Former Investment Banker: 'I Saw Many People Cry' 1

There are some great anonymous blogs out there about life in financing. We met for a coffee and some healthy breakfast in South Kensington. With the big redundancies the bank is required to announce that it’ll be curtains for some. At least you expect it. One redundancy round went like this: a senior banker would call his PA and have her talk to the victim and have them pick up a specific line on the phone.

Then the sufferer was asked quietly collect their personal items – the rest would be sent by post – and appear to a particular room. So we would there sit down and hear the PA’s phone ring. One time I beforehand collected my things, in case just, because I put had a really bad argument with my collection manager a couple weeks prior. That point the PA headed for me personally directly.

I started to get up when she put her hands on my make: ‘You’re cool.’ Part of me was wishing it might be me. As though I needed another person to unchain me. After being made redundant it’s easier for junior bankers to jump back again. I launched a few businesses after banking and the skills gained earlier emerged in very handy.

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For senior guys it’s different. They’re looking to press into a pyramid where there are extremely few spots. Plus, they have become hardwired in a specific way. I recall one global mind who stated he was thinking about releasing a start-up with a pal or two and would ‘get their hands just a little filthy’.

I remember laughing inside. He couldn’t function one minute without his PA there to carry his papers, hand him a tissue when he had food stuck to his lip area, pay his children’s school fees and buy a birthday present for his wife. You’d have stickfights about who sacrificed most. This Italian chap acquired just been fired.

He was generously given a few weeks to hold out and look for a role in another division. So he is seen by me confront a managing director. At one point he tells the MD he was so dedicated to the job he even missed his grandmother’s funeral to work on a deal. The MD quickly retorts: ‘I missed my father-in-law’s funeral! You get the kindest men and the most heartless bastards.

Like anywhere else. But the environment changes behavior and behavior. You’re far too immersed in a global motivated by earning money with money never to change, however little. You will need to just work at it to stay grounded positively. You’re focusing on billion-dollar deals, for a company that spends more money on stationery than some ongoing companies make in revenues.

The big banking institutions are worlds unto themselves and you’re a – short-term – citizen. Their logos are your country flag, their motto your national anthem. There’s a lottery component to it all. The lucky ones sign up for top teams right away, the way many people are born into rich families.