What's the worst thing about losing your trading job in an investment bank? No, it's not the loss of money. It's not the loss of prestige. It's not the end of eating games. It's the loss of access to a Bloomberg terminal.
"When I lost access to Bloomberg and Reuters, I felt like I was disconnected from the world," says the former private banker behind the Banker's Umbrella Blog. "I used to look at them all the time. Literally, all the time. I had multiple screens and if I was sat at my desk, I was staring at them. When I couldn't access them any more, it felt like I was disconnected from the world and had no control.
"They were to me what the command seat of the USS Enterprise was to Captain Kirk," he concludes.
If this sounds a bit extreme, he's not alone.
"I used to wake up, log in and have the Bloomberg on background all day," says a trader who lost his job. "Now that I don't have it, I feel kind of bereft. I can't get data easily any more and I can't communicate easily with my colleagues and contacts in the industry."
Bloomberg seems well aware that its users can suffer from terminal deprivation. It kindly allows redundant traders a free 'transition' account for four months to avoid immediate cold turkey, but this just delays the problem. If anything, traders without jobs are even more needy of Bloomberg access in order to feel normal.
What you can do when your Bloomberg terminal is no more
So, what do you do when your transition period comes to an end and your Bloomberg account gets shut down forever?
You can always try Twitter. Twitter is, "nearly as good" as Bloomberg, according to Banker's Umbrella. The only problem is that you can't use Twitter to pull up specific data, he says.
The other trader we spoke to is less convinced of Twitter's viability as an alternative to Bloomberg, however. "There's too much rubbish on Twitter," he complains.
Neither of the two traders were spoke to was prepared to invest in a Bloomberg account of their own ("It's too expensive, I've got no intention of lining Mike Bloomberg's pocket").
While Banker's Umbrella is determined to use Twitter as an alternative, the macro trader we spoke to is determined to use the demise of Bloomberg as a call to action. "I will wean myself off by focusing on getting a new job (and getting Bloomberg back)," he declares.
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