. This guy was a sadistic, arrogant fuck, and I sent this memo around to show everybody how he'd screwed himself through his indiscretion. After the way I'd seen him talk to female subordinates, I decided it had to be done. It was scary, but fun.