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Finding life beyond Wall Street

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - 02:54

Aug. 24 - Two former Wall Streeters take the entrepreneurial road as their careers turn away from the world of high finance - one by choice, the other by forces beyond his control. Jen Rogers reports.

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27-year old Rich Rothaar used to trade credit derivatives at Standard Credit Group in New York, making good money. Then, the financial crisis hit and his view of Wall Street started to sour. The ax fell for Rothaar in the thick of the financial crisis, and he joined the nearly 700,000 financial professionals who suddenly found themselves out of work. He thought carefully about his next move. SOUNDBITE: RICH ROTHAAR, EX-WALL STREET WORKER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I said for the amount of time, energy and effort it's going to take to build my business back on the Street I might as well try something different." So in April 2010 he bought a franchise from HOODZ, a company that pressure-cleans exhaust systems for restaurants. Instead of sitting on a trading desk glued to computer screens, he crisscrosses Long Island in his Smart Car, building on the 250 customers he signed on so far. That means a new vocabulary. SOUNDBITE: RICH ROTHAAR, EX-WALL STREET WORKER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We'll take the fan back, tack the fan off..." New clientele. SOUNDBITE: RICH ROTHAAR, EX-WALL STREET WORKER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Hey what's up? Hi how are you? Good. What's going on?" New lifestyle. SOUNDBITE: RICH ROTHAAR, EX-WALL STREET WORKER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Right now I think what I do is a lot more fulfilling and a lot more dynamic. I'm in control a lot more of my destiny and my everyday work environment, but it is definitely challenging to give up a guarantee for something that's not guaranteed." STAND-UP: REUTERS REPORTER JEN ROGERS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Back on Wall Street, workers are bracing for further cuts as the economy teeters on the edge of recession and profits at banks decline." UPSOUND: "Ticket number 150; for here 150." Luke Holden comes from a family of fishermen up in Maine. But when his parents threatened to stop paying for college tuition, he found himself drawn to Wall Street. SOUNDBITE: LUKE HOLDEN, EX-WALL STREET WORKER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I started doing internships at UBS. I realized that I was interested in finance, took a detour in finance after graduating." Raking in the dough at a young age, he began looking for opportunities on the side and discovered his real passions. The Luke's Lobster restaurant concept was born in October of 2009. With the help of a manager, he ran the business while still pulling I-Banking hours. Seven months later, he decided to leave finance altogether. The first Luke's Lobster opened in New York City's East Village. He now has four in New York, one in DC and aims to open four more restaurants next year. Despite the chain's rapid growth, it's still a far cry from a Wall Street payout. SOUNDBITE: LUKE HOLDEN, EX-WALL STREET WORKER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Obviously, we had a big fat, cushy salary that went up 10% every year. And then a nice compensation bonus that was often twice what our base salary was." Even with the success of Luke's Lobster, he hasn't closed the door on Wall Street completely. Jen Rogers for Reuters in New York.

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Finding life beyond Wall Street

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - 02:54