Grim Reaper Sneaks Up From Behind

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Dumpsters suddenly show up outside your office. Your corporate email stops working. A customer mentions that you're being replaced. The boss calls with bad news while you're recovering from surgery. These are among the practices banks resort to these days to inform individual human resources that they are no longer considered resources.

As Wall Street firms downsize in a series of waves, the New York Times reports that managements are concealing key details from both the public and their own employees - including, in many cases, the very employees being let go.

"People refer to these cuts as stealth layoffs," the Times says. "Some bosses hardly say a word after people are fired."

Banks have announced a total of 65,000 job cuts worldwide since the crunch hit last summer, the Times says. But instead of reassuring suviving workers, the announcements are making people in the trenches ever more anxious, because layoffs are coming in multiple waves with no end in sight.

"The idea that banks will slowly wield the knife again and again unnerves many employees," the paper says. "People know the cuts are coming - they just don't know when or where.

One notable example is Goldman Sachs. After axing its bottom 5 percent of performers, something Goldman claims to do every year, "the bank quietly began letting more people go," according to the Times. It's reported to have cut its work force by 8 percent in all, although summer hires will make up for some of that loss.

Further layoffs may come before bonus time. Meredith Whitney, the Oppenheimer & Co. analyst who drew fame for her bearish reports on various banks since last summer, figures the industry will eventually eliminate "at least" twice as many jobs as the 5 percent - 8 percent reduction she estimates has occurred thus far.

The Times story offers this further tip: "For Wall Street employees, the most dangerous days are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Those are the favored days to fire people, so employees do not have the weekend to stew about it."

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