Econocide

The London Paper  –  17 July 2009

Apparently Anjool Malde, a successful, popular salesman at Deutsche Bank, went up to the restaurant on Sunday wearing his finest Hugo Boss suit, ordered a glass of champagne and then leapt to his death from the 8 storey roof terrace. Whilst it is impossible to guess the precise reasons why anyone takes their own life, speculation is that Anjool feared he was going to be fired, following an IT prank.

This dreadful story reminds us of the human cost that sometimes results from people losing their jobs – something that is occurring frequently now because of this recession. American psychologists have already coined a new word, ‘econocide’, to describe suicides brought about by the financial crisis. And even if poor Anjool’s death was not connected to the recession, the recent deaths of other financiers are, including Adolf Merckle, a German billionaire who threw himself in front of a train after having lost almost £500m, and Huibet Boumeester, the former chief financial officer of ABN Amro, who shot himself after having lost his job.

The sad thing is that suicide is a permanent solution to what is often a temporary problem. Of course it’s not just bankers and millionaires who’ve been killing themselves due to losing cash or their job but they do appear especially vulnerable to a sudden change in circumstances. City boys, however tough an image they try to perpetuate, are actually a group who are extremely susceptible to the feelings of powerlessness and shame that being fired can bring about.

That’s why City firms – which lets face it, are not exactly known for their touchy feely credentials – should be making an extra effort to be aware of their employees’ well-being, right now. The City has a lot to learn from the dreadful experience of the past 18 months, but one lesson should be that its Alpha male, seemingly have it all high fliers are as vulnerable as the rest of us.

Thoughts ?

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