Sometimes We Can All Use A Little Perspective
Earlier this week, one of us was probably scammed out of $50 on the subway. While in transit, some guy opened the sliding door between the cars and announced he was throwing himself off the train because he was starving and homeless and desperately needed $20. It happened really quickly, and all of us in the car were frozen in disbelief. He then literally started climbing the rubber cables attaching the cars and once on the top cable he immediately started a countdown from 5—and he was not counting slowly!
There is a massive and growing political and cultural divide in the United States and around the world. Mass killings of elderly Jews in Pittsburgh and elderly African Americans in Louisville seem frighteningly routine. Catastrophic natural disasters are striking everywhere from the southern United States to remote areas of Indonesia. Refugees around the world are marching in unison, each trying to find some place safer for their families. Once again, the world feels more than a little bit upside down.
Yes, interest rates are going up. Yes, volatility is increasing. Yes, the markets are no longer going up every day. Yes, net worths have been going down. Yes, it may get harder to get our clients’ deals done. Yes, it may be more difficult for our clients to get returns for their stakeholders. Yes, all this will make our difficult jobs even tougher. To this we both say, “tough luck—get over it!” None of us should forget the real point: We at Jefferies are amongst the most fortunate people on the planet and we should all be incredibly appreciative and thankful. We are all lucky enough to live and work in the very best countries on the planet—led by the United States—stable, democratic and well-respected countries. While none of us are ever satisfied, we are all able to provide comfort for our families and help our friends in need. For the most part, our families have their health and, if not, we have access to the best healthcare in the world. We can all put food on our tables when we go to our homes at night. We can provide quality education to our children. We all work at a company of good people who truly enjoy and respect each other. Our clients have become our friends and partners and they are loyal and truly value us. We have jobs that are important and meaningful to the economy and the world. Professionally we are part of something that is bigger than ourselves and together we are building a firm that we are proud to go up to in our respective elevators every day.
With all of this good fortune in a world of confusion, pain and turmoil, comes the responsibility for all of us to give back to those in need. The Thanksgiving month of November is a wonderful time of year to remind ourselves of our individual and collective good fortune and make sure we return our fair share to others. We are proud of the goodness the people of Jefferies continuously show to others. Our people are involved in charities that support the homeless, education, underprivileged children, medical research, foodbanks, museums, disaster recoveries, and countless other worthy causes. We not only give our money, but more importantly we give our time, energy and heart. The common theme that we see constantly throughout Jefferies is that each of you embraces the reality that giving back is not just a responsibility, but a privilege. Both of us are proud to be associated with all of you amazing partners.
With November thanks and great appreciation,
Rich and Brian
P.S. The one of us on the subway who only had a $50 bill in his wallet did take a chance and asked the gentleman for change once he climbed down. With a half-smile the gentleman just said, “sorry I don’t have any.” (Truth)