Life Inside a Battered Brokerage Firm

"You've had these people who've worked incredibly hard hours and made tremendous sacrifices who no longer have money," he said

In the eyes of their families, he said, often their primary role is to be the "economic provider" rather than caregivers, Lubit said.

Fate of Lehman Employees

If their ability to support their families declines, tension could ensue, especially if a family is forced to make adjustments – moving to a smaller home, for instance – to accommodate their new financial straits, he said.

"There will be drastic changes in their lifestyle, which could cause tremendous problems in their home lives," Lubit said.

But Lubit also said there is light at the end of the tunnel for Lehman employees who eventually find themselves without work.

"For those who can say, 'Wait a minute, what are my skills, what can I do? Let me talk about my options and my skills,'" he said, "Many of them may develop much more fulfilling lives."

Ryding agreed.

Ryding was laid off from Bear Stearns but said he's satisfied with life today. He and a former Bear Stearns colleague founded the research firm RDQ Economics.

"We're now in a position where our fate is dependent upon only what we do," he said, "and we're not at the mercy of things beyond our control."

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