Sure, Mr. DeSantis, It Really Is All About You

Jake DeSantis wrote a compelling letter of resignation to Ed Libby and published it in the New York Times today. Reacting to Mr. DeSantis's letter, Andrew Sullivan reminds us that bankers are people, too.

I understand what Mr. DeSantis is saying: Hey, I had no involvement with the whole CDO mess. I took a nominal $1/year salary and I was assured I'd be rewarded for helping AIG get back on its feet by selling off whatever businesses we could sell in the Financial Products division. Don't blame me for this mess. Let me take my $742,006.40 after taxes and be on my way. I'm so disgusted, I'm going to donate it to someone who's helping the folks AIG helped screw over.

What Mr. DeSantis doesn't realize is that it isn't about him.

I used to help sell computers for a company which was about to stop selling computer hardware in favor of selling software. My very last hardware sale, which helped clean out our inventory, was a very long sales cycle. It was a complex sale of over 90 pretty expensive computers to a Columbus-based nonprofit. I worked nights and weekends on it. The sale closed right after we announced we were going out of the hardware business.

The commission on the sale, which I had been counting on, was not forthcoming. Most sales commission agreements have a clause in them which allows the company to alter terms on their terms, and the company, which was going through tough times, decided that, since we were out of the hardware business, they wouldn't commission hardware sales. I was screwed.

I was angry for a long time, but the economy sucked and I felt I was lucky to have a job. After a while, I realized it wasn't about me. It was about the survival of the company. My troubles didn't amount to a hill of beans if the entire company collapsed.

Where would you have been, Mr. DeSantis, in the line of AIG's creditors had the company gone bankrupt? Would you have been able to find another job at all if the company had gone down? Do you understand what actually happened last year? How close we all were--and possibly are--to economic catastrophe as the consequence of the AIG house of cards falling?

Do you realize that the only reason you--or anyone at AIG--got anything at all was because we bailed you out?

So, Mr. DeSantis, I feel your pain. You've been screwed. But so have a lot of hard-working people. And you were luckier than 99 44/100% of them.

For all your indignation about the way you were treated in this matter, and your high-minded use of the taxpayers' money which has trickled down to you, you're still somewhat high-handed when it comes to what this means to those who made your paycheck possible.

Suck it up, Jake. This isn't just about you.

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