The London Paper – 16 April 2007
‘When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions’ – rough translation according to my auntie Edna ‘it never rains but it pours’. Whilst Bill Shakespeare’s mind may have been may have been on slightly more philosophical issues than job cuts in the City when he wrote those words his conclusion applies equally well. The rumours I mentioned two weeks ago about Citigroup axing jobs and Barclays buying ABN Amro have been confirmed though things are a little worse than expected. It’s not 15,000 but 17,000 jobs that are being cut at Citigroup (over 10% of London staff) and apparently other banks like the Royal Bank of Scotland are also interested in buying ABN Amro. If there are lots of bank mergers that can mean only one thing: job losses in the Square mile are gonna be like a mad woman’s shite i.e. all over the place.
Such are my fears that I’ve had to dust off a brilliant article about avoiding the sack written in this very paper by some genius who goes by the name of Cityboy. Two tricks stand out. Firstly, I may go to my immediate boss’ office and jokingly remind him of the time we went to the Crazy Horse strip joint in Las Vegas and how he spent an inordinately long time in the VIP section having non-stop private dances from two extremely charming young ladies called Cherry and Simone. Immediately after mentioning this I intend to casually pick up the photo of his lovely wife and two wonderful children from his desk and say something like ‘How old is little Johnny now?’. If he doesn’t get the hint then he’s an even thicker buffoon than I thought.
The second trick is a little radical but as Guy Fawkes put it so eloquently when he tried to do us all a favour and blow up the Houses of Parliament: ‘A desperate disease requires a desperate remedy’. The so-called ‘closet’ gambit requires me to declare myself gay when it begins to look like the shit’s going to hit the fan at my bank. This ruse may cause some disruption especially if you forget to tell your girlfriend/parents/rugby club that it’s just a trick. The idea is simply that any boss may think twice about sacking you in the months following your public outing due to potential lawsuits.
This gambit should present little to no challenge for me since I’ve have been mistaken as homosexual for most of my adult life, which I choose to take as an enormous compliment. To me, this mistaken identity simply reflects the fact that I’m good looking, have a body like a Greek God (though admittedly its Bacchus not Adonis), can dance like the bastard son of Michael Jackson and Prince, have impeccable taste in clothes and am not averse to discussing interior design of an evening. Admittedly, the handlebar moustache, leather chaps and the fact I hang out at the Coleherne pub on Old Brompton Road may also have something to do with it.
We are the City are supposed to be quite smart. When ‘the bad times’ come all we need to do is stop using our brains for the pointless task of analyzing companies and focus on the far more important job of saving our asses. Frankly, any dickhead who isn’t sufficiently ruthless, corrupt and mendacious to survive has no place in the City anyway.