A bit of background: Since my husband's only brother is significantly older, his children are closer in age to my husband, as if, at times, they are his siblings. Hub's niece and four nephews are married. The nephews have children of various ages.
Yesterday, one of the nephews arrived with his son. This morning, my hub, his nephew, and great-nephew left for a scheduled tour of Georgetown University as our great-nephew is thinking of going to university there next year. Hub has a Master's degree from Georgetown and was especially proud to show off his campus. (Although invited, I declined -- just sensed this was one of those bonding times best left to the guys. Since no one protested, I, er, think it was the right call.)
At breakfast this morning, conversation ranged from family to current events. I asked our nephew if Wall Street-type bankers and businessmen were really the greedy whores they were so often depicted.
Nephew Andrew nodded and said, "Without a doubt. They'll run you over for a dollar."
Andrew knew of which he spoke. After university, he went to work for one of the largest banks in the U.S. and enjoyed a sterling career up the corporate ladder that provided an income and lifestyle that are the stuff of dreams.
Until the day came when a set of numbers crossed his desk -- he didn't like what the accompanying memo asked him to do with these numbers. He protested that the action constituted fraud. He was told the action protected jobs. Andrew didn't buy that and resigned, as did a colleague of his. This was around 2005.
I don't have to tell you what had happened on Wall Street and to the banks by 2008. You know.
As it turned out, the jobs that were going to be protected were internal jobs common to a good ole boy/girl network that put greed above country, family, and consumer. When the banks went through their Kabuki survival dance, many found themselves without a sympathetic audience.
My father encountered a similar integrity situation with the insurance company he had in tandem with his law practice. Everything was going great, until the company's policy change in the very fine print basically screwed the consumer, but fattened the company -- and by extension, my father. My father didn't think this was right. He dropped the company and filed a complaint with a regulatory board in Louisiana. Since Louisiana was/is a very corrupt state, the complaint went nowhere. (Hey, you know I love Louisiana, but a word of caution: when you see a LA pol on TV, change channels; the more sincere-appearing the pol, the faster you change channels. I'm not kidding!)
My father's income dipped from the loss of insurance commissions; however, his established law practice expanded and soon zoomed beyond the loss. People liked knowing some things were more important than money. That's because the devil's in the details. Fine print and numbers are details that come from somewhere and go somewhere. The journey details take can be destructive.
It took a while for nephew Andrew to find employment, but he did, and has never been happier. Until then, his wife's job pulled the financial train, but with major cutbacks in effect. The family unit prevailed and is stronger now than before.