Looking for life after Lehman Brothers
Anthony Singh, 51, New York City
- Where the people feel like spare parts
- A career counselor takes his own advice
- Looking for life after Lehman Brothers
- Sleepless nights after the mill winds down
- An odyssey of downward mobility
- Back from war but fighting for a job
- A pig farmer's last truckload
- From Yahoo to layoff in Internet time
- An Ivy League mom with a dream on hold
- The whole family joins the army
- The reverse brain drain
- After an eight-month search: You're hired!
(Fortune Magazine) -- It's not easy going to a job interview when the first item people see listed in your "experience" column is a name synonymous with financial disaster. "One of the things I've discovered is that having Lehman on your resume is not a good thing," says Anthony Singh with a slight smile.
Singh, who worked as a Lehman vice president in capital markets, was laid off in January 2008, eight months before the company's collapse. But that doesn't matter much to people who see the resume and ask, only partly joking, whether he caused the downfall of the free world.
When he arrived at Lehman in early 2007, Singh was excited to be landing at a blue-chip firm that was practically printing money, and remembers being pressured to decide whether to take the job. "They said, 'We need an answer right away. Are you with us? Are you onboard?'"
Once on the job, however, he became frustrated with the lack of communication between units. When he was laid off after just nine months, he attributed it to a mismatch of personalities rather than a portent of doom. "There was no writing on the wall," he says.
Singh loves his work. He has an MBA from New York University as well as more than two decades of expertise in revenue and cost management for banks - figuring out which parts of a business are the most profitable when all costs are included. But embattled banks are consolidating and laying off tens of thousands of workers. They aren't spending a lot on the types of long-term analytics at which Singh excels, no matter how much they may need to. "There's not much hiring," he says. "But I think companies are being penny-wise and pound-foolish."
So for the past 12 months, Singh, who is single, has spent a lot of time in his Manhattan apartment, working out with weights and watching old movies like Casablanca.
He has also finally had the time for hobbies like researching his family tree. A native of Guyana who arrived in the U.S. with his parents and seven siblings when he was 13 to escape political turmoil, he has discovered that he's part Indian, part Chinese, part Scottish, and part Irish. He had hoped to travel the globe doing research, but those kinds of expenditures will have to wait for now.
While he's confident in his abilities, he freezes - just for a second - when asked whether banking may be changing so drastically that the opportunities for him are diminishing. "I hope not," he says, before wondering aloud whether, say, agricultural businesses might be able to use his skills. "I like Florida ..."